We just concluded another awards season for the fleet industry at the AFLA Conference in Orlando, Florida. The Fleet Manager of the Year and Fleet Executive of the Year award presentations are always a great opportunity to hear from the best and the brightest in the industry. And the new Fleet Visionary awards have given us a chance to see what's going on with the up-and-coming new entrants into the industry. And finally, of course, we have the Hall of Fame induction ceremony which gives us a chance to hear from pioneers in the industry who got us to this point.
This year's Fleet Manager of the Year award presentation gave us a chance to honor some of the truly incredible people in our industry. Phil Samuelson of USIC was our winner and gave an acceptance speech that reminded us all that this is a team game and that running an efficient fleet requires a great group of suppliers in addition to a strong management team. Our other finalists, Lee Jezek-Pierce and Erin Gilchrist, gave us two more examples of incredibly professional operators who have embraced technology and change while leading their organizations into the future.
Our Hall of Fame induction ceremony this year was incredibly special. The inductees this year included Mike Sims, a dear friend of mine, who runs the massive global fleet operation for the LDS Church. Mike is not only a true professional; he's also one of the smartest guys I've ever met in the industry. He's been my go-to source whenever I have a question about an obscure point of fleet management, and he always has an answer. Jim Christiano, founder of PARS, former fleet sales director for Buick, and father of AFLA past president Lori Rasmussen, was our second inductee. Jim is a good friend and has always personified the class and integrity that makes suppliers in our market so special.
Our final inductee this year was Bob Brown, a man who spent over 30 years helping build Automotive Fleet and Bobit Business Media into the respected entity it is today. During his long and illustrious career, he put together some of the most innovative and creative marketing programs the magazine industry has ever seen. When he wasn't selling advertising, he was meeting with fleet managers and making sure he was always on top of the latest trends and developments in the market. When he wasn't doing that, he was the unofficial career advisor and job finder for anyone who found themselves unemployed.
Like Ed Bobit, Bob always had time and energy for any fleet manager or fleet sales professional that needed help finding a job. Before he did any of that, he was spending time with me and my brothers, teaching us the value of hard work, honesty, a sense of humor, and selflessness because he's my dad. And trust me when I tell you, if there was a hall of fame for dads, he would be in on the first ballot with a unanimous vote. It has been a true honor to learn the business from someone like him. It has been an even bigger honor to see his unwavering commitment and loyalty to family and friends.
Congratulations to all our winners this year Phil, Lee, Erin, Mike, Jim, and especially you, Dad. It has been a real honor to know and work with all of you.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet