You'll notice a little greater focus on the September AFLA Conference beginning with this issue of Spec Sheet. We're a little more than four months out from the conference. The Conference Committee has been working diligently to provide the members with an informative and educational experience. The Spec Sheet staff will do our best in upcoming issues to highlight speakers and topics for the conference.
Speaking of the Spec Sheet staff, we have added two new members to the Communications Committee and the newsletter staff. Doreen Paris and Caroline Costello from VW have joined the Communications Committee. The Spec Sheet "old guys" – Mike, Mark, Ross and me – welcome the addition of Doreen and Caroline to the committee and the Spec Sheet staff. Nicki also likes the addition – she was getting tired of dealing with the "old guys!"
One last thought: Do you want to save a few dollars? You can save $50 on your conference registration if you register before July 10, 2012. You know you're going to attend the conference, so why not register today and save a few dollars?
We are just under five short months away from our annual conference, Innovation: Shaping Our Future for Growth. I am anxiously awaiting this, one of the premier educational opportunities the in Fleet community. Tom Callahan will share more on the Conference Committee’s progress in his letter. Make sure our conference is on your calendar and in the budget.
As you know, AFLA is continually looking for ways to provide value to its members. We do so directly throughout the year with webinars and white papers and annually at our conference. This year, AFLA was approached by Bobit Business Media to endorse the first-ever Fleet Safety Conference, May 22-23, 2012 in Schaumburg, IL. With the educational interest of our members in mind, we agreed to do so. I recently had an opportunity to review the agenda and speakers. I am truly impressed at the comprehensiveness and applicability of the topics. I am equally impressed with the level of knowledge and industry experience of the speakers and presenters. If you have the budget and time to dedicate to a second conference this year, second to our annual conference of course, this would be a fantastic educational opportunity.
I look forward to seeing everyone in San Antonio in September.
I’m very pleased to report much progress has been made getting a high quality speaker program in place for our upcoming AFLA conference in San Antonio, Texas, Monday-Wednesday, September 10-12.
We have identified and are currently finalizing contracts with seven of eight speakers allotted for the conference and I will be sharing more with you on this in upcoming issues of Spec Sheet. It’s shaping up to be a most informative, timely and provocative agenda!
One speaker I can highlight is best-selling author and entrepreneur Josh Linkner, who will be speaking Wednesday morning, September 12.
A brief snapshot of Josh’s background and accomplishments:
Josh Linkner is The New York Times bestselling author of Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity, named one of the top 10 business books of 2011. Josh is the CEO and Managing Partner of Detroit Venture Partners. Together with business partners Earvin “Magic” Johnson and NBA team owner Dan Gilbert, Josh is actively rebuilding urban areas through technology and entrepreneurship. Josh is also Adjunct Professor of Applied Creativity at the University of Michigan.
Josh is the Founder, Chairman and former CEO of ePrize, the largest interactive promotion agency in the world providing digital marketing services for 74 of the top 100 brands.
Prior to ePrize, Josh was the founder and CEO of three other successful technology companies. He has been honored as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and is a President Barack Obama Champion of Change award recipient. Josh is a regular columnist for Fast Company and Inc. Magazine, and his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, and The New York Times. Josh is also a Berklee-trained professional jazz guitarist performing regularly in jazz clubs throughout the United States.
We’re very proud to have Josh speak at our conference – he has proven relevance to this year’s theme: Innovation – Shaping Our Future for Growth.
Be sure and join us for Josh’s presentation and to connect with your AFLA colleagues in San Antonio!
Details for the Pete Z Golf Scramble Have Arrived!
Hill Country Golf Club
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
1:00 – 6:00 PM Cost: $120/person* *Included in cost: green fees, range balls, and cart fee
If you are interested in golfing, simply select the Golf Scramble option on your registration form. Club rentals are available for $50 (to be paid to the course directly). Please make sure to indicate your rental needs on the registration form to ensure availability.
The Hill Country Golf Club meets all the standards of a truly great golf San Antonio golf resort course. The course is a beautiful, dramatic and balanced 27-hole facility designed by the nationally acclaimed golf course architectural firm, Arthur Hills and Associates. Set on 200 acres, our San Antonio golf resort has a wide-ranging terrain with rolling meadows, steep hillsides, wooded ravines and tree-shaded plateaus, as well as the tranquil threat of lakes and ponds.
New Member Profile:
Boral's Linda Ellis Learns from the Past and Prepares for the Future
New AFLA member Linda Ellis manages Boral Industries Inc.’s light and heavy fleet. And as the company’s corporate procurement coordinator, she also leads sourcing and contract negotiations for operations and sales staff. A 10-year fleet veteran, Linda was previously a financial analyst for UPS-Supply Chain Solutions.
A mother of four, Linda takes kickboxing and loves to cook. “I’m also working on a degree in acquisition and mergers,” she said.
