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Catherine Parker from CSIRO has won the Fleet Manager of the Year Award in Sydney at the 2016 AFMA Fleet Awards last night.

CSIRO’s National Fleet Manager Catherine Parker was resourceful and impressive in transforming the incredibly diverse research body’s Australia-wide fleet and unifying a fleet management system across nearly 60 national work sites.

“Without my team’s support we would’t have been able to achieve what we have in the last two years,” Cathy said. “If someone had asked me growing up what I wanted to be, I don’t think I’d have said a fleet manager,” she joked, “but I’m so glad that I’ve found myself in this space. I love what I do, I love coming to work. It’s tremendous to see so many in the industry here tonight to celebrate.”

Ms Parker led the development of a brand new fleet policy to replace CSIRO’s decade-old Motor Vehicle policy. She unified 18 different  data streams and approaches and re-developed the organisation’s asset register on top of establishing a strong supplier network. Under Ms Parker’s leadership, CSIRO acquired 10 Nissan Leaf fully-electric vehicles for their fleet.

The Fleet Environment Award went to Austin Health and Jan Zagari, while DHL Supply Chain and Kasey Caston took out the Fleet Safety Award.

Austin Health reduced its CO2 footprint by 75% and 76% less fuel consumed in the last few years, travel distances have plummeted thanks to carpooling and more organised work scheduling and old tyres are now completely recycled. Zagari brought an ad hoc system into order and worked hard on changing attitudes into one.

“For Austin Health, it wasn’t just about reducing waste, it was the knock-on effects of saving money for the fleet at the same time,” Jan said. “We’re now looking at expanding our electric vehicle fleet. It’s an honour to accept the award.”

The health organisation now ensures smaller vehicles phase out larger ones, and online booking system records vehicle use and a rigorous maintenance regime ensures the fleet runs efficiently.


DHL’s Caston helped the supply chain business achieve big safety goals in establishing on-board vehicle monitoring coupled with a safe driver reward program to successfully drive down accident rates and improve safety culture.

“It’s pretty special to be nominated and thank you for seeing our potential,” Kasey said. “Without the support of our team we couldn’t have done this. It’s flattering to know we’ve made such a big difference in keeping our drivers safe.”

The reward program used positive reinforcement to change attitudes and prevent accidents. Telematics helped identify risky behavior, recorded excessive idle, heavy braking, dramatic acceleration and speeding. These programs saw DHL halve its accident rate in distance driven and per 100 vehicles, plus the average cost per vehicle as a by-product.

Fleet managers, supplier figures and affiliated business people filled the Doltone House venue. AFMA Executive Director Mace Hartley was ecstatic with the like-minded turnout.

“It’s great that people are putting first their drivers, their staff and the world around us,” Hartley said. “While doing all this, we want to acknowledge how their actions are also benefiting their business. Seeing all these organisations and their people come together is a promising sight.”

Safety of people in the vehicular workplace is a vitally important duty of care for employers of any business, organisation or company fleet.

Dan Hawkins, general manager of customer services with FleetCare, said their backing of the award was a no-brainer.
“It was the quickest decision our business made to side with ANCAP,” he said. “We could never understand why anybody would buy a vehicle that wasn’t five-star rated.”

Wendy Machin, ANCAP CEO said the rating system isn’t just for the land Down Under.
“I was at a conference a few years ago by a Brazilian car club, and their jaws were on the ground about how we can crash test and assess vehicles to keep people safe because they were getting European cars without safety options,” Machin said, “So we’re taking our message beyond Australia and seeing great changes.”

When any company or organisation needs to reduce it’s footprint, fleets are the first port of call, especially given roughly half of annual new car sales are fleet purchases. Environmental impacts are increasingly under the microscope for fleet managers.

“It’s an award we’re very proud to sponsor. We’ve hit eight million hybrid vehicles worldwide, and we’re now looking at the next exciting new era in hydrogen fuel cells,” said Ed Stanistreet, Toyota Fleet Management general manager. “The Mirai is coming and it’s an exciting frontier. We’re now looking at vehicle pooling and in the next few years there are lots of exciting things coming.”

AFMA’s judging committee regarded Catherine Parker’s efforts as an example to other fleet managers, no matter how big or small their fleet, of how to apply their skills to the role to achieve the best outcome.

“It’s been great to support the Fleet Manager of the Year Award and Catherine’s done some great things,” said Johnathan Dexter, national sales manager for Viva Energy Australia. “We got behind the award because it’s a fleet management accolade we feel encourages best practice not only from a business perspective, but also at a passionate personal level, striving to get the best results.”

The Fleet Manager of the Year Award is given based on overall strategy, new thinking and execution, and comparative results, drawing on a fleet manager’s skills and tenacity to solve their fleet problems, relative to the complexity and difficulty of the task.

AFMA sincerely congratulates the organisations and their very worthy winners of the 2016 Fleet Awards.

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