Thomas Huff, Precision Motor Transport Group, Williamston, MI

The winners of the inaugural Fleet Maintenance/Kansas University Scholarship Program

Oct. 12, 2012
Six scholarship recipients chosen from more than 40 entries

The winners of the newly created Fleet Maintenance/Kansas University (KU) Scholarship Program for the university's Maintenance Management Online Certificate Course have been selected. The annual program, sponsored by Michelin and WorkSafe USA, advances the cause of maintenance management - a critical component in fleet operations.

Applications for the scholarships came from across the nation, from people with various levels of experience. For those of us involved in the scholarship decisions, it was a most challenging task.

One thing all of those chosen for a scholarship had in common was a commitment to continual learning - a necessity for steady success in today's challenging business environment, a passion for our industry and the desire to help others advance their business skills, knowledge and careers.

The Recipients

Chosen from more than 40 entries, the scholarship winners are:

- Thomas Huff, Facility Manager, Precision Motor Transport Group (PMGT), Okemos, MI. With a fleet of approximately 300 trucks, the company provides premium automotive transport services throughout the Eastern Seaboard and interior of the U.S. Huff, who has worked for PMTG for the past nine years, was recently promoted to facility manager of the company's Williamston, MI, facility.

"I will take full advantage of this scholarship because I will be able to advance myself, my employees and my company," he said in his scholarship application. "Receiving this scholarship will help me make a contribution to society through the skills I will learn as I will be able to apply them to all the employees of my company."

- James Husted, Director of Maintenance, Garner Transportation Group, Findlay, OH. A family-owned and operated fleet of some 100 trucks, the company focuses on transporting general commodities regionally, east of the Mississippi River. Husted has been involved with vehicle maintenance for more than 30 years.

"I have learned that you can never have too much knowledge," he stated in his application. The scholarship "will help me get the tools I need to help move this company into the future and beyond. It will not only benefit myself, but will help me to mentor the others that I supervise. I would like everyone that comes through these doors to have a good example to follow."

- Gerald Mead, Vice President of Maintenance, PAM Transport, Tontitown, AR. The company provides nationwide dry van truckload, expedited truckload, intermodal and logistics services to the manufacturing, retail and automotive industries. Mead's involvement with vehicle maintenance spans 23 years.

In his application, Mead said he works to "pass on my continued learning to all I touch within and outside the fleet maintenance arena. I look to energize all of those around me and to empower them with any learned knowledge, not only to make my company better, but to also make the industry better as a whole, and by also setting an example for others to follow.

"As we look beyond tomorrow, one must continually improve their knowledge base to stay ahead of the advances, both in technology and in dealing with people, and develop an ever-changing management style.

"I would not have gotten to where I am today without solid mentors and the drive to continually work on my own self-development through education," Mead wrote in his scholarship application. "I look to continue this education and to pass it on to others so they may have the success I have enjoyed."

- Joe Murzynsky, Fleet Maintenance Manager, South Walton Fire District (SWFD), Rosa Beach, FL. The SWFD is responsible for fire protection, emergency medical services, public fire education and prevention duties for an 84-square-mile area within Walton County, Florida. Murzynsky, who has been with the SWFD since 2006, oversees a fleet of 15 emergency vehicles and eight staff vehicles.

In his application for the Fleet Maintenance/KU Scholarship, Murzynsky said his short-term goal "is to continually improve the fleet maintenance processes and procedures at SWFD to maintain the highest level of on-road safety, in-station safety and emergency vehicle reliability, readiness and performance, all within budgetary guidelines and in compliance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and DOT standards.

"My long-term goal is to help improve fleet maintenance throughout the fire industry, especially in smaller departments, where resources and funding are not as available as they can be for larger fire departments. I want SWFD's fleet maintenance department to be a leader in the fire industry so others can benefit from it.

"In order for me to continue to have valuable input," he went on, "I know that I have to continue to learn and grow. This scholarship opportunity would go a long way in helping SWFD and the safety and well-being of our community, along with fire service as a whole."

