September 2011

Editor’s Notebook

by Rick Nicoletti, Napleton Fleet Group

Rick Nicoletti

AFLA’s annual conference was an enormous success. Attendance was at an all-time high. The speakers and venue were outstanding. About the only thing that was missing was the expected San Diego sunshine! Theresa Belding, Tom Callahan and the Conference Committee’s hard work and great planning paid off with an incredibly successful event.

Congratulations and thank you to Lori Rasmussen for her leadership this past year as AFLA’s president. It’s a time consuming but very rewarding job (I have some past experience). Theresa Belding has assumed the position as AFLA’s new president. Based on her outstanding work as Executive Vice President and Conference Committee Chair, we’re in good hands.

Although the annual conference is the highlight of AFLA’s year, your membership in the organization offers you additional benefits throughout the year. As a reminder, some of your member benefits can be found at the AFLA website –

  • The online AFLA Resource Library offers White Papers that cover an array of issues in the fleet and leasing industry.

  • AFLA Webinars cover topics that impact all members. Some topics from this year include environmental policy, fuel markets, social media and global fleet.  Join us for future webinars – if you’re a member you’ll receive email announcements of upcoming webinars.  Past webinars can be viewed at

  • The Conference Archives provide you with presentations and takeaways from previous AFLA conferences. Complete updates for the 2011 conference will be added shortly.

  • The AFLA LinkedIn Group gives you an opportunity to discuss ideas and pose questions to the AFLA membership. We all know one of the major benefits of the AFLA conference is networking. Why not utilize the AFLA LinkedIn Group to network all year long?

We’re always looking for personal stories about members to run in Spec Sheet. One of our goals is to provide the membership with more than just the business side of AFLA members. Let me know if you have an interesting personal story, hobby, charitable activity, etc. We’d like to tell your story in a future issue.

Enjoy this month’s issue!

Message from the President and Conference Recap

by Theresa Belding, Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Theresa Belding

I have to say, the quote “time flies when you are having fun” truly applies to my first two years serving on the AFLA Executive Committee.  It seems like just yesterday, I took on the role of AFLA Vice President, served as Executive Vice President and Conference chair this past year and as of September 16, I am starting my term as President.  It has all gone by way too fast.  I am excited and anxious about this new opportunity.  I am excited to share my vision and ideas for the organization, as well as working with the current Executive Committee over the next year.  I am anxious because I am following an amazing President who was focused, organized and always operated with the greater good of the organization in mind.  Lori is going to be a tough act to follow, but with her guidance as Past President, I hope I can live up to the expectation she has set.  Details of the strategic planning meeting for the Board are in the works as we speak. Once that meeting occurs, I will be happy to share the strategic vision for AFLA in the coming year.  Watch for details in the next few editions of the Spec Sheet.

Conference Recap

The 2011 AFLA Conference, A Better Vision of Tomorrow, kicked off on Wednesday, September 14, with an inspiring performance by artist and motivational speaker, Erik Wahl.  As Erik delivered his message he created amazing paintings in just minutes, right before our eyes.  Unsuspecting crowd volunteer, Scott Singsank, from Wheels, was awarded a freshly created Michael Jordon painting, for taking a chance and embracing his fear of what challenge was waiting for him in the envelop. The other two paintings, Lady Liberty and Abraham Lincoln were given to AFLA. AFLA decide to hold a silent auction for the paintings and donate the proceeds to Families for Freedom.  Families for Freedom provides needs based scholarships for children of 9/11 victims and rescue workers.  The AFLA community stepped up and collectively bid $1400 on the two paintings.  Thank you to Jim Christiano with PARS Inc, who took home the Lady Liberty painting and Chris Hoehner with Volkswagen, who took home the Abraham Lincoln painting for their generosity.  A special thank you also to Amerifleet and Toyota, who graciously offered to match the auction donations. You can add to these generous donations, if you would like to do so, by visiting our Families for Freedom page on the website.

Erik Wahl was just the tip of the iceberg. Professional speakers from all disciplines shared their expertise on the economy, new tax law, the state of the government, the state of the auto industry, alternative fuels and much more.  Some speakers, like David Teater drove home the importance of avoiding distracted driving with real life stories that tugged on the heart strings.  While the rapping professor from Arizona State University challenged us to take control of our own destiny with positive visions of our future.  Steven Rattner rounded out the agenda with an insiders look into the government’s involvement in the auto industry restructuring. Be sure to check out the AFLA conference page for the Take-Aways and presentation materials for these speakers. You can also view videos here.

