April 2011

Editor's Notebook
Planning Ahead

by Scott Okun, Auto Driveaway

Scott Okun

As I look at the rain-drenched city of Chicago during a time some are calling the "Month of Gloom," it appears that this year has produced the most rainy April days in Chicago since 1961. And if the dismal weather persists, it may become the cloudiest April on record, too. Will it bring May flowers?

We should be planning for the warmth of spring and summer. Some of us are thinking of what vegetables or flowers we might be planting whenever it stops raining. To those not planning ahead, there comes a time when your thoughts come to buying a Topsy Turvy to have those fresh tomatoes in July and August. Is that a good plan?

As for planning, I transition to asking if you have thought of how you can plan on getting the most out of your AFLA membership in 2011? Has your company set strategic goals for fleet — such as reducing cost, environmental goals, negotiations with the OEMs or your FMC?  AFLA has some extremely valuable resources that are available 24/7 at that can help. Included with your AFLA membership are a wide range of resources that include White Papers, teleconferences, webinars and the back issues of Spec Sheet.

If any member is in need of some additional information on a particular topic or if you have a fleet question, all you have to do is e-mail an information request directly to Rick Nicoletti or join the AFLA discussion group on LinkedIn. This group provides topical and fleet related information. If you are not on LinkedIn and have questions of what your peers are doing or topic suggestions, please email them to Rick Nicoletti at

Our first information request is from Jim McCarthy, who for several months has been contributing to the Liner Notes Section of AFLA's Spec Sheet. Each month without fail, within hours of the distribution of Spec Sheet, Jim receives a bunch of emails, highlighting specific songs or artists that he overlooked! So we thought it would be interesting to put together a list of songs based solely on reader participation. See Jim's article for details.

Thanks to our fearless leader Rick for allowing me to write this month’s Editor’s Notebook. 

Unlearn the Rules and Break Boundaries with Conference Speaker Erik Wahl

by Theresa Belding, Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Theresa Belding

It seems hard to believe that April is almost over, which means that we are less than five months away from the 2011 AFLA Conference, A Better Vision of Tomorrow. The full conference agenda is now available at   Speaker bios are available online as well.

The conference will kick off on Wednesday afternoon with a presentation by Erik Wahl, who will challenge us to “Unlearn the rules, break the boundaries, free the thought process, and rediscover our untapped potential.”

Erik Wahl

Erik Wahl is a recognized artist and speaker who inspires professionals to achieve greater levels of performance. His consulting firm, The Wahl Group, challenges organizations to implement breakthrough thinking techniques to accomplish extraordinary results. Erik’s unique understanding of vision traces back to his experience as an artist. Erik earned his bachelor's degree in Business Communication before embarking on an eight year career as a partner in a corporate firm. After first working in the business world and playing with his art, Erik now PLAYS in the business world by WORKING with his art. Erik’s sought after artwork can be seen hanging in executive offices around the world. And as one of the country’s top platform speakers, Erik shares his powerful message with audiences from coast to coast.  You can learn more about Erik and his unique presentation at

The Early Bird Registration rate is only available until June 17, which will be here before you know it. Take advantage of this discount before it expires. REGISTER TODAY!

Past AFLA President Keynoter at Australasian Fleet Manager Association Conference

by Mike Antich, Automotive Fleet Magazine

Mike Antich

Mike presents at the AfMA Conference

Mike Antich, editor of Automotive Fleet magazine and past AFLA president, was the opening keynote speaker at the 2011 annual conference of the Australasian Fleet Managers Association (AfMA), held March 22-23, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne, Australia. The meeting was attended by approximately 300 fleet managers and fleet industry suppliers. The conference also attracted fleet representatives from other East Asian countries, including a sizeable contingent from China. AfMA has 550 members in Australia and New Zealand, who cumulatively manage approximately 800,000 fleet vehicles.

Many trends in the Australian fleet market are identical to the challenges faced by corporate fleet managers in the U.S. and Europe. One example is the ongoing fleet trend in Australia to downsize from V-8 to V-6 or four-cylinder engines. Other common fleet trends involve sole sourcing, fleet standardization, and the entry of non-traditional OEM nameplates into the fleet market.

The topic of Antich’s keynote address was “The Future of Fleet,” which examined emerging global fleet trends by regional fleet markets – North America, the European Union, Asia, South America, and Australia. Among the trends examined by Antich were factors influencing fleet procurement/acquisition, fuel pricing volatility, operating cost trends, and fleet sustainability initiatives. Antich predicted the dynamics of these cumulative trends portend a substantially higher cost environment in which to operate a fleet in the coming years. Following his address, Antich participated in a 45-minute question-and-answer session with conference attendees, which was moderated by AfMA President Rob Ackland.

Belding Named 2011 Professional Fleet Manager of the Year

Theresa Belding holding her Manager of the Year award

Theresa Belding, senior manager, fleet services for Forest Pharmaceuticals, was awarded Automotive Fleet’s 2011 Professional Fleet Manager of the year honor in a ceremony at the NAFA Fleet Management Association’s (NAFA) Institute & Expo.

