Changing Habits After Fleet Success Summit

By Joe Free, Senior Product Manager, RTA

The Fleet Success Summit turned out to be a remarkable experience for me. Like other fleet conferences, there were fleet professionals discussing fleet challenges, issues, and solutions. However, in addition to discussing three of the four pillars of Fleet Success I’ve seen addressed at previous industry events – Stakeholder Satisfaction, Resource Efficiency, and Risk Management — this conference also added Intentional Culture (the fourth pillar).

This addition brought in the best ideas about how to create an environment to solve the issues businesses face. All four pillars work together to result in a successful fleet, and the speakers addressed these, each in their own way. The audience – including myself — was engaged and even emotionally impacted.

Here are just a few quotes from some speakers that really resonated with me:

  • Brett Gilliland: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” … “Working IN the business vs Working ON the business.” … “The best leaders build the best businesses and the best businesses win.”
  • Marc Rogers: “Teamwork is key. The most effective predator is the wild dog, because it is on a team.” … “What creates fear? Change. Use change to transform. Intentional change – disrupt yourself rather than be disrupted by others. Change is inevitable – use it to improve.”
  • Mike Pitcher: “The Seven Elements of Leadership: Laugh, Learn, Listen, Language, Lagniappe, Legacy, Love.” … “60% of U.S. workers have not heard ‘good job’ from their manager in the last 90 days.” … “Be the one that changes.”… “100% avoidable accidents.”
  • Sam Bradford: “Your vibe attracts your tribe.” … “Life gets better when you get better.” …“A.R.E. – Appreciation, Recognition, Encouragement: Use as often as you want, it costs you nothing.”
  • Steve Saltzgiver: “Stakeholders are people.” … “Relationships are the most important — be proactive, keep promises, let them know you care, look for opportunities to satisfy their needs.”
  • Facundo Tassara: “If you are staying the same you are behind.” … “If data isn’t actionable it is worthless.”… “Seek the greatest output for the least input – then improve it.”
  • Paul Lauria: “Fleet management is going to change more in the next 10 years than in the last 100 years.”
  • Ed Smith: “Get the right people on the bus and in the right seats.” … “What we accept is what we can expect.”
  • Kristen Hadeed: “Only 4 in 10 people believe their leader cares about them.” …“Connection, feedback, empowerment.”


One measure of the success of an event is if those participating change because of it. Here is the change I made as a result of this conference.

One of the early speakers was Michael Braband. In addition to talking about the courage in his family, he mentioned Pam O’Donnell and her tragic experience. A distracted driver killed her husband and daughter. Now, Pam – who attended the conference — desires to help prevent others from going through what she has.

Later, Jeff Jenkins shared the story of a trucking company he led and the steps they went through to become safer and minimize their risk. After all the time and expense the company went through to improve their safety, one day one of their drivers came over a hill with the sun in his eyes and ran into a vehicle and killed a person. The driver had been randomly drug tested a few days earlier and passed, but at the time of the accident, he had cocaine in his system. Because of his actions, the entire company lost its jobs, and a person lost their life.

Mike Pitcher then drilled home the concept that 100% of accidents caused by distracted driving are avoidable.

As I got in my car after the first day of the Fleet Success Summit, I had two phone calls to make.  I backed out of the parking lot and started to drive, reaching for my phone to make the calls.  The memory of the discussions from that day about 100% avoidable accidents echoed in my mind.  I pulled over, made the two phone calls, and then put the phone away.  I have not used a phone while driving since then.  I don’t want to be part of an avoidable accident.

Now I am staying safe on the roads and am looking forward to next year’s conference!


About the Author: Joe is a Senior Product Manager at RTA. When he’s not focused on making the RTA system the best it can be for our users, he enjoys spending time with his family and grandkids.


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