In addition to the great speakers, the Conference Committee was instrumental in finding ways to maximize networking time. The more casual flow style dinner on Thursday night allowed for better networking opportunities than a formal sit down meal. Networking is a critical component of the AFLA conference and will always have a place on the agenda.

Finally, I would like to thank the Conference Committee one more time for their tireless dedication and hard work.  This conference could not have been a success without them.  The Conference Committee included: Tom Callahan, co-chair, Lori Rasmussen, Mike Antich, Ed Pierce, Kimberly Fisher, Donna Bibbo, Karen Wallace, Lee Miller, John Dmochowsky, Martin Keil, Lisa, Kneggs and Gary Anderson. An extra special thank you to Lisa Kneggs for the additional time spent making Thursday night’s event outstanding!

Watch the AFLA Conference 2011 San Diego Wrap Up Video:

2011 Fleet Hall of Fame Inductees Announced at AFLA Conference

by Lauren Fletcher

Automotive Fleet and the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) are proud to announce seven new inductees into the Fleet Hall of Fame. The inductees for this year were announced at the 2011 AFLA Conference in San Diego, CA on September 15. The Fleet Hall of Fame is sponsored by AFLA and is presented by Automotive Fleet magazine

The Hall of Fame was instituted to recognize fleet industry leaders and pioneers who have contributed significantly to the commercial fleet management profession, Hall of Fame inductees must have fleet careers spanning 10 years or more and are selected by peers in an online ballot.

Fleet Hall of Fame Inductees for 2011

Ken Battinger

Ken Baittinger
Automotive Resources International (ARI)
Dates in Fleet: 1960-2007

Baittinger’s diverse experience at ARI spanned 47 years and ranged from frontline customer service and operations to sales, before his promotion to executive management. In 1990, he played a vital role when he served as general manager for one year for an acquired company, Lend Lease Corporation, as it was integrated into ARI. He retired from ARI in 2004 as senior VP of operations. He developed ARI’s quality assurance program, Partners In Excellence, as a tool to ensure everyone at ARI continues to put clients first in all things. Baittinger also brought the first nationwide license renewal service to the industry.

Shirley Collins

Shirley Collins, CAFM
Dates in Fleet: 1986-Present

Before earning the title of AF’s Professional Fleet Manager of the Year in 2000, Collins was a nominee for the award consecutively from 1997-1999. She has also served as a panel judge in the years following her recognition. Collins is a member of the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA), serving as a 2010 board member, in addition to being an active member of NAFA. She received her CAFM designation in 1996. During her time with GlaxoSmithKline, she achieved year-over-year savings through process improvements and automation, policy revisions, and selector streamlining. She has also successfully integrated fleets in major mergers and many smaller acquisitions and created a comprehensive driver safety program.

George Kilroy

George Kilroy
Dates in Fleet: 1976 - Present

Kilroy began his career at PHH Arval in 1976 and held various roles in sales, client relations, marketing, equipment leasing, and senior leadership. He was named president and CEO in 2001 and in 2007 was appointed Chairman of AALA after serving as the organization’s president for three years. Under his leadership, PHH Arval has repeatedly been recognized for advancements in technology, outstanding customer service, and corporate citizenship. His pioneering spirit is evident in the many innovations PHH has brought to the marketplace during his tenure as CEO, such as the industry’s first environmental program, telematics solution, driver mobile program, and violations management program. Kilroy was also responsible for the partnership between PHH Arval and the Environmental Defense Fund in 2006 to improve the environmental performance of commercial fleets.

Bob Martines

Bob Martines
Corporate Claims Management (CCM)
Dates in Fleet: 1977-Present

Martines began his fleet career in 1977 with SALEX Fleet Specialists. He initially conceived, developed, and implemented the concept of accident management in the fleet industry in 1979. He conceived, helped create, and oversees the perpetual development of CCM’s FleetGuard Safety Management Program and has made numerous presentations for NAFA, AFLA, and RIMS in areas of accident management, subrogation recovery practices, vehicle remarketing, and the pros and cons of insurance in fleet. He has served as a member of the New Jersey NAFA board since 1987, holding several chair positions. He previously served on NAFA’s National Educational Committee as an instructor in the estimating/accident repair module and served on the editorial committee for the Fleet Executive magazine. Martines received NAFA’s “Outstanding Chapter Service Award” in May of 2003 and various awards and honors from regional organizations for dedication and service.

