Steering Through Challenging Times

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Ray Brisby is EMS Fleet Operations Manager for Alberta Health Services and served as NAFA’s President from 2020-2022. Photo Ray Brisby

Ray Brisby, a Canadian, served as NAFA President from 2020-22, a time of tremendous disruption for the industry. Here he provides some highlights of his tenure.

There is no question that my tenure as President of NAFA coincided with some of the most interesting and challenging times the fleet industry has faced in recent years. I was absolutely thrilled and honoured when I was selected for the role and grateful that NAFA’s board had faith in me to take on this position and help move the association forward. I came at the role with a focus on creating a strong strategic plan. I’m very much focused on planning and sticking to goals, and always say ‘if we fail to plan, we fail to act,’ so proper planning and execution was a clear objective. My time as President also coincided with changes to NAFA’s leadership team, including the appointment of Bill Schankel as CEO. Bill is the ideal person for this role and has assembled a very strong team, resulting in a solid relationship between the board, the executive and our NAFA members.

Innovative solutions

Being president of a large fleet management association during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic required looking at new and innovative ways of doing things. A big initiative undertaken during my time as President was the creation and launch of the regional re-alignment initiative. We had been hearing from our members that it was becoming increasingly difficult to provide value at a local level on a consistent basis by trying to manage 33 different chapters across two countries. With a great deal of work and planning, we were able to discover ways in which we could better assist our members to make NAFA’s offerings more accessible for them, as well as provide members with more opportunities to contribute and be part of the association. And so, the regional format was born. 

Another milestone during my time as President was acquiring the 100 Best Fleets program. Tom Johnson, who sadly, recently passed away, was the founder of 100 Best Fleets and had long been an avid supporter of NAFA. He approached us about acquiring the program and we were able to bring it into the fold and create a plan to build upon the legacy Tom had started. Integrating the 100 Best Fleets into NAFA was big a win for us and we’re excited at the opportunity to expand upon Tom’s vision by offering new categories such as commercial fleets and allowing more opportunities for fleet managers to be recognized for their accomplishments. 

CAFM commission

A final milestone I’d like to mention is launching the CAFM Commission. This is a small oversight committee designed to move the CAFM program forward with the goal of it becoming a household name in fleet management credentialing. There are several steps that we’re undertaking. These range from updating content and adding new elements to creating even more relevancy to the program—securing its future and reputation, as a leading accreditation for fleet managers and professionals.

As a Canadian, my time as NAFA President was also interesting in that it provided me with the opportunity to take an active role in NAFA’s Advocacy efforts in the U.S., and attend meetings in Washington D.C. Being part of these lobbying initiatives has big implications for the OEMs and fleet industry on both sides of the border, and I was very grateful to be part of them in helping achieve beneficial outcomes for our industry, including expanding microchip production in the U.S. to help OEMs. This is something that will likely pay dividends for many years to come.  

By the time you read these words, our new NAFA President, Mike Camnetar will have taken the reins, and combined with the efforts of Bill Schankel and his team, I’m very excited about what the future will bring for our association, our members, and the fleet management industry.     



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