PHOENIX - Drawing more than 350 attendees, the 2009 Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) annual conference presented a varied program of business management and fleet-specific speakers and panel discussions. The meeting was held Sept. 9-11 at the Arizona Biltmore.

Conference highlights included the 2009 Fleet Hall of Fame induction ceremony and announcement of the 2010 AFLA board of directors. In addition, the program included several popular attendee networking sessions.



Speakers included business management author Nate Booth presenting "The Art of Using 'Imposed' Change to Increase Your Fleet's ROI;" Ingram Walters, a Buy Here, Pay Here industry entrepreneur, discussing "Proven Ways to Increase Your Management Effectiveness;" John McElroy, host of "Autoline Detroit," exploring "Golden Years in the U.S. Auto Market, 2010-2015;" and Gene Stanaland, GSE Inc., presenting "Common Sense Insight into Complex Forces Impacting Your Fleet."

Other presenters and panel discussions covered such fleet-specific topics as fleet funding strategies, upcoming remarketing trends, fuel cost management, total cost of ownership, supply chain management.

In a special ceremony, nine new members were installed in the Fleet Hall of Fame, joining the 30 founding members and 2008 honorees. This year's inductees include Bob Betagole, CEO and founder of Mike Albert Leasing; John Blessing, former president of McCullagh Leasing; Ed Bobit, chairman and founder of Bobit Business Media (BBM) and Automotive Fleet magazine; Stan Chason, former chairman of GELCO (now part of GE Capital Fleet Services); Dennis LaLiberty, former VP international marketing, Wheels Inc.; Duane Peterson, founder and former chairman of PHH; Jim Rallo, former senior VP, PHH; Helen Smorgans, former fleet manager, Johnson & Johnson; and Pat Starr, former chairman, Consolidate Services Corp. (now part of LeasePlan).

Additional conference highlights included a special video celebration of AFLA's 40th anniversary and presentation of the President's Recognition Awards, acknowledging contributions made to the organization in the past year. Award recipients included Mike Klein, membership chairman; Rick Nicoletti, communications chairman; and Mike St. Clair, commercial fleet sounding board chairman.

As the conference closed, President Mike Antich turned over the organization's leadership to the 2010 president, Tom Donato of ARI. Other 2010 AFLA board members include:

  • Executive VP - Lori Rasmussen, PARS.
  • VP - Theresa Belding, Forest Pharmaceuticals.
  • Past president - Mike Antich, Automotive Fleet magazine.
  • Secretary - Lee Miller, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals.
  • Treasurer - Debbie Mize, Hallmark Cards.
  • Director, Remarketing - Kevin McGrath, Fleet Street Remarketing.
  • Director, Dealers - Russ Cass, Piemonte National Fleet.
  • Director, Allied - John Ruppert, Ford Motor Co.
  • Director, Fleet - Shirley Collins, GlaxoSmithKline.
  • Director, Fleet Management Companies - Mary Sticha, GE Capital Fleet Services
  • Directors at Large - Donna Bibbo, Novo Nordisk, and Matthew Betz, AmeriFleet Transportation.

The 2010 AFLA conference is scheduled Sept. 8-10 at the JW Marriott Las Vegas in Summerlin, Nev. Details are available at AFLA's Web site,