December 2010

Editor's Notebook

by Rick Nicoletti, Napleton Fleet

Rick Nicoletti

Welcome to our holiday issue of Spec Sheet. This is always a fun issue if for no other reason than to see how the Spec Sheet staff looks in the latest holiday Jib Jab Video! There are multiple Jib Jab videos this year, featuring a dance-off between the Spec Sheet staff. (I’m happy to say that Scott Okun is making a speedy recovery following his epic dance split in one of our dance-offs.)

We’ve assembled a number of articles about AFLA members that we thought you would find both enlightening and entertaining. It never ceases to amaze me that there are so many great stories about our members. Their stories range from work-related to hobby-related to volunteer-related. If you have a story to tell about your job or outside interests, please let me know. If you know a member that has an interesting story, we would love to contact that member and include their story in a future issue. We enjoy giving our members a little more insight into what makes up AFLA and its membership.

It’s never too early to mark your calendar for the 2011 conference which will be held September 14-16, 2011 at Paradise Point in San Diego, CA. Theresa Belding and the conference committee have chosen "A Better Vision of Tomorrow" as the 2011 Conference theme. Working with this theme, the committee is diligently putting together a program that I’m sure will give attendees another great AFLA meeting.

As 2010 winds down, best wishes to everyone for a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

President's Message

by Lori Rasmussen

Lori Rasmussen

First I want to start off by wishing everyone a wonderful and safe holiday season and to thank you for your support of the AFLA organization. Like I have said before, it’s the AFLA members and volunteers that make this organization successful and what it is today. Thank you!

We have been moving full force since our strategic planning meeting last month. Below are some highlights of our recent activities:

  • We have updated the membership application form to allow us to collect additional member demographics and have them searchable through the online member directory. If you are a current member, don’t forget to login to the AFLA website ( to update your profile.

  • The membership committee is looking into ways to expand and build upon the Ambassador program and to get more new members engaged.

  • We are creating and implementing a communications plan. Our goal is to condense the emails sent out to the AFLA membership. We will be moving towards sending only one email per week with all of the updates and highlights for upcoming AFLA events and news.

  • The conference committee is already actively work working on the 2011 AFLA Conference, A Better Vision of Tomorrow. Registration for the 2011 AFLA Conference will be opening up this month and the committee is already working on each session and securing speakers.

As you can see we have a good start on our 2011 goals that we outlined in the strategic planning meeting and we have much more to come! Again, I would like to wish you and your families a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year.

AFLA Solves the "Mysteries" of Fleet

(Click below to watch video)

2011 Conference Theme Chosen

by Theresa Belding

Theresa Belding

After much brainstorming and careful deliberation, the Conference Committee has decided on a theme. A Better Vision of Tomorrow is the theme for the 2011 AFLA Conference, in San Diego, California. In the spirit of the theme, we plan to deliver just that at the conference. Some of the topics we are researching for the 2011 conference are the changes to the accounting standards, a vision of alternative fuels in the near, mid and long term, the latest outlook on the automotive industry and much much more. New for the 2011 conference will be published “take aways” from each session. That right, you will leave the conference with several key points from each session in hard copy. Shortly after returning home, you will receive the same via e-mail. The Conference Committee is excited to offer this valuable addition in 2011.

The 2011 conference registration is now open so REGISTER TODAY. If you have 2010 budget dollars left to spend, be sure to allocate that to the 2011 AFLA Conference – A Better Vision of Tomorrow.

Safelite’s Mark Klein Gives Back to the Community

by Cheryl Knight

Mark Klein

For almost two decades, Safelite AutoGlass has given back to the Central Ohio Community after the company moved its corporate headquarters to Columbus in 1990. This year, Safelite employees companywide participated in the Annual Safelite Charitable Giving Campaign, which was held between November 8-19.

While the corporate office has celebrated an annual charitable giving week for many years, this is the first year Safelite’s employees from all areas of the business had a chance to raise funds for the charities of their choosing. And thanks to the logistical support of the United Way, funds raised are directed to charities of choice nationwide.

Long-time AFLA member Mark Klein, recently celebrated his 20th anniversary at Safelite Solutions. Mark not only devotes his time to the company during work hours as a strategic account manager, he donates his time to help the company raise money for worthwhile charities. For many years, he has participated on the company’s United Way Committee, and he has personally run the senior management team root beer float sale.

The root beer float sale is one example of how Safelite’s employees get creative to help their community.

“This fundraiser was truly unique, as I had only Safelite senior executives scooping the ice cream and pouring the root beer,” Mark said. “The employees loved it, and our executives were more than willing to support the sale for the benefit of United Way. Since our executives paid for all the supplies out-of-pocket, every penny from the sale went to United Way.”