Ray Fisher

Ray Fisher
Chrysler Corp. / Donlen Corp. (Retired)
Dates in Fleet: 2000-Present

Fisher enjoyed a 33-year career at Chrysler, culminating with his role as VP of sales, service, and parts operations. His accomplishments include the restructuring and expansion of Chrysler fleet, transitioning and introducing Sprinter as a Dodge, successfully introducing RWD sedans and two Dodge police vehicles, development of Chrysler’s Certified Pre-Owned program, establishing a small commercial fleet dealer network, forming Chrysler’s first Client Advisory Board, and bringing Chrysler’s current fleet leaders into fleet operations. He is also credited with being the driver behind separating the annual NAFA and AFLA meetings.

Jim McCarthy

Jim McCarthy
Siemens Corp.
Dates in Fleet: 1984-Present

McCarthy has been a Siemens employee for 27 years and responsible for Siemens’ fleet management for the past 18 years. He is a founding member and organizer of Siemens Shared Services organization, developing a business model within a shared services environment whereby the division sold its services to other Siemens companies and joint ventures. Using this business model as a foundation, the division grew the Siemens fleet from 1,100 vehicles in 1993 to its current level of 15,500. Siemens was a “Top Plus” finalist (a Siemens “global” business competition) in 2005 for initiatives that netted one Siemens operating company $12.5 million in savings over three years (2002-2005). Additionally, McCarthy is a long-standing member of Siemens Global Procurement Board, which has been responsible for generating significant global overrides for Siemens companies worldwide. McCarthy has been a NAFA Fleet Management Association member for 15 years, an AFLA member for 10 years, and has served on its Board of Directors and is a current member of its Sounding Board. He has served on the Wheels Steering Council as well as Ford’s Fleet Advisory Board and Chrysler Advisory Board. McCarthy was named AF’s Professional Fleet Manager of the Year in 2005.

Gary Rappeport

Gary Rappeport
Donlen Corp.
Dates In Fleet: 1986-Present

Rappeport’s focus on employee and customer satisfaction, corporate social responsibility, and environmental consciousness has put Donlen in the forefront of workplace excellence. Named Executive of the Year at the 2009 American Business Awards, Rappeport was honored for his many industry achievements, including Donlen’s exponential growth during his tenure as CEO. Rappeport’s focus extends beyond Donlen to the industry as a whole. In 2010, he was accepted as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) for spearheading the industry-wide CGI Commitment to Action titled “Commercial Fleet 20-Percent GHG Emissions Reduction.” In collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund, Rappeport has committed significant Donlen resources over the next five years to help companies, vendors, and suppliers reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the fleet industry.

Fleet Hall of Fame Background

The Hall of Fame was established in 2008 with 20 founding members, That same year, an additional 10 honorees were selected by the industry through online voting.

In 2009, nine new members were inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in a special ceremony at the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association's (AFLA) annual meeting. In 2010, eight new members were inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame.

Marking the fourth year of this recognition program, seven inductees were selected for 2011.
Going forward, the number of annual inductees will decrease by one each year, until three are installed in 2015. Thereafter, three honorees will be inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame at AFLA’s annual conference.

Click below to view the inductees from previous years and bios of this year's nominees:

Best Buddies Update

Team Audi

by Paul Kasbar, San Leandro Nissan, Hyundai & Kia

As mentioned in our previous newsletter, Paul Kasbar participated in another Best Buddies Hearst Castle Challenge this year. Riding on Team Audi, the team raised a total of $73,000 for the developmentally handicapped for the one day 100 mile cycling event.

Thanks to Audi of America, the other sponsors, teams and the dedicated volunteers this year’s event raised a total of $4.5 million for our well deserving Buddies!

Paul and Teri Hatcher

“It was another fabulous event this year. As in the past, Team Audi had their dinner Friday night and handed out team jerseys.” The start of the 100 mile ride was kicked off early Saturday morning in Carmel Valley by Anthony and Maria Shriver as well as our own team captain, Jeffrey Jacobsen from Audi’s Western Regional Sales office. Carl Lewis (pictured in the Team Audi photo), nine time Gold Medal Olympian, was also on hand as he has been for several years.

The day couldn’t have been finer with 70 degree temperatures, stunning views of the Big Sur coastline and excellent support along the route. The ride concluded with lunch beachside in San Simeon.

The day was capped off with a huge party that evening at the Hearst Ranch situated just below the Hearst Castle. “It’s actually quite amazing that after riding 100 miles people were ready to party!” There was a make your own margarita bar, a martini bar and a gigantic spread of incredible food.  Smash Mouth provided the musical entertainment. There were a few celebrities on hand such as Teri Hatcher from Desperate Housewives, pictures here with Paul.

“The whole event is filled with great positive energy and a real sense of community and purpose. I plan on participating in this event for as long as I am able.”

