Tag Archives: 100 best fleets

Green Garage Winners’ Best Practices for Environmentally-Friendly Fleet Maintenance & Operation

Last year, the NC Clean Energy Technology Center (NCCETC), No Spill Systems, RinseKit and the United Soybean Board sponsored The 100 Best Fleets launch of their new Green Garage Contest. The contest was created to bring together the most progressive and environmentally-committed fleets to share the best practices for eco-friendly vehicle fleet maintenance garages. 

At the end of the Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference, the NCCETC hosted a webinar where the winners of the 2020 Green Garage Contest were announced and shared the innovative and simple ways they “green the maintenance garage” through operations improvements and cost savings. The webinar was originally held December 9, 2020 and full videos and transcripts are available for all of the conference’s sessions online

Tom C. Johnson, author of the Green Fleet Awards, the Green Garage Contest and The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas, is the Director of the Green Garage Contest. The winners of the contest are the “best of the best stewards of the environment” Johnson said. 

AND THE WINNER IS… 

The City of Tulsa, Oklahoma was recognized as the Green Garage’s 2020 number one fleet for integrating recycling into their Learning With a Wrench (LWW) internship program. LWW allows students in Union Public Schools to work with City of Tulsa employees who maintain the City’s fleets of trucks, cars, backhoes and other large equipment to gain hands-on vehicle maintenance experience. 

“Oklahoma had an excellent discussion of parts cleaning processes, products used, auditing by the stay and their fluid containment practices,” noted Courtney Boznic, chief judge of the Green Garage Contest.

Through the recycling training, both students and technicians learned to be more aware of the materials used and which ones could be reused or recycled. The first exercise students were given was to create a device to collect oil from quart bottles so that the bottles can be recycled and the oil can be reused to heat the shop during cooler temperatures. 

The Mechanical Shop Supervisor and Instructor of LWW, Gary Burr, has mentored over 100 high school students with the City, two of which were hired as technicians. “The oil collection devices built by the students were dispersed through the shop to help each one of the technicians remember to recycle,” Burr explained.

Burr also worked with technicians and students to find the best location for recycling bins in the shop. The technicians were encouraged to be much more mindful of the waste oil, plastic, paper and cardboard they handled to ensure it was not just thrown away. “Shop-wide participation in recycling improved,” he noted. 

SECOND PLACE

The University of California Irvine’s National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) was recognized as the number one Green University Fleet in North America for its research on electric buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Jack Brouwer, a professor at Irvine and the Director of NFCRC 

Jack Brouwer is a professor at the University of California Irvine and the Director of NFCRC. In a study that compared a 2015 electric hydrogen fuel cell bus with 2018 electric battery buses, the fuel cell bus not only had shorter fueling times, but a longer mile range and higher passenger capacity. While electric battery buses can be more efficient for shorter-range use, fuel cell buses are still a comparable alternative to diesel. 

Hydrogen is also essential for the electric grid’s transition away from non-renewable energy sources. Due to vulnerabilities in solar and wind power, Brouwer explains, only hydrogen is capable of the magnitude of energy storage required for transitioning the grid to 100 percent renewable energy sources. Not only do batteries lack the storage capacity required for seasonal changes, but the lithium and cobalt required to manufacture them are some of the most expensive and trickiest elements to extract.

“There’s just not enough lithium cobalt around to make batteries of the magnitude that we need for accomplishing this energy storage,” Brouwer said. “Hydrogen, on the other hand, can be made from water and renewable electricity.”

Through research, beta-testing, market dynamics and education, the NFCRC is bridging fuel cell technology development and its successful introduction into the marketplace to accelerate its deployment. 

THE 2020 GREEN GARAGE’S TOP 10 FLEETS:

  1. City of Tulsa, Oklahoma
  2. University of California, Irvine
  3. University of California, Davis
  4. Westerville Schools in Ohio
  5. City of Vancouver, Washington
  6. City of Roanoke, Virginia
  7. City of Albany Georgia
  8. Laketran Ohio
  9. West Valley Construction in California
  10. Essential Utilities Company in Pennsylvania

To learn more about best practices from the top performing fleets, the entire December 9 webinar is available to watch online. This free session features operations and facility strategies and techniques from these top performing fleets, providing need-to-know information and comprehensive commitment to green vehicle maintenance.

Top 3 Fleets Best Practices Webinar

The winners of the 2019 edition of the 100 Best Fleets were announced last month! See the winners here.

On May 29 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., hear what the top three fleets did to distinguish themselves among 38,000 public fleets in North America. Learn their best practices you can use immediately in your own operation. We only learn from the best. Also, learn about the emerging technologies they use to do-more-with-less.