Getting His Second Wind:
93-Year Old Bob Soell Says He Won't Retire Until He's 102

Attributed to Channel 5 | Visit site for a video interview of Bob Soell

Bob Soell

He may very well be the old­est car salesman in the St. Louis area. Touted as Ford Motor Company’s oldest salesman in the country, Bob Soell Senior is 93 and says he won’t think of retiring until he’s maybe 102.

Sell, sell, sell: that’s what car salesmen do. And Soell, pronounced “sell”, is a big name at Suntrup Ford Westport at Page and Lindbergh. Inside, his own office with plenty of memorabilia from his 93 years, 62 years selling cars for Ford. But no com­puter. No cell phone. Soell likes to process his Ford deals the old fashioned way, lots of files.

“As long as I’m here. What happens after I’m gone. Who knows!” said Soell.

Soell has been recognized for accomplishments selling fleets of cars to corporations. Now he han­dles deliveries to leasing companies. And has no plans to give it up and retire.

“No, I’m just getting my second wind,” said Soell.

Soell graduated from Clayton High in 1935. He says his high school basketball days eventu­ally led him down the path of meeting his wife, becoming a basketball player and promotor with the former St. Louis Blues Basketball Team, and that meant having a car, a Ford.

In 1948, he walked into a St. Louis Ford Deal­ership and was offered a job as a salesman.

“ ‘We’re going to come out with our 49 Ford. We’re going to hire our first salesman.’ I said, ‘I don’t know how to sell a car.’ He said, ‘can your read or write?’ I said, ‘sure’. (He said) ‘Start to­morrow’. “
Soell’s been doing it ever since. And has no plans to quit anytime soon.

“Years ago, my wife was watching Johnny Car­son and he was interviewing a Chevrolet sales­man who was 102 so being a smarty like I am, I said, ‘I’m gonna tie him.’ I don’t wanna beat him, but I’m gonna tie him,” said Soell.


Spec Sheet Staff Dance-off
Contestants: Dico Akseraylian, Mark Petersen, and Jack Pierce

Hoffer Joins Wolfe’s Auto Auctions

Jim Hoffer

Jim Hoffer, a long-time industry veteran and past AFLA president, has joined Wolfe's Auto Auctions as national fleet and lease manager. In this new role, Hoffer is responsible for coordinating the processing and sale of off-lease and commercial vehicles for large and small leasing and national fleet accounts with the company's three Indiana-based auctions, located in South Bend, Terre Haute, and Evansville, which serves the entire Midwest area of the U.S.

The Wolfe family employs more than 300 people for the three auction operations.

Hoffer reports to Robert Ruth, general manager of Wolfe's Auto Auction in South Bend, Ind.

Hoffer has worked in the automotive industry for more than 25 years in retail and fleet operations of dealerships. He was a president of the Automotive Fleet and Leasing Assocation (AFLA) from 1996-1997, as well as a dealer principal of his own dealership.

Did You Know? The size of license plates were standardized in 1957 in the USA, Canada, and Mexico at 12 inches by 6 inches.

AFLA Streamlines Member Communications

There’s been a lot happening at AFLA. The organization continues to grow and engage increasing numbers of corporate fleet executives. An important part of AFLA’s growth is making sure we keep members informed of all that AFLA has to offer. Because you are inundated every day with email AFLA is consolidating its email correspondence. In addition to the regular Spec Sheet newsletter, other AFLA emails will begin including information about a number of AFLA announcements. Make sure to read each email carefully so you don’t miss any of the action.

Time Capsule: George Largay

George Largay, AFLA's past president (1981-82), discusses his experiences with AFLA and his time as president. Largay was interviewed by Mark Conroy of Union Leasing, Inc. who is himself a past AFLA present (2006-2007).

(Click below to watch video)

Life After Fleet: Phil Procida Takes on Teaching

by Cheryl Knight

Phil Procida

In 2005, Phil Procida retired from the fleet industry as vice president, International Operations for ARI, and headed straight into a new teaching at Roosevelt University, an independent, non-profit, metropolitan university with two campuses located in downtown Chicago and suburban Schaumburg, Illinois.

“The first time the thought of teaching ever entered my mind, was at the first of four retirement parties, when at the conclusion of what was probably one of my most inspiring speeches, Carl Ortell asked what I would do now, and I responded without thinking, ‘I am going to teach,’ and the rest was history,” Phil said.

Prior to retiring, Phil spent 45 years in the fleet industry, first joining ARI in 1960 after leaving the accounting department of Sun Oil Company in Philadelphia. Not only did Phil spend more than four decades in the industry, but he spent all of that time with one company — a rare occurrence in the industry.

Phil worked for Automotive Resources International (ARI) in various positions, ranging from Zone (Sales) Manager for Midwest and Western states to Vice President International Operations. Upon retirement, he was also President of Global Fleet Service, a combination of ownership, partnerships, and alliance group of eight major lessors covering approximately 35 different countries.

