BIG RAPIDS, MI - Christy Coyte, global fleet manager for Johnson Controls Inc. and 2009 Professional Fleet Manager of the Year, presented a $5,000 scholarship to Ferris State University (FSU) on Oct. 15. The scholarship was provided by the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA), which co-sponsors the annual Automotive Fleet award with Wheels Inc.

As part of its co-sponsorship, AFLA provides to Fleet Manager of the Year Award winners a $5,000 scholarship to bestow upon the business school of their choice.

Coyte presented the award at the NAFA Michigan Chapter fall conference in Detroit. Ferris State professor and students participated in the conference to talk about their fleet management program. More than 100 students are currently enrolled in Automotive Management and Heavy Equipment Service Engineering Technology programs at FSU.

"After much consideration, I decided to donate the award to Ferris," said Coyte. "I visited Ferris State in September to learn more about the Fleet Management curriculum it offers, met with the professor, and spoke to the students. I thought it was a great way to give back to the field of study (fleet) I've been so lucky to work in for so many years." Before deciding on FSU, Coyte also considered giving the scholarship to the schools her three sons attend: Western Michigan, Lansing Community College, and Wayne State University.

Gary Maike, assistant professor for FSU College of Technology, Heavy Equipment Technology, said he was very surprised to receive the award. "I was not aware that it was available and then to find out that it was being given to Ferris students was a surprise. I hope that the students Christy met when she attended the NAFA Michigan Chapter meeting held on campus in September were a factor in her decision."

The extra funding also comes at a great time with the recent launch of FSU minor and certificate designations in Fleet Management on campus for Ferris students. Maike said students have just formed a Registered Student Organization on campus, the Ferris Fleet Management Student Organization.  

"The newly launched Minor and Certificate are awarded from the management department of the College of Business and are available to any student on campus," said Maike.

According to Maike, "ample career opportunities" are available for students interested enough to prepare themselves in the "demanding" automotive industry. "Employers will demand prepared candidates for employment," he said. "This preparation includes internships in the industry, course work that is supportive of the positions you will occupy, and good ethics...starting with a good work ethic. As I tell my students, if they don't already know it, there are two 7 o'clocks in the work day."

Ferris State University has also been working with NAFA Fleet Management Association since 2008 to offer CAFM program participants 12 semester hours of college credit upon successful completion of the program.