After joining AFLA in 2011, Linda has found that one of the greatest membership benefits is being able to understand how fleet and leasing decisions affect the industry as a whole.
“The only way you can determine if what you are doing promotes best value is to compare,” she pointed out. “AFLA provides some great opportunities to do just that. It’s a great venue to learn and be around peers that are in the industry.”
Boral’s units “run hard,” and Linda’s primary job is to procure multi-functional vehicles that are nice enough to carry a customer but tough enough to pull a straight truck out of a ditch.
“It’s important when I can hear from other fleet and leasing professional on best business practices that they have vetted and how it has changed them for the better,” Linda said.
Technology and Safety Drive Industry
According to Linda, technology and safety remain at the forefront of car manufacturing, and leasing and fleet companies continue to find new ways to meet Washington mandates to be greener and safer, all while petroleum-based prices continue to remain high. And as prices for petroleum-based products continue to creep up, Linda is sure the industry will see a shift in materials utilized.
“Safety is always number one, but power gets a lot of attention, so it’s really hard to say what the future holds,” she stated. “The smart fleet manager is the one who can gather the fleet data and learn from the past while preparing for the future.”
Linda sees the leasing industry as being healthier than a couple of years ago. “Hopefully, the market will sustain itself,” she concluded.
Collector Car Series
Scott Mayo's 1970 ½ Z28 RS
by Scott Mayo, Scotts MiracleGro
The exterior color is hugger orange with a black interior. My car was built the 1st week of July 1970 in Van Nuys California. The engine is a 350 cubic inch (5.7L) V-8 and the transmission is a Muncie 4-spd. It is a numbers matching car. This means that it has the original engine, transmission, differential and other major components that it left the Van Nuys factory with.
I am in the process of cleaning and repainting the engine and engine bay. I am also replacing the brake booster, master cylinder, brake lines and some of the wiring harnesses.
Here are a few facts about the 1970 Camaro:
1970 saw the introduction of the all new Second Generation Camaro. The 1st generation Camaro (1967 - 1969) was seen as a hasty response to the Ford Mustang. It was considered a compromise by some critics. There would be no compromises with this car. Due to production delays the 1970 Camaro was introduced in February 1970, half way into the production year. Because of this, some people will call the 1970 Camaro a 1970 1/2, but officially the car is a 1970 model year Camaro. Good things come to those who wait, and this car was met with rave reviews from nearly everyone. Chevrolet had a winner that would run for 12 years.
The "Z28 Special Performance Package" (RPO Z28) was not only positioned as the top Camaro performer, but it put its money where its mouth was. Designed to race in the SCCA Trans Am Series, the 1970 rules changes allowing for the 5.7L engine meant the Camaro was able to now use the 350 engine. The previous Z28's were limited to 302 cubic inches and were known to be temperamental on the street. The bigger engine also allowed an automatic transmission to be used in the Z28 for the 1st time. Due to the solid lifter, high revving cam, Air Conditioning was still not available on the Z28. With a stout drivetrain, including a mandatory 12 bolt rear axle, and a tuned suspension, the Z28 was a match for anything found on the street, or at the track.
Greg J. Janik's 2004 Mach1
by Greg Janik
Greg J. Janik, past president of AFLA, enjoys showing his Screaming Yellow Mach1 muscle car at classic car shows in the southeastern USA.
In October 2003, Greg was driving by an Atlanta area Ford dealership on his way home from the airport and spied a brand new bright yellow Mach1 Mustang sitting on the showroom floor. After checking the vehicle out, he found out the dealer wanted window sticker plus $1000! Having been a Ford Division employee in the past, he knew he would never pay over window sticker for anything so he wrote the deal off as unattainable. Eight months later, driving past the same dealership, he saw a brand new bright yellow Mach1 and went in to check it out. Much to his surprise, it was the same vehicle he looked at many months ago. This time the dealer was ready to make a deal and Greg bought it for personal use.
After driving it to and from work for about 18 months he ran into an old friend at Ford Division and told him about the Mach1 and asked if he could obtain production figures for 2004. He complied and Greg found out he had bought 1 of 139 2004 Screaming Yellow Mach1’s produced. He garaged the car and detailed it and took it to a local classic car show. In the first show it won a beautiful 2 foot high trophy for “Best Muscle Car.” In subsequent shows it has won many trophies and plaques and continues to be an eye grabber. Greg says “It is a great car to drive, very fast with its 4.8L SVT Cobra V8 with authentic shaker hood and straight pipes. It is truly an attention getter.”
Dave Hansen's 1946 Chevrolet Pickup
by Dave Hansen
Looking back on my love for automobiles, I always recall one of the best days of my life was the day I turned 16 and passed the test for my driver's license - - opening a new dimension in my life. Having just moved from New Jersey to Michigan, I took advantage of cruising Woodward Avenue with my high school buddies in a somewhat beat-up, but fun '57 Chevy convertible; wish I had that car today.
