Fleet Services Committee serious about education

Karen Bloodworth
Technical Services Program Manager
APWA Kansas City office

The APWA Fleet Services Committee is very serious about educational and professional development tools for public works fleet professionals. The committee is proud to host an annual Reporter that is devoted to fleet issues, and eagerly developed subject areas and authors for technical articles. A major educational and professional development opportunity for APWA members and public works professionals is the annual Congress.

Members of APWA's Fleet Services Committee at the San Diego Congress. From left: Cathy Radek, Superintendent of Administrative Services, City of Evanston, IL; Larry Frevert, Board Liaison, Acting Director of Public Works, City of Kansas City, MO; Don Moore, Equipment Services Director, City of Farmers Branch, TX; Charlie Caudill, Equipment Maintenance Superintendent, City of Yuma, AZ; and Samuel Lamerato, Chair, Superintendent of Motor Pool, City of Troy, MI. Not pictured: Judy Workman, Fleet Manager, City of Greeley, CO; Sharon Subadan, Fleet Management Division Chief, Montgomery County, MD; and Karen Bloodworth, APWA Staff Liaison.

At the 2003 International Public Works Congress and Exposition in San Diego the Fleet Services Committee provided a full-day pre-conference workshop and three educational sessions. The committee's most recent publication, Top Ten Performance Measures for Fleet Managers, was the top-selling Technical Committee book at the Congress bookstore. And the number-two best seller was another fleet publication entitled Vehicle Replacement Guide.

Committee members have been hard at work on educational programming for the 2004 Congress in Atlanta. A pre-conference workshop will be submitted that explores "Emerging Technology in Public Fleets." The agenda calls for presentations by the "Big Three" auto manufacturers describing new and upcoming public fleet vehicles and patrol car technology; a segment about police car restoration vs. purchase; and finally, presentations by the major manufacturers of alternative fueled vehicles (AFV) to discuss new and future technology.

The Fleet Services Committee's three planned educational sessions for the 2004 Congress include:

  • What Every Public Works Director Should Know About Fleets
  • Changes in Fuel/Lube Products: Petroleum vs. Synthetic
  • New Diagnostic Technology in Public Fleets

The committee also worked closely with the APWA Education Department in the development and delivery of a three-day fleet workshop entitled "Fleet Equipment & Shop Management for Government Fleets." This year's workshops will be hosted by a local fleet department and will include a tour of their facilities. The first will be held at the City of Phoenix, Arizona, November 5-7, 2003. The second will be hosted by the Fleet Management Services Division in Montgomery County, Maryland, March 31-April 2, 2004.

We greatly appreciate the support of Mike Lopker, Deputy Public Works Director, City of Phoenix, and Sharon Subadan, Fleet Management Division Chief for Montgomery County, Maryland. Classes begin and end at noon. As a value-added service to chapters and members, APWA can also bring this course to your agency, customizing the content to your department's specific needs. A preview of the course content follows.

  • How to apply optimum fleet and shop management models by asset class
  • Applying proven negotiation strategies
  • How to structure and implement vehicle, equipment and tool chargeback systems
  • Applying world-class shop management practices
  • Employee financial and operational performance standards
  • Strategies for coping with long-term shortages of technicians, mechanics, operators, drivers, and managers
  • Structuring the equipment, fleet and shop department as a separate corporation or enterprise

Each year the APWA Technical Committees develop a business plan to drive their committee work products and services. The 2003-04 business plans officially began this past August in San Diego. Each of the committees will develop three guaranteed educational sessions for Congress, and prepare articles for the Reporter. The Fleet Services Committee is also committed to the successful delivery of our national fleet workshop for public fleet professionals. Other key industry issues produced the following goals and objectives.

  • By the close of the 2004 Combined Technical Committee Meeting in March, develop a plan to target fleet managers for membership in APWA; consider State DOTs, utilities, water and utility directors, and university fleets.
  • Develop a new fleet publication for release at the 2004 Congress in September.
  • By September 2004, determine the need for a new policy statement on the allocation of fuel and other public works resources during times of local, state and national emergencies.
  • Update the current alternative fuels policy statement by the 2004 Combined Technical Committee Meeting.

In summary, education and professional development are not only serious and important business; they are the key to you and your department's future success. The Fleet Services Committee would like to challenge all of you to plan to attend 1-2 educational programs in the coming year. Whether it is an APWA fleet workshop, a Click, Listen & Learn, the 2004 Congress in Atlanta, or a local technical or management class, it is important for local government officials to familiarize themselves with emerging trends and technology in public works. It is equally important to make training and education a regular part of all department and staff annual work plans. Everyone wins when we have a well-trained and knowledgeable work force—your peers and coworkers, and the many citizens that public works serves.

Karen Bloodworth can be reached at (800) 848-APWA or at