A 35-member judging panel selected Belding. The panel included past winners, manufacturers, auction representatives, fleet management services, dealers, and the media. Instituted in 1985, the award is sponsored by Automotive Fleet magazine, Wheels Inc., and the Automotive Fleet and Leasing Association (AFLA).

“Eighteen years ago when I started in fleet I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Belding said. “Fleet has always been my passion. You cannot succeed in this job by yourself. Your company has to be behind you, your family has to be behind you. NAFA and AFLA are great support organizations. You also need solid business partners with sound advice. I’ve been able to benchmark with my pharmaceutical peers. Despite the fact that we compete in our industries, we share and are very nurturing.”

The other two finalists for the 2011 award included Dick Malcom, fleet administrator for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., and Lee Miller, manager, fleet services, for Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. For 2011, 17 fleet managers were nominated for the award.

An 18-year industry veteran, Belding supervises a fleet of 2,950 vehicles in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. She oversees fleet management, staff supervision, vendor relations, and fleet safety programs, including accident management, driver risk-level analysis, and safety training.

Belding participates in a range of industry organizations. She is the executive vice president for AFLA, is a NAFA member, and is a member of Ford’s Fleet Advisory Board.

Jack Pierce Ties the Knot

Congratulations to Communications Committee member, Jack Pierce on his recent marriage to Brittney Ruff. The pair got married on March 11 at "The Chapel" at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, immediately following the CARS conference.

Bob Mayfield Looks Back at AFLA Association

by Cheryl Knight

Bob Mayfield

Industry veteran and current retiree Bob Mayfield recently sat down with us to talk about his almost three decades in the industry, as well as his time as a long-time AFLA member.

Prior to entering the fleet and leasing industry, Bob served in Germany and Vietnam as an Army engineer and in a medical group for four years. After serving in the armed forces, he entered the fleet and leasing industry in 1975 after joining Gelco, which later was bought by GE Capital Fleet Service. In total, he spent more than two and a half decades with GE Capital.

“I originally took a job at Gelco as clerk in the new vehicle purchasing department,” Bob said. “I later moved to sales and customer service.”

Bob credits AFLA for helping him succeed in a position that required strong industry relationships and constant networking opportunities.

“I started going to AFLA meetings in 1978 and officially joined in the early 1980s,” he said. “AFLA’s focus on relationship-building is a huge benefit. I always enjoyed circulating and getting to know people throughout the industry. It’s a very social organization, great for learning the industry, and has even evolved toward the technical side.”

Bob also became involved with AFLA leadership during his long-time membership. In fact, he is the only two-term AFLA president.

“AFLA always appealed to me because of the intimate nature of events and the accessibility of industry experts,” he said. “It was the only association that had events where you had OEMs, fleet managers, and lessors all in the same room talking to each other.”

In retirement, Bob enjoys golf, music, dining out, and gambling. He also has another fascination that most people don’t know about. “My goal is to someday get on Jeopardy and meet Alex Trebec,” he said.
He also enjoys spending time with his family, including his two grandsons, two sons, and wife, Hannah. He is also a dog lover and owns two Scottish terrors.

Today, Bob still enjoys staying involved with AFLA and its members.

Is the Tide Changing? Industry Comments...

by Ricky Beggs, Black Book

Listen to Ricky Beggs discuss this week's topic by clicking on the video frame below or clicking on this link:

McCarthy’s Liner Notes:
Reader Participation

by Jim McCarthy, Siemens Shared Services LLC

Jim McCarthy


For several months I have been contributing to the Liner Notes Section of AFLA's Spec Sheet, and without fail, within hours of publication I receive a bunch of emails highlighting specific songs or artists that I overlooked. What a hoot, for sure!

So we thought that it would be interesting to put together a list of songs based solely on reader participation. If you would, please submit your favorite five songs in each of the following categories:

  • Top 5 Protest/Rebellion/Social Conscience Songs
  • Top 5 Rock Anthems
  • Top 5 Songs from the 80s

Please send all submittals to me via my e-mail address ( by May 15 and a Top 10 list in each category will be published in May’s Spec Sheet.

Thank you for your contributions to this endeavor.

Auto Recall:
What Was Your First Car?

by Bob Martines, Corporate Claims Management

Bob Martines

The first car I ever called my own was a hand-me-down 1961 Chrysler New Yorker. It was so big by today’s standard it might be considered a limousine. Needless to say, it was old and in need of tender loving care. No offense to Chrysler — but with over 150,000 miles on it some things just stopped working, like the brakes at about 60 MPH on my first road trip to Florida. Now I laugh about it, but at the time, going through an intersection with my brother with me screaming out the windows “we can’t stop” was an experience I will never forget. I learned quite a bit about vehicle repairs and maintenance with that car. I had a lot of good times driving it as well; just cruising around, driving back and forth to college, my first date, going to Jones Beach on Long Island and so much more. The car was white with a red leather interior and a push button console. It could easily fit 6 of us, sometimes 8 people, with plenty of leg and head room to spare. Got about 8 miles to a gallon of gas; thank goodness gas was only 30 cents a gallon back then.

Now it’s your turn. Send us your story. If you have a photo of you and your first car, all the better. Send your story to

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