Register Today for the Upcoming Webinar Series with Richard Alaniz

Richard Alaniz

Richard D. Alaniz is senior partner at Alaniz and Schraeder, a national labor and employment law firm based in Houston, TX. He has been at the forefront of labor and employment law for more than 30 years. He was a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor and served on the President’s Cost of Living Council during the Nixon Administration.

Join him for a three-part webinar series this fall/winter.

Registration is now open, and more details will be coming soon.

  • October 5: How safe are you from your company’s drivers? Under the theory of negligent entrustment, companies are liable for accidents.

  • November 9: The advantages and pitfalls of monitoring your employees.

  • December 7: Equal employment opportunity commission (EEOC): Practical tips for improving your response to harassment in the workplace.

Remarketing Update: A Slight Uptick in Sales Conversion

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: Detroit Made

by Jim McCarthy, Siemens Shared Services LLC (With a little help from Rick Nicoletti)

Jim McCarthy
"I was listening to John Hiatt’s latest album flying home from the AFLA conference in San Diego. After hearing Steven Ratner talk about the restructuring of Chrysler and GM, one song on the album really hit home – 'Detroit Made.' It got me thinking about all the great songs that have been made about cars built in Detroit. While on the plane I created a list of 10 or 11 songs. When I got back to the office on Monday, I emailed Jim McCarthy and of course he immediately filled my list to 20 songs. So enjoy our 'Detroit Made' list of car songs." ~ Rick Nicoletti

AFLA LinkedIn Discussion Group: At Your Service!

by Mark Petersen

Mark Petersen

You may not be aware that AFLA has a valuable resource available to you on LinkedIn: The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association  Discussion Group.  Now you may ask, “Why is this so valuable to me?”  I’m glad you asked!

As with many discussion groups available on LinkedIn, our discussion group is there for you to network with your peers and service providers in one convenient forum.  Right now, there are over 200 people that participate as members of the group.  And the group is growing every day!  What makes our group special is the members.

The group can be used by its members to post questions on matters of importance to you.  Looking for advice on cell phone usage policies?  Post and watch the feedback you get.  Looking to hire for an open position?  Post it here!  Are you organizing a regional meeting (on fleet) and looking to increase your attendance?  Post it on this discussion group and increase your audience!  About the only limitation here is that there are no sales pitches allowed.  Right now our featured discussion is about the recently concluded AFLA Conference in San Diego.  We are looking for valuable feedback from everyone that attended.  This information will be forwarded to next year’s conference committee (by the way, that’ll be in San Antonio, TX!) as an additional planning resource.

Of course, if you aren’t using LinkedIn, you can’t get access to our group or any of the other very valuable resources that are available out there.  So you’ve got to ask yourself, what I am missing if everyone in the industry is participating and you are not.  If you would like to learn more, let the AFLA Spec Sheet know if you’d like us to do an article on LinkedIn!

The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association Discussion Group can be found by using this link:

Auto Recall:
What Was Your First Car?

by Kaki Langford, FleetStreet Remarking

Kaki Langford

This is one heck of a spoiled brat story, and before I start I want to let you know that I have always been a CAR GIRL!  Nice, fast cars have always been my love. So here goes…

In 1985 and I was 15 years old. All I did was beg and plead for a fast car.  I left pictures on toilet seats, razors, counter tops, make-up bags, refrigerators, and even truck seats.  I wanted a 1986 Red Mustang GT so bad that I became obsessed.  

One day our neighbor drove up the driveway in his daughters’ 1966 Red Convertible Mustang.  So my mind had been changed…. I wanted that car so bad.  I cried, I whined and I pleaded.  He was selling it for $4,000 and I told my parents that I would do anything to have that car!  A couple of months went by and my 16th birthday came and went.  NO CAR!  

I was staying after school one hot September day for hockey practice and I got a note sent down to the field that I had to leave right away and head to my parent’s office.  I just knew I was in trouble.  So of course I walked in with an attitude and said “what did I do now, and I can’t believe you took me from hockey practice”.  Well when I finally finished running that mouth of mine, I was asked to go out to the shop that my Uncle wanted to have a word with me. Well there he was leaning on a brand new 1986 Mustang LX with his arms crossed and I just knew I was in serious trouble... My blonde moment finally passed and I realized that the car he was leaning on was ALL MINE!

So he filled up the tank and told me to be home by 9:00.  I left with the music full blast with the biggest smile on my face.  I realized that day that my family truly loved me and I was such a brat!

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


In Memoriam: Scott Okun (1959-2011)
Founding Spec Sheet Staff Member

Thank you, Sponsors!




Donlen Corporation
U.S. Bank – "Proud Owners of the Voyager Network"
Volvo Cars of North America, LLC
Wheels, Inc.
Wright Express