Automotive Fleet Supplements

AFLA SPIRIT 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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cord attendance numbers, and an increased focus on safety. Before AFLA hired an Association management company, it was the responsibility of the executive vice president (EVP) to put together an agenda, work with AFLA Administrator Rose Finch to make the necessary arrangements with the hotel, emcee the event, and deal with any issues that arose. Te convention committee was crucial to the success of each meeting. "During my time as EVP, from 1984 to 1985, AFLA held its frst resort meeting at Tan-Tara-Resort at Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City," according to Greg Janik, EVP from 1984 to 1985 and AFLA president from 1985 to 1986. "It was defnitely a challenge to pull of. Contrary to the skeptics, it was a great success, boasting the highest attendance ever for a fall meeting, and was heavily sponsored." Tis was the beginning of AFLA's migration to resort meetings. In 1984, the AFLA conference attracted 375 attendees, topping the previous record of 336 who attended the Denver meeting in 1982. Informational sessions included dealerlevel service problems, increasing profts, decision-making methods, and legislative infuences on the market. During Janik's term as president, gold and black lapel/dress pins were introduced to the membership with unanimous acceptance. "I still see some of JANIK these pins proudly in use," Janik noted. "Additionally, AFLA members started receiving monthly copies of Automotive Fleet magazine, compliments of Bobit." Unfortunately, in 1985, there was a huge loss to the feet and leasing industry: Sam Lee, one of the pioneers in feet and leasing, passed away. He had started his automotive career in 1929. Te annual conference held in 1986 experienced a record number of attendees: 415 from 215 companies and included a keynote address by Douglas Fraser, former president of the United Auto Workers (UAW). One of the main reasons for the high attendance, according to Jim Rallo, was due to the fact that AFLA had positioned its Spring con- ference right ahead of the NAFA Fleet Management Association conference each year. 1988 heralded a change of the times: AFLA installed its frst female president, Helene Kamon, who, throughout her professional career, would work for Dealers CadiLease (later purchased by Union Leasing), Wendy's, and AmeriFleet. Te conference attracted 362 attendees for the threeday meeting. Increased sales from OEMs to feet, strategic business decisions, continued consolidation within the feet management industry, depressed pricing, and deteriorating returns were also reviewed. "Launching the '90s" was the theme of the 1990 meeting, with much discussion about the consolidation of FMCs through acquisitions and mergers. Changes in the industry were reviewed, and the feet management companies showed their newest innovations to conference attendees. Jim Conner was president of the Association from 1990 to 1991. He joined AFLA because of Tom Willie, then VP of transportation of Scot Lad Foods. "Tom was a close friend CONNER of my in-laws and had kept tabs on my career in the feet business before I moved to the Chicago area. I fnally took his advice and joined AFLA when I moved," Conner recalled. "Tom was one of the founders of AFLA and served as president during his membership. He was a great mentor and I truly appreciated his friendship. I was introduced to many of the industry's movers and shakers by Tom and Ann Willie." Conner said he enjoyed AFLA because it was a learning experience. "My work philosophy has always been to provide services that help my clients. AFLA allowed an exchange of ideas from the manufacturers, feet dealers, lessors, auctions, and used-car disposal dealers, which helped you better understand the intricacies of the industry," he said. According to Conner, during his presidency the advent of manufacturer dealer sub-codes was a major milestone for the feet dealer. "Tis enabled the lessor to order vehicles directly from the factory via a secondary dealer code from a franchised dealer," he explained. "Tis put a new wrinkle on how and who ordered feet vehicles. Many good feet dealers lost their volume business." Te 22nd annual conference, held in 1991, had more than 250 registered attendees, and the possibility for clean fuel in feet applications was presented in a seminar, prompted by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. "Safety – Survival – Quality – Communication – and You" was the theme of the 1992 conference, including sessions discussing an overview of feet and vehicle safety. Te 1993 conference focused on quality and management trends. Te future of feet management was discussed as well as industry trends, including globalization and the restructuring of industries, outsourcing of activities not related to a company's core business, and techniques to increase quality and productivity. During one of the AFLA presentations by Joel Schleicher, then president of Specialized Mobile Radio Division of Fleet Call, said: "Te nation is on the verge of a communication revolution, which will bring about the introduction of personal communicator devices, the size of a wristwatch, which would be voice activated." Weathering Technological Changes: 1994-2002 From growing technology to the frstever canceled conference due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Association continued to weather the challenges and help its members grow and survive. In 1994, issues discussed included ongoing warranty problems and maintenance solutions and how to negotiate a selector. Presented in 1995 and new to the conference lineup was a seminar on the Australian feet market. James Hofer was president of the Association from 1996 to 1997. "At the time of my presidency we did not have a professional management company handling our afairs," he recalled. "As it turned out, changing to our current system was, and is, an excellent decision." In 1996, attendees and exhibitors alike braved inclement weather and a leaky roof to participate and learn. Sessions included a discussion on "What's Right About Detroit — Where Does It Need Help?" Strengths, according to the session at the time, included small cars, light trucks, continuous improvements, and ethics. General sessions included a AUTOMOTIVE FLEET & LEASING ASSOCIATION ANNUAL REVIEW 2013 43

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