Michael Ahart

Company: Dean Foods Company
Title: Vice President, Transportation
Total Vehicles: 12,000 Class 7-8 trucks; 1,500 passenger vehicles
Staff Supervised: 11
Years in Fleet: 7
Replacement Policy: Tractors - 10 years/800,000 miles; trucks - 10 years/350,000 miles; passenger cars - three to five years/approximately 120,000 miles.

Michael Ahart is vice president of transportation for the Fresh Dairy Direct division of Dean Foods Company, a food and beverage company, reporting revenues of more than $13 billion in 2011.  With nearly 12,000 Class 7 and 8 power units and refrigerated trailers, Dean Foods is recognized as the 12th largest private carrier in the United States by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), traveling approximately 200 million miles annually.

Ahart has been with Dallas-headquartered Dean Foods since August 2000, where he has held a variety of operational and financial leadership positions before being promoted to his current position in 2006. He holds a master of professional accounting degree and has worked for Deloitte and Halliburton. Ahart is a member of the ATA's Technology Maintenance Council and a charter member of the Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) Fleet Forum.

Ahart has implemented several fleet initiatives since taking the helm of the Dean Foods fleet. Vehicle specifications have been standardized, purchasing and leasing have been centralized, titling and registration outsourced, vehicle maintenance enhanced, fuel purchases consolidated, and employee safety prioritized. Additionally, by the end of 2009, the company outfitted all of its Class 7 and 8 vehicles with electronic onboard recorders.

During 2011, Ahart deployed the first Class 8 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles into the fleet, and has plans for additional CNG vehicles to be delivered during 2012.

All of these initiatives have resulted in significant cost reductions for Dean Foods; however, there are also non-financial benefits tied to these improvements. For example, diesel fuel consumed has been reduced by more than 8 million gallons (16-percent) since 2007, helping Dean Foods meet one of the many sustainability objectives outlined in its Corporate Responsibility Report.

Additionally, the deployment of Smith System Driver Training and many other comprehensive employee safety programs and processes have created a work environment where employees remain safe throughout the workday.


Caryn Helmandollar

Company: Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.
Title: Director of Risk Management
Total Vehicles: 3,700
Staff Supervised: 17 (3 dedicated to fleet)
Years in Fleet: 2
Replacement Policy: 36 months/75,000 miles (cars); 48 months/90,000 miles (light-duty trucks); medium- and heavy-duty trucks vary.

Caryn Helmandollar began her involvement with fleet in January 2010, when Ferguson's fleet function transitioned to the Risk Management Group. Ferguson is a diverse wholesale distributor headquartered in Newport News, Va., with operations spanning multiple business groups and is also the industry's second-largest distributor of pipes, valves and fittings, water-works, and heating and cooling equipment in North America. The existing fleet staff includes experienced professionals with a sound strategy as follows:
■ Lease vehicle assets at the lowest cost and attain the highest possible resale value upon disposal.
■ Strive to partner with operations to control total cost through various strategies.

Helmandollar's challenge was communicating the strategy effectively across an organization of 1,300-plus sites. She and her team created an operations friendly fleet management policy document to achieve buy-in and execution in the field. This convenient resource serves as a road map for managing local fleets. The result has been greater visibility and understanding of the methods underlying their strategy and the benefits to the bottom line.

Helmandollar's management strengths are process improvement and maximizing key vendor partnerships. Ferguson's relationship with its fleet management company has evolved into a team approach.
In the past year, fleet has collaborated on the following key initiatives that have enhanced Ferguson's overall fleet program:
■ Consolidated IFTA/IRP across the country (goals are relieving the individual sites from the burden of renewing accounts, filing quarterly tax returns, and expediting the plating process for new trucks).
■ Standardized truck specifications by business group (goals are efficiency in ordering, shortened lead times, best practices shared by business group, and ease transferring units within the business group).
■ Safety initiatives. Addition of orange seat belts for all International units for visibility of compliance.
■ Reverse sensors. Addition of reverse sensors to reduce backing collisions (piloted and rolled out by business groups during standardization of truck specifications).
 As the director of risk management, Helmandollar is also responsible for the overall insurance program, health and safety, DOT compliance, and claims management. The addition of fleet responsibilities has offered a unique opportunity to connect fleet and safety. It has also united a team of diverse professionals who share ideas across several disciplines.