This information is intended for the entire team to listen in.

Find out where you compare to the very best-of-the-best.

Register now here.

This exclusive one-time-only webinar has limited space. Please RSVP at your earliest convenience.

Note: The 2019 edition of the Green Fleet Awards will open for nominations in June. The winners will be announced on August 06, 2019 as a pre-conference event for the 2019 Sustainable Fleet Technology Conference & Expo in Durham, NC. See 100BestFleets.com and sustainablefleetexpo.com for details.

Webinar: Top Three Green Fleet Award Winners 2018

Ron Wirth, Fleet Advance Planning and Sustainability Manager, Fleet Services Division, County of Sacramento, California (right) accepting the #1 winner award for the 2018 Green Fleet Awards at the Sustainable Technology Conference in Durham, NC on August 21, 2018. The award was presented by Tom C. Johnson (left), Author, The Green Fleet Awards.

 

***In case you missed it: the webinar is still viewable anytime for free here!***

Learn from the top 3 Green Fleet Award winners for 2018 out of a possible 38,000 public fleets in North America by tuning in to a free webinar, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, October 30.

Join us to get the straight story on the methods and technologies that work for the top Green Fleets! You will learn how the fleets were able to get funding for alternative fuel vehicles as well as the infrastructure to support them. They will also present the ROIs for their projects. These are tools, tips and strategies that you can use in your operation the next day.

Learn more about the Green Fleet Awards here, and register for the webinar here.

Learn about the top Green Fleet Award winners & webinar presenters:

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (#1) – Keith Leech Sr.

Keith Leech Sr. currently leads Sacramento County‘s Fleet Division and Parking Enterprise. The County of Sacramento is recognized as a trailblazer in implementing renewable fuels and innovative fleet technology projects driven by strategic business planning processes and data driven decisions.  Sacramento County’s fleet was recognized as the #1 Green Fleet in 2018 and among Government Fleet’s Leading Fleets and 100 Best Fleets for the last three consecutive years.  Keith was inducted into the Public Fleet Hall of Fame in 2017 by Government Fleet Magazine and APWA and received NAFA’s 2014 Fleet Excellence Awards for Excellence in Public Fleet Sustainability and Excellence in Fleet Leadership. Keith currently serves as Chairman of the Northern California Chapter of the Municipal Equipment Maintenance Association and NAFA’s Government Affairs Committee. He also serves as President of the Sacramento Clean Cities Coalition.

CITY OF SACRAMENTO (#2) – Mark Stevens

Mark Stevens has served as Fleet Manger for the City of Pompano Beach, FL; Asheville, NC; and the City of Sacramento, CA. He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. For 20 years at the City of Pompano Beach, FL, Mark established a state of the art Fleet Management operation comprising fleet operation software, fuel management software, and complete operational procedures. Customers included Police, Fire, Public Works, Utilities Parks & Recreation and assorted support divisions. As Fleet Manager with the City of Asheville, NC, Mark was instrumental in upgrading the city’s CNG public access fueling site as well as establish a time fill CNG station for the increased use of CNG for its Sanitation Department solid refuse fleet. He augmented the city’s alternative fuel vehicle program to help reduce the city’s overall carbon footprint. Currently, Mark is Fleet Manager of the City of Sacramento, committed to continuing the award winning Fleet model for #1 Best Government Fleet and #1 Green Fleets, committed to promote the city’s Sustainable Fleet initiatives.

DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA (#18/100 BEST FLEETS # 1 WINNER) – Robert Gordon

Robert Gordon, Fleet Director for Dekalb County, Georgia (left) receives his award as the #1 winner of The 100 Best Fleets in the Americas at the NAFA I&E Conference in Anaheim, California on April 27, 2018 from Tom C. Johnson, Author of The 100 Best Fleets contest (right). Photo credit: Ken Hunter, NAFA.

Robert Gordon is the Deputy Director of the Fleet Management Department for DeKalb County Georgia. He has 31 years of professional work experience in the Fleet Management industry with 17 years of government fleet experience and 14 years of experience with truck leasing organizations. Robert earned an Associate’s Degree in Business Management, a Certificate of Public Works Management and an Advanced Certificate of Public Works Management through the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. He graduated from DeKalb County Government’s Bright Futures Emerging Executive Leaders Program. He is on the board of directors for Clean Cities Georgia. DeKalb County Fleet Management has placed in the Top 10 of the 100 Best Fleet for the last 5 years. Under his direction, DeKalb County Fleet Management achieved 1st place in the 100 Best Fleet Award in 2018. Robert also received the 2018 FLEXY award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Fleet Management from NAFA Fleet Management Association. He serves on advisory committees at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Warren Tech, Southern Crescent Tech, Whitfield County Career Academy, and Atlanta Metropolitan College. He is also an active member in many organizations including 100 Best Fleet, Green Fleet, NAFA, Georgia Motor Trucking Association, American Public Works Association, Georgia Municipal Association, Clean Cities Georgia, Southeast Diesel Collaborative, and Southeast Governmental Fleet Managers Association.

