Ray Brisby, Calgary Fire Department: A Gentleman & Scholar

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NAFA recognizes Ray Brisby with an Excellence in Education award.

Ray Brisby, Manager, Calgary Fire Department Fleet Operations, has been involved with NAFA Fleet Management Association since earning his designation in 2006, jumping right into committee work that since has included education programs, certification and certificate development. He currently serves on the board of directors.

This year, the association to which he has given so much gave him something, too—the NAFA Excellence in Education award, which recognizes a member who has made exceptional contributions to the creation, development and implementation of education programs for fleet managers.

Since 2010, Brisby has been involved in the association’s Certification Development committee, consulting with industry experts to develop and help write the curriculum and some of the guides used in the course, as well as teaching the material.

“I started in vehicle maintenance about 33 years ago,” he says of his long history in the sector. He started working with municipal fleets in Calgary as a technician, then a foreman, then moved into a management role. “I got very interested in the art and craft of fleet management,” he says. “So I enrolled in NAFA’s Certified Fleet Management program. In our industry, it’s the pinnacle of education.”

Face-to-face interaction

Brisby has taught more than 80 individual classes at all levels, and although the association offers its material in a variety of modalities including webinars, it’s the face-to-face interaction he likes best, especially at the masters level. “It’s a little smaller,” he says of the workshops involved in their top-level training. “So we can really roll up our sleeves and dig deep into it.”

“In the past 12 months alone, he has taught a boot camp in Edmonton, Alberta, a pre-conference event and several concurrent sessions at last year’s I&E and an Essentials of Fleet Management seminar in Philadelphia,” notes NAFA President Bryan Flansburg. The association’s annual Institute & Expo (I&E) was this year held in Anaheim, California, where Brisby received his award in April.

No shortage of challenges

In his current role, where he faces high demand for vehicles and apparatus, a fast-paced maintenance shop and his responsibilities for all the handheld and personal protection equipment for the fire department, the virtually endless variety of his days keeps him engaged.

“It’s so dynamic,” he says. “The volume of calls we get can dictate what the day contains.” Twenty-five staff reporting to him, about 300 pieces of equipment, support vehicles and trailers makes for a lively position, and he notes there’s never a shortage of challenges.

“I particularly like working on specifications for the new trucks,” he says. “We work with a cross-functional team of training staff, firefighters and maintenance staff. I manage projects, and I like to get involved with that. Also, the technology in the fire fighting business—there’s something new every day.”

As the industry evolves, he says, the changes will keep things just as interesting. “The biggest change I think I’ve seen is moving away from fleet management being about asset management,” he says. “The whole industry is moving towards mobility management. It’s not so much about managing physical assets, but how we move people around.”

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