Nine new members were inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in a special ceremony at the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association's (AFLA) annual meeting last night.

Sponsored by AFLA and presented by Automotive Fleet magazine, Hall of Fame members are recognized industry leaders and pioneers who have contributed significantly to the commercial fleet management profession. Eligible nominees must have at least 10 years of fleet management experience.

The 2009 inductees join 20 founding Hall of Fame members, established in 2008. That same year, an additional 10 honorees were selected by the industry through online voting.

Introduced by AFLA President Mike Antich, the new Hall of Fame members include:

  1. Bob Betagole, CEO and founder of Mike Albert Leasing.
  2. John Blessing, former president of McCullagh Leasing.
  3. Ed Bobit, chairman and founder of Bobit Business Media, publisher of Automotive Fleet.
  4. Stan Chason, former chairman of GELCO (acquired by GE Capital Fleet Services).
  5. Dennis LaLiberty, retired VP of international marketing, Wheels Inc.
  6. Duane Peterson, chairman and one of three founders, Peterson, Howell & Heather (PHH).
  7. Jim Rallo, retired senior VP, PHH.
  8. Helen Smorgans, retired fleet manager, Johnson & Johnson.
  9. Pat Starr, former chairman, Consolidated Services Corp. (later acquired by LeasePlan USA).

Additional inductees will be installed in the Fleet Hall of Fame with one less honoree each year, until three are installed in 2015. Thereafter, three honorees will be inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame annually.

Stay tuned for more coverage of this year's conference. In the meantime, click on the links below for coverage of the 2008 conference:

2008 AFLA Conference Photo Gallery

2008 Fleet Hall of Fame Inductees PowerPoint

Video of 25 Industry Veterans Honored in 2008