SALT LAKE CITY – Joe LaRosa, director of global services for Merck & Co., Inc., received the award for Automotive Fleet's 2008 Professional Fleet Manager of the Year at NAFA's 2008 Institute & Expo in Salt Lake City. Fifteen nominees qualified for the award, which was then narrowed down to three finalists. LaRosa has been a finalist in the awards since 2005.
As director of global services for Merck & Co., LaRosa is responsible for a fleet of nearly 9,000 vehicles and approximately 14,000 vehicles outside the U.S. He implemented a new total cost of ownership model for the company, which has already made important policy and administrative changes in managing fleet and safety and accident management. This has resulted in significant cost savings in a very short time frame. La Rosa has been in fleet for 14 years, and previously served as fleet manager for Bristol-Myers Squibb. LaRosa was also one of the first in the industry to manage order cycles to take advantage of the strong fall resale market.
Two industry veterans, Christy Coyte, global fleet manager for Johnson Controls, Inc., and Ed Oleksy, senior director, global fleet services for Pfizer, Inc., were the runner-ups for this year's award.
With 13 years of industry experience, Coyte oversees a 14,000-vehicle fleet operations across 20 countries. She is four-time Fleet Manager of the Year nominee and 2007 finalist.
Managing a fleet a global fleet of 42,500 vehicles, Oleksy has spent 30 years in fleet. Joe LaRosa, the 2008 Fleet Manager of the Year winner, considers Oleksy a mentor. "Although we never worked together, we met when I was a newly appointed fleet manager, and Ed helped introduce me to fleet management," LaRosa recalled. Oleksy has also been a finalist for Fleet Manager of the Year for several years.
Originally posted on Automotive Fleet