Out of Phil’s 45 years with ARI, he was an AFLA member for at least 25 of those years. “It was necessity to keep abreast of changes in the industry and manufacturers’ new products, as well as networking with competition,” he said. During that time, he participated on panels, made presentations, and worked with AFLA groups from time to time.


Donate Your Greeting Cards for a Good Cause

PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) has partnered up with St. Jude's Ranch to recycle cards this year.

Do you have birthday, thank you, and holiday cards that you've received? This is the perfect way to recycle them and help out an important charity: St. Jude's Ranch for Children. The designed part of your card is removed and affixed to a blank card. The residents sell these cards and the proceeds benefit the facility and residents of St. Jude's Ranch for Children. The goal is to donate 10,000 cards, so send your cards today!

If you would like to participate, please send your cards to Michelle Mendez of Bobit by January 14, 2011. Her mailing address is:
Michelle Mendez
3520 Challenger Street
Torrance, CA 90503
(310) 533-2453

Did You Know? Gottlieb Daimler, one of the earliest manufacturers of the car, once thought that the maximum number of cars in Europe would be around 5,000, due to a shortage of chauffeurs.

Living Abroad: Tom Callahan Experiences Cultural Diversity

by Cheryl Knight

London...Tokyo...Melbourne...These three locations would most likely top many “best destination” lists. Not only do these cities offer adventure, history, and cultural uniqueness to would-be travelers, they are also key hubs for many global businesses.

From 2000 to 2005, AFLA Vice President and Donlen President and CEO Tom Callahan called these three locations home: living in Japan from 2000-2001, Australia from 2002 to the first quarter of 2005, and England for part of 2005.

While Tom lived abroad, his primary goals included restructuring the “front end” of his then-company’s business and implementing global best practices to drive organic growth and improved efficiencies. He also set out to improve the business’ overall profitability and brand image.

Tom in the Australian Outback in 2004

Tom on the Mt. Fuji Summit in 2001

However, during his stay overseas, Tom’s most impactful moments came during his interaction with the country’s local residents.

“What surprised me the most about living in these countries was the kindness and generosity of the people in Japan and the straightforwardness and lack of hidden agendas of the Australian residents,” he said.

And while Tom did encounter many cultural differences during his travels — he really missed American holidays and events like Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, and the Super Bowl — he credits his lengthy stays in Japan and Australia to his family becoming closer and relying on each other more often.

“It was a great learning experience and helped me gain an appreciation and respect for other cultures,” Tom said.


The Good Samaritan Side of Linda Tiberi

by Dico Akseraylian

Linda Tiberi

Giving back to our communities and taking time to help others in need is something we all should find time for. During the holidays, many families in need rely on volunteers and the generosity of others.

One AFLA member, who has been doing it for years, is Linda Tiberi, PHH’s Manager of Strategic Alliances. Linda has given her time and support to several organizations such as the United Way, Meals on Wheels, the Gallagher Center (organization that helps people with developmental disabilities) and the Maryland Food Bank, just to name a few!

Some of her activities include organizing various activities and volunteering at silent auctions to benefit the United Way. She supported the Meals on Wheels program for 10 years, where she delivered hot meals to senior citizens one day per month during her lunch time. She is also a member of a team of PHH employees who volunteer at the Maryland Food Bank. For the last three years, Linda has given her time supporting the Food Bank’s efforts to help fight hunger. Her activities at the Food Bank include unloading large buses full of food as well as sorting and packing.

Much of the charity work Linda is involved with comes through PHH sponsored events. But one charity in particular, the Gallagher Center, Linda is an active member on her own. This includes events such as organizing baby showers for un-wed mothers, a day of beauty and shopping for intellectually challenged women and, most recently, a Fall celebration for developmentally challenged men and women. This event included hay rides, horse rides, scarecrow making, line dancing and furnishing lunch for the participants.

When asked why she gets involved in volunteer work, Linda commented “It’s important for me to give back to my community and to help out those who are less fortunate. Seeing the look on people’s faces, and the joy it brings to them, is enough for me. It’s an incredibly fulfilling and gratifying part of my life.”

Did You Know? Today, they build some of the world’s fastest production sports cars. However, in the early years, Lamborghini stared out building farm tractors.

Electronic Pickpocketing

Watch this video to avoid having your credit card number "electronically hijacked."