Paul Youngpeter, CAFM

Company: Rollins, Inc.
Title: Director of Fleet
Total Vehicles: 7,800
Staff Supervised:  3
Years in Fleet:  2
Replacement Policy: 48 months/90,000 miles (light-duty trucks); 36 months/80,000 miles (sedans & SUVs);
medium-duty trucks vary.

Paul Youngpeter joined Rollins, Inc., parent company of Orkin pest control, in 1994 in Orkin operations management. Over the years, he has served in several capacities for Orkin and Rollins, including branch manager, director of quality assurance, assistant division vice president, vice president of client services, and president of Acurid Retail Services, a joint venture with SC Johnson.  

Youngpeter began his tenure as the director of fleet for Atlanta-headquartered Rollins in March 2010 and earned his certified automotive fleet manager (CAFM) designation in April 2011. He oversees the Rollins fleet department and fleet activities for the company's brands in the United States and is the primary contract negotiator for fleet services and OEM pricing. His responsibilities include strategic direction, vendor negotiations, contractor management, and coordinating strategic partnerships within Rollins with risk management, HR, procurement, and operations to improve safety, maintain vehicle image, and drive costs off the bottom line. He also communicates with operations and executive management.

As director of fleet, Youngpeter's accomplishments include:
■ Winning executive approval for open-end leases on all vehicles, beginning the conversion in January 2011.  Switching the leasing structure will save Rollins from $8 million to $12 million over the next six years.
■ Since taking over fleet responsibilities, Youngpeter has led the evaluation and resulting RFP process to determine if there were advantages to bundling services. In June 2011, the decision was made to partner with a fleet management company, and the bid was awarded to Wheels. Implementation began during third quarter 2011.
■ Youngpeter and the fleet team helped ease the transition to open-end leasing and partnering with a fleet management company by implementing a comprehensive communication plan, which included utilizing Rollins' internal satellite broadcasting system to conduct live interactive training sessions with vendors and the fleet team on camera.
■ Each year, the 40-plus departments in Rollins' support center are rated and ranked by field operations. Over the past two years, fleet has risen from being ranked 20th overall to now in the top five. Primary reasons for the improvement have come from developing a customer-oriented attitude within the team, implementing processes that save operations time and money, and open communication.


Maggie Cole

Company: Monsanto
Title: Director, Environmental, Safety & Health
Total Vehicles: 3,400 (U.S.)
Staff Supervised: 8
Years in Fleet: 3
Replacement Policy: Pickups/SUVs - 5 years/100,000 miles; cars/minivans - 3 years/60,000 miles; diesels - 200,000 miles;
medium-duty/bigger trucks based on condition.

Maggie Cole is director of environmental, safety & health (ESH) for Monsanto, responsibile for the Global Vehicle Safety and Global Off The Job Safety programs, as well as U.S. Commercial ESH. The Global Vehicle Safety Team works closely with the regional fleet management teams and DOT function (within the U.S. operations) to align policies to address vehicle requirements, driver policies, and training requirements within each of the regions.

The integration of the Global Vehicle Safety program and the Global Off The Job Safety program has enabled the sharing of Monsanto’s vehicle safety training, tools, and resources with company drivers, other employees and their families, the communities in which they live and operate, and with its customers. Monsanto performs semi-annual “Click Heard Around The World” seat belt checks at all global locations, raising awareness and rewarding seat belt usage. This practice is taken to local schools along with a Seat belt Convincer or a driving simulator and “X The TXT” thumb bands to raise awareness of seat belt usage and the dangers of texting with teens in our communities, as well.

Monsanto launched a global vehicle database in 2010 to capture mileage by vehicle and driver, as well as accidents and incidents at the same level of detail. This system has enabled it to streamline data entry to provide key information, driving continuous improvement efforts and focus areas for training and awareness.

Cole obtained her Six Sigma Black Belt certification in 2000 followed by Master Black Belt certification in 2003, and was certified as a Lean Practitioner in 2005.  In a previous role, she was a member of the team responsible for the in-house continuous improvement training strategy and development, and has delivered training globally for Six Sigma Champions, Green Belts, Black Belts, and Lean Practitioners within the company. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS).