Manatee County, Fla., Fleet Services has been named the top governmental fleet organization in the U.S. with the Fleet Masters Award. The award is a partnership program between the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) and Construction Equipment magazine. Michael Brennan, CEM, is Fleet Services Division Manager for the Manatee operation. The Manatee fleet also received the award in 2009.

AEMP is a national group of fleet management professionals who work in private and public sector construction, utilities, energy, mining and other areas. AEMP Partners for Growth also participated in the partnership program.

GPN got the views of Brennan on his Manatee fleet bringing home the award for the second time in five years. Stan Orr, AEMP president and chief strategy officer on the Fleet Masters Award also discussed this year’s winner in the following interview.

GPN: What is the size of the Manatee fleet/kinds of gear?

Michael Brennan: Our fleet size is approximately 1,350 units at this time. Its composition includes sedans and light trucks, medium and heavy trucks, specialized municipal trucks (street sweepers, hot patch trucks, bucket trucks, etc.) mass transit buses, ambulances and about 300 pieces of construction-type equipment (bulldozers, motor graders, compactors etc.).

GPN: What are the most significant accomplishments of Manatee County Fleet Services over the past year?

MB: We’ve continued to embrace new and advanced technology to maintain cost-effective services through automating labor-intensive administrative functions as well as increasing customer support and services. We’ve developed long-range plans for technology advancement and stabilization of our replacement program. We continue to provide cost-effective services to our customers.

GPN: Regarding the Manatee fleet's future technology buys — Do you see greater use of alternative-fuel vehicles? Growing use of telematics in your fleet?

MB: Both increased alternative fuel utilization and implementation of telematics will continue. The pace is dependent upon many variable factors each equipment manager feels will enhance their fleet operations. As the speed of data becomes more relevant to successful operations, the use of telematics will increase.  As we progress into the future, the incorporation of alternative fuels will increase. The pace of adoption depends upon delivery infrastructure deployment by region.

GPN: Does applying for the AEMP Fleet Masters Award help fleet managers in any way, such as, does the application process help fleet managers focus on what’s important?

MB: The Fleet Masters application process requires equipment managers to look deeply into their operations in all areas such as finance, benchmarking, controls and many other highly important areas. In doing so, almost inevitably such in-depth research will reveal both strengths and weaknesses within their operations in which they can concentrate on as they move forward into the future.

Stan Orr: Nominees and recipients consistently state the process is a great learning experience, as it confirms strengths while also identifying areas that can be improved. The actual exercise and effort of going through the application process allows organizations submitting a Fleet Masters Award application to take a hard look at their policies and processes which can effect positive change moving forward.

GPN: What is the value of AEMP certifications and credentials in fleet management?

MB: These certifications don’t come easy. To obtain one of these certifications requires a high level of industry knowledge, strong research and self-study skills, as well as the desire to advance your career. Having an AEMP CEM, EMS or CESP certification clearly identifies one’s credibility as being extremely knowledgeable and competent in all areas of equipment management for each specific level.

SO: AEMP certification is important for a variety of reasons. It ties directly to continuing education as a lifelong process. As individuals, career professionals seeking certification are motivated by a number of factors, including curiosity, a desire to improve skills, to bring professional authority to those skills—in short, because of a desire to be the very best in their profession. Also, AEMP’s certification, by virtue of the requirement of continuing education to maintain the credential, requires that the fleet manager continually develop his or her knowledge and skills in a profession that is increasingly complex.

Learn more about AEMP, including its certification programs and conferences, in the video.

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