- Don Sunseri, Equipment Maintenance Supervisor, City of San Jose, San Jose, CA. San Jose, with an incorporated area of 179.8 square miles, is the largest city in the Bay Area, located roughly 50 miles south of San Francisco, and the third largest city in California, following Los Angeles and San Diego. Sunseri has been in the government/municipal fleet trade for 23 years.

In applying for the scholarship, he also noted the value of continuing education and the importance of taking advantage of opportunities for advancement.

Fleet maintenance is a "new environment where managers need to have the tools to operate an efficient fleet facility through the use of valuable data collection and sound management practices," he wrote. "In the electronic age, valuable data collection is endless, yet most managers lack the skills to collect or interpret the data where it is of use.

"I would value this opportunity to receive the scholarship in the hopes of acquiring the management tools necessary to assist our operation in moving to the next level in government fleet maintenance. My goal, and what I strive for daily as a manager, is to transform the government fleet environment into a business model where productivity, efficiency, hard work and being accountable to the tax payer are the expectations."

- Linda Vinson, Fleet Maintenance Manager, Caledonia Haulers, Caledonia, MN. The company transports bulk-liquid food products throughout the U.S. and Canada with a fleet of more than 190 units. Vinson became involved with the maintenance industry in 2000. She started reading job cards and doing data entry into a simple computer system and has worked her way up through the maintenance department to her current position by self-educating herself along the way.

"I am a very driven individual that is always looking to learn and observe new ways to advance our maintenance department to be the best it can be," wrote Vinson in her scholarship application. "I look forward to new challenges and feed off them to become better at my job.

"With every experience, I hope to secure my career in an always-changing industry and become involved with larger peer groups and networking with others to make recommendations to improve other companies' maintenance departments as well.

"Ultimately, I desire to be known for excellence in fleet maintenance management and for being one of the best women in this field."

The Online Course

The Maintenance Management Online Certificate Course is designed for all types of mobile fleets and maintenance environments. It is tailored to help those enrolled evaluate their maintenance operation; plan, coordinate and schedule maintenance; and properly use preventive and predictive maintenance in their operation.

Upon successful completion of the Maintenance Management Online Certificate Course, the scholarship recipients will be awarded a certificate by Kansas University and Fleet Maintenance documenting their specialized education and knowledge in maintenance management.

The instructor for the course is Joel Levitt, a leading trainer of maintenance professionals and the author of a column on management matters that appears regularly in Fleet Maintenance. Since 1980, he has been the president of Springfield Resources, a Lafayette Hill, PA-based management consulting firm that services clients of all sizes on a wide range of maintenance issues.

Complete details about the Maintenance Management Online Certificate Course can be found on the KU Continuing Education's website at www.continuinged.ku.edu/programs/maintenance_management/index.php.

Scholarship Sponsors

Sponsoring the Fleet Maintenance/Kansas University Scholarship Program are Michelin and WorkSafe USA.

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy duty trucks and motorcycles. www.michelinman.com.

WorkSafe USA manufactures the Dump-lok dump truck bed safety device system. It locks the dump bed in the raised position, preventing it from falling due to system failure or operator error. www.dump-lok.com.

CDX Automotive, an interactive automotive training programs company, will donate technician training software for use in the maintenance departments of each of the scholarship recipients. www.cdxauto.com.

Worthwhile Cause

Supporting the annual Fleet Maintenance/Kansas University Scholarship Program is an opportunity for you to give back to the fleet maintenance industry, plus make a real difference in helping to further evolve professionalism within our industry.

And consider this: A person who receives a scholarship typically becomes a donor to a scholarship in the future. Consequently, your support of scholarship program can establish a chain of philanthropy that extends for many, many years.

For information on becoming a sponsor, contact Joel Franke, Fleet Maintenance's associate publisher, by phone at 920-563-1775, or by e-mail at [email protected].

About the Author

David A. Kolman | Contributor - Fleet Maintenance

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