McCarthy’s Liner Notes:
Top 25 Doo Wop Favorites

by Jim McCarthy, Siemens Shared Services LLC

Jim McCarthy

I thought that a Top 25 of my Doo Wop favorites would be an easy assignment, but boy was I wrong. When I thought of some of the songs that I had to leave off this list, I knew that it would be a frustrating and difficult task at best. So to make it a bit easier I just decided to create a new Doo Wop playlist on my IPOD, and these are the 25 songs that made the cut, in favorite order. In compiling this list, I choose to not repeat any group more than once….otherwise the list could easily have been dominated by 3 or 4 groups. There’s just so much history and so many memories throughout the Doo Wop genre, but I feel that these 25 songs have transcended time and generations extremely well. Enjoy!

  1. You Belong to Me
    The Duprees
  2. Remember Then
    The Earls
  3. Big Man
    The Four Preps
  4. Sh-Boom
    The Crew-Cuts
  5. Just to be with You
    The Passions
  6. Blue Moon
    The Marcels
  7. Earth Angel
    The Penguins
  8. Looking for an Echo
    Kenny Vance & The Planotones
  9. Step By Step
    The Crests
  10. The Great Pretender
    The Platters
  11. My True Story
    The Jive Five
  12. Hushabye
    The Mystics
  13. Since I Don’t Have You
    Jimmy Beaumont & The Skyliners
  1. Whispering Bells
    The Del-Vikings
  2. There’s a Moon Out Tonight
    The Capris
  3. Till Then
    The Classics
  4. Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight
    The Spaniels
  5. Sincerely
    The Moonglows
  6. Little Star
    The Elegants
  7. Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home)
    The Impalas
  8. I Only Have Eyes for You
    The Flamingos
  9. Little Darlin’
    The Diamonds
  10. Unchained Melody
    Vito & the Salutations
  11. One Summer Night
    The Danleers
  12. I Wonder Why

New AFLA White Paper

Explaining NHTSA’s New Crash Ratings

Fleet selector planning is no easy task – and this year may be even more complicated. The two major rating agencies, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), have issued revised ratings guidelines for vehicles beginning with MY 2010-11. Both institutions have made it more difficult to achieve a high vehicle safety score.

This edition of the AFLA Whitepaper Series explains the impact of new crash ratings on corporate fleet and provides recommendations from one of AFLA’s proud Silver Sponsors, PHH, on how to navigate the new standards in vehicle safety.

A PDF copy of this paper is available HERE. It can also be found in the Resource Library on the AFLA website.

Auto Recall:
What Was Your First Car?

by Santa Claus

Santa Claus

The Spec Sheet staff made numerous attempts to contact Santa to gain a little insight into his famous vehicle. Of course, Santa is very busy at this time of year so we had to rely on other sources. Luckily there is plenty of information available about his sleigh.

Santa’s sleigh first appeared in a poem written by Clement Moore for the enjoyment of his own family. Moore’s poem was first published anonymously in the Troy Sentinel in 1823. It became very popular and was reprinted countless times under the more familiar title - The Night Before Christmas. In the poem, a sleigh is Santa Clauses’ means of transportation to deliver presents to good little boys and girls around the world on the night of Christmas Eve.

Santa's sleigh was originally designed with eight RP (Reindeer Power) - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen, rather that DP (Deer Power) because reindeer are much sturdier animals than North American deer. They are lucky enough to be equipped with the earliest form of antifreeze, oxygen and pressure compensation for high altitudes. One draw back is their methane emissions deficiency when measured against emerging CAFE Standards.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa needed to adapt his sleigh to the weather conditions. He added Rudolf, the earliest recorded automotive fog lamp technology, to guide his sleigh.

It’s obvious to us that Santa’s sleigh is a one-off prototype because there have been no other sightings like it, or any production line set-up recorded. Is this because of a lack of research or capital investment in the industry - we think not. We believe that the classic Santa Claus Sleigh Mark I is here to stay in for all children today and for generations to come.

Technical Data:

  • Designer & Builder: K. Kringle & Elves, Inc.
  • Probable First Flight: Dec. 24, 343 A.D.
  • Home Base: North Pole
  • Length: 75 cc (candy canes)/150 lp (lollipops)
  • Width: 40 cc/80 lp
  • Height: 55 cc/110 lp
  • Weight at takeoff: 75,000 gd (gumdrops)
  • Passenger weight at takeoff: Santa Claus 260 pounds
  • Weight of gifts at takeoff: 60,000 tons
  • Weight at landing: 80,000 gd (ice & snow accumulation)
  • Passenger weight at landing: 1,260 pounds
  • Propulsion: Nine (9) rp (reindeer power)
  • Armament: Antlers (purely defensive)
  • Fuel: Hay, oats and carrots (for reindeer)
  • Emissions: Classified
  • Climbing speed: One "T" (Twinkle of an eye)
  • Max speed: Faster than starlight
  • Note: Length, width and height are without reindeer.

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

Spec Sheet Staff Dance-off
Contestants: Rick Nicoletti, Mike Antich, Scott Okun and Nicki Brunner

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