Posted by Nicole Deck

100 Best Fleets series: Wake County

Wake County Government General Services Administration Fleet Operations displays its 100 Best Fleets awards since 2010.

The goals of Wake County’s fleet are the same as most: to carry out productive, safe, efficient and sustainable service at the lowest cost possible.

But the smartest and most successful way to achieve that goal, they have found, is by implementing new technology to continuously track data and uncover information.

“It doesn’t appear to be moving fast, but there’s a lot going on,” said Fleet Director Thomas Kuryla as he walked around the vehicle shop at Wake County General Services Center. “Even on slow days when there isn’t a lot of mechanical work, there’s a lot of planning and data analysis.”

Wake County has been on the 100 Best Fleets list every year since 2010, once placing number three out of the country.

There are about 1,000 vehicles in the fleet, including cars, trucks, trailers and boats, with emergency response vehicles representing half.

About 60 vehicles run on diesel, and 20 run on B20 biodiesel, Kuryla said. 400 of their vehicles are E85 compatible. Wake County hasn’t purchased new hybrid or electric vehicles in about 3 years, but around 50 hybrid vehicles are currently in the fleet.

Wake County EMS truck is lifted for maintenance repairs.

Out of the 1,000 vehicles and 200 that are serviced, there are a total of 10 mechanics.

“Our vehicles are in good enough shape that we don’t need as many,” Kuryla said.

Wake County has a preventative maintenance program in place that averts as many repairs. Vehicles are also sold with less mileage than most fleets. Many fleets keep their vehicles too long, Kuryla said, which means they’re stuck in the shop more for repairs, resulting in more downtown for drivers.

“By keeping our vehicles ahead of the game, we provide more service than other fleets out there,” Kuryla said. “People will say, ‘No, we can’t afford a new car…’ They need to think long-term and look at the big picture.”

Maintenance in the fleet is also done swiftly.

“At some places, the vehicles will spend two weeks in repair,” Kuryla said. “Here, they wait and leave — they’re working on it within 15 minutes and they’re out in less than an hour unless it’s a major repair.”

Kuryla has been Wake County Fleet Director since 2002, and he has orchestrated and seen many changes. One of the first adjustments Kuryla recommended was to transform and redesign the service and parts departments so that they were connected, and could communicate openly as a team.

“In a lot of industries, they’re battling each other,” Kuryla said. “We really wanted them to be teamed together.”

Kuryla said a big success Wake County’s fleet has had is with telematics, a system that collects data from vehicles when they’re on the road to improve efficiency. Telematics tracks the vehicles’ locations, miles per hour, time spent idling, starting or stopping too fast, whether or not the driver is wearing his or her seatbelt, and more. Drivers will be alerted with a beep when going beyond their limits, and supervisors are also automatically notified in some instances.

When telematics was first installed on the vehicles, drivers were getting a lot of beeps, Kuryla said. It didn’t take long for that to reduce considerably.

Wake County Sheriff vehicle.

Additional upgrades and changes are still to come.

Recently, the fleet introduced reusable oil filters, which increase the life of oil and keep them from ending up in a landfill. The reusable filters were put on 20 vehicles and tested for over a year. Kuryla plans to have all of their vehicles transitioned within 6 months.

The oil is also tracked with software that automatically changes intervals and notifies departments when the oil needs changing.

This year, they plan to introduce a drive over tread depth tire reader, which will generate data on the pressure and alignment, measuring the tread depth of each tire to decide whether or not it should be replaced.

Kuryla said the biggest challenge for their fleet is a common one — making advancements within the budget.

“We try to do our research and data analysis to justify why we want to do something,” Kuryla said. “Like the oil filters. Saying ‘I want to spend $75,000 buying filters’ – someone would say, ‘You’re crazy.’ But we just spent a whole year testing and found that we’ll have that buyback very quick.”

Kuryla suggests when trying to implement changes for a fleet, it’s helpful to talk to those who will be affected by asking their suggestions and opinions. For example, the new tire depth reader is talked about openly in the shop on purpose, Kuryla said. He hopes to increase interest and encourage discussion. When the oil filters were implemented, the mechanics openly discussed their experience and then helped come up with a better system.

“Get buy-in for everything you do.” Kuryla said. “Ask what would you like? What would make your job better? Get them involved. ”

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