Along the way while working at GM for almost 40 years I developed an appreciation for design and was attracted to the art deco look of Chevy's mid-forties pick-up truck line. As these trucks were manufactured circa WW11 so the production was rather limited but of course the "Like a Rock" trucks seemed to survive in sufficient quantities for collectors...and to my surprise there was an abundance of refurbishment parts.
Our 46 truck "restoration" project intent was to maintain as much of the exterior appearance as possible while adding a port-injected 400hp Chevy small block engine, 4L80E transmission and a stout locking-rear axle; definitely more power and torque than the truck can reasonably handle but it's difficult to hold back on these things. One of the local shops in SE Michigan was contracted to do the work (frame-up rather than frame-off) including replacement of several body panels as well as an extensive interior renovation.
After relocating to South Florida a few years ago on a semi-retirement basis, the decision was easy to add A/C, electric power steering and a music system – so it's now a much better truck to use for local driving. People tend to smile and grin when they see it on the road...I hope they are not just laughing at me!
We also enjoy driving some of the cars in the garage; no trailer queens in this stable. These I collected as I was involved in their product development while working at GM: An '88 Fiero GT: The last and best year of production and a real joy to drive; a '93 Camaro Z28 Pace Car which is actually the very first one produced of a run of about 1500 units; finally our '96 Impala SS is close to my heart as I helped champion the project while I was chief engineer at Chevrolet.
As an interesting sidebar, when we bought our home in Tequesta, Florida one criteria was to have at least a three-car garage with a high ceiling so we could stack my four toys with the four post lifts which have become so popular...and have one stall open for Allie's daily driver. It is truly a great life in this part of the world. (You may also notice a '99 Harley Dyan Wideglide – had to sneak that one in.)
Of all the 20+ assignments I've had during my career, the one I miss the most is the GM Fleet experience. What a wonderful team at GM as well as an industry of interesting and exciting people, some of whom I consider as best friends yet today; I really miss the camaraderie and the challenges of this dynamic and eclectic group of personalities, but for some reason, I usually wake up with a much clearer head than when I was associated with fleet.
McCarthy’s Liner Notes: Top 30 iPod-based Beatle Covers
For the most part, the last few Liner Notes offerings have been "themed" tied to Thanksgiving (food), Christmas (holiday songs) and finally, music from the Academy Awards. So for this month I thought I would get back to basics.
Early on I did my favorite Bob Dylan covers...so for April I thought I would draw on that same theme and offer my Top30 iPOD-based Beatle covers. Enjoy!!!
Taking a trip on the way back machine, the first car I ever owned was a 1976 Mazda RX-4 four-door sedan. It had over 100,000 miles on it when I purchased it in 1983 for $600. At the time I was living in the City of Boston and my yearly insurance was $900. The RX-4 was Mazda’s first 4 door sedan with the largest rotary engine to date a 13B. The 1.3l (1308cc) Rotary Twin 13B produced 135hp with 132 Lb/Ft of torque; unfortunately it was not a very fuel efficient vehicle.
My RX-4 had a 4 speed manual transmission and a manual choke. For those wondering what a “choke” is, this car did not have electronic fuel injection but instead a manual choke which is a mechanical device that links a retractable knob in the driver's compartment, via a cable, to a metal plate inside the carburetor. The metal plate moves to increase or decrease the amount of intake air in order to provide the optimum fuel mixture for the engine. Effective use of a manual choke requires an understanding of the effects of temperature changes on fuel. In other words getting it going in the dead of winter was a challenge. The trick was spraying ether otherwise known as starter fluid directly into the carburetor. Thank goodness for today’s electronic fuel injection!
The heater, air conditioner, and AM radio did not work. Paint on the hood and roof were pretty much gone. Lots of rust on the fenders, they were not quite flapping in the breeze but almost. When it rained or snowed the holes in the floorboards had to be covered up with a rubber mat, otherwise you could get a face-full of muddy slush.
I know all the problems I’ve listed make it sound like a pretty awful vehicle; however, I did some modifications to make this a perfect Boston sleeper car. The first thing I did when I got it was I removed the “Thermal Reactor” which was the emission system used by Mazda and replaced it with a performance exhaust system or “headers” next came new shocks and springs to help in cornering. It was the perfect Boston car, everyone got out of my way because they thought I had nothing to lose.
Having a more open exhaust with a rotary means more backfires as the gases collect and ignite so my little flamethrower as it affectionately became known would produce quite a show during night driving – tailgaters would immediately back off.
Unfortunately, my car had a very sad end, I got a flat tire one day and as I was jacking it up to change the tire, the frame broke in two. The engine lived on however, my fiancé at the time had a 1979 RX-7 with a 12A engine, our thinking was bigger is better, so we replaced his 12A with my 13B Rotary (along with some additional porting). The rest of my RX-4 was towed off to a salvage yard.
In Memoriam: Scott Okun (1959-2011) Founding Spec Sheet Staff Member