TORRANCE, CA – Four candidates have been nominated for Fleet Financials’ Fleet Executive of the Year award, to be presented May 6 in Houston.

Name: James Jin
Title: Manager of Procurement
Company: Merck and Co., Inc.
Total Vehicles: 20,000
Staff Supervised: 1
Years in Fleet: 1.5
Replacement Policy: 36 months / 65,000 miles


As part of the global sourcing team, Jin oversees the pharmaceutical company’s 20,000-vehicle worldwide fleet, 9,000 of which are located in the U.S. Jin has been a strategic force in developing Merck’s relationships with its fleet suppliers. In 2005, Jin helped develop Merck’s Supplier Value Management (SVM) project – a new program designed to establish and optimize key supplier relationships. He implemented the program with input from Merck’s fleet sourcing team. Under Jin’s leadership, Merck strategically aligned its fleet objectives with key business values and communicated those objectives to its fleet suppliers. Merck is now measuring fleet supplier performance through a mutually agreed-upon scorecard. The SVM program has helped Merck achieve significant cost savings and develop a collaborative partnership with its suppliers.

Name: Don Schaefer
Title: Director, Safety & Fleet Operations
Company: USG Corp.
Total Vehicles: 1,300
Staff Supervised: 5
Years in Fleet: 8
Replacement Policy: 2-4 years / 30,000-72,000 miles


Schaefer has helped USG focus on effective use of technology to improve fleet performance, leading to innovations, such as online sales, while stressing the importance of safety. His continued commitment to capitalize on the use of technology is evident in his willingness to have USG participate in new product roll-outs and beta-test programs, and provide insightful feedback. One of the first fleets to adopt an Internet sales program, USG sold nearly 400 vehicles sold online, reducing time spent on processing paperwork and administrative tasks and the costs associated with selling at auction by more than $100,000. USG orders its fleet vehicles to take advantage of autumn sales. Successful implementation of online safety training resulting in 100-percent participation and running regular MVR checks are some of the ways Schaefer helps USG ensure driver safety. He also successfully adopted fuel, maintenance, and collision management programs.

Name: Charles Schott
Title: Director, International Fleet
Company: Pfizer
Total Vehicles: 25,000
Staff Supervised: 0
Years in Fleet: 10
Replacement Policy: 48 months / 78,000 miles


With 2006 revenues exceeding $50 billion, Pfizer has more than doubled in size since 2000, primarily due to acquisition of Warner Lambert Co. and Pharmacia Co., and supports operations in more than 150 countries. In 2005, Schott performed an opportunity analysis of worldwide fleet operations. In 2006, he implemented international fleet pilot programs in select markets that reduced operating costs 15 percent, while improving delivery of driver services and completing policy rationalization. In December 2006, Schott was named director, International Fleet, with responsibility to implement worldwide fleet management programs for Pfizer’s 25,000 company vehicles worldwide. A successful Europe fleet initiative convinced Pfizer leadership to directly consolidate Europe fleet policy. In 2006, 80 percent of European countries transitioned to a single policy, accounting for 85 percent of total European company cars. This initiative has strengthened partnerships with preferred suppliers. The Europe fleet program was heralded as the leading initiative of several pilot programs and served as the impetus for a broader company restructuring. In creating the worldwide fleet team, Schott recruited functional expertise within Pfizer from Corporate Fleet Operations, Risk Management, and Safety Departments. The team created an international network to collect fleet data, evaluate fleet policy, and review supplier selection for North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. International fleet’s success was adopted as Pfizer’s asset management model. Schott and the international fleet team built their program and network without a corporate mandate. Results were achieved through goal alignment and demonstrated value to operating units.

Name: Vic Stewart
Title: VP, Corporate Purchasing
Company: Advance Auto Parts
Total Vehicles: 7,200+
Staff Supervised: 15
Years in Fleet: 11
Replacement Policy: 4 years / 100,000 miles


In 2006, the Advance Auto Parts fleet grew by 18 percent, from 6,100 units to more than 7,250, with no staff increase. Stewart and his team worked internally with the company’s transportation department and an outside vendor to execute an equipment purchase-leaseback that generated $3 million in revenue for Advance in the fourth quarter of 2006. Stewart’s team also worked with the company’s AAP risk management and commercial sales teams to develop and implement a safety program, resulting in a 10-percent reduction in accident claims per commercial delivery truck in 2006 versus 2005. The program led to an operating cost avoidance of more than $2 million. Because out-of-stock purchases drove up costs, the team restructured acquisition processes and reduced stock purchases from 11 percent to 3 percent from 2004 to 2005, to less than 1 percent in 2006, resulting in a two-year savings of more than $50,000. Working with manufacturers, the team expanded the company’s light-duty truck pool, providing new vehicles within four weeks and achieved 99-percent on-time delivery in 2006. For the second consecutive year, Stewart led his corporate purchasing/fleet team to a negotiated savings target of more than $20 million, achieving $24 million in negotiated annualized savings, of which 40 percent was fleet-related. Stewart’s team changed the company’s vehicle replacement procedures to include license plate transfers by the delivering dealer to the new vehicle on all future vehicle replacements in states that allow this practice, resulting in savings for the company. The team continued to architect the company’s fuel strategy and executed bulk diesel fuel contracts for more than 3.5 million gallons of diesel fuel.