NAFA: Building for the Future

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Bill Schankel, CAE, serves as Chief Executive Officer for NAFA Fleet Management Association. You can reach him at [email protected]. Photo NAFA

Momentum continues to build with new initiatives and programs at NAFA.

As we start the new year, it’s a good time to take a look at where NAFA has been and where we are headed. The COVID-19 pandemic was disruptive for almost everyone, but it also provided an opportunity to forge a path for the future, one that would prove focused and relevant in a fast-changing world. NAFA’s Strategic Plan, launched in 2020 and updated in 2023, embodies that, and we’re very excited to see it come to fruition, allowing us to meet the needs of our members as well as support their growth and our capabilities at the association level. Another exciting development for 2024 is NAFA’s 100 Best Fleets in the Americas program, which continues to grow, for both the public and (since last year,) the commercial fleet side. 

Growing interest

We’re very encouraged about the continually growing interest from fleet organizations taking part, including more Canadian fleets. Our Fleet Professional of the Year and Technician of the Year awards have also seen great outreach and response and we’ve gotten even more people involved with these programs in 2024.

NAFA continues to work in collaboration with other groups, to bring ever greater value to our members and the fleet management sector. A good example is our partnership with N.C. State’s Clean Technology Center and the Clean Cities Coalition which looks to promote, collaborate, and expand viable sustainability initiatives across North America. We’ve also seen growth in sustainability training initiatives, as well as our Green Fleet Awards program which continues to expand in scope and stature.

Last year, saw NAFA host its first-ever Safety Symposium and we’re looking to build upon the success of that initial event in 2024 and beyond. Additionally, we’ve seen a lot of success from our new regional structure format at NAFA. Each region is unique, with its own flair, and flavour—and, we’ve seen the building out of some great local events and networking groups that continue to grow and bring in new faces, helping to expand our footprint and support across the fleet management community. We’ve also got new and revised programs coming this year, including a pilot for fleet policy writing as well as an enhanced CAFM certification program, more details of which will be available at this year’s I&E in San Antonio, Texas, from April 22-24.

Interactive experience

Speaking of I&E, we will have more than 40 educational sessions, as well as multiple tracks related to leadership, technology, emerging trends, operations, and law enforcement. For the first time in a long time, we’re also hosting a Ride and Drive event at I&E in 2024—an interactive experience which many attendees will likely look forward to. Additionally, there are several pre-conference activities taking place. These include Leadership Development, as well as Sustainability and Asset Management Conferences. We also have technician training, which in addition to the ride and drive, will add a new dimension in terms of hands-on participation and interactivity.

A big focus for NAFA in 2024 is government regulations and our Legislative Council is hard at work in providing the fleet management industry a voice at both the state/provincial and federal level. With the current emphasis on electric vehicles, there are a lot of fleets that have questions regarding the practical deployment of EVs and the infrastructure they require. NAFA and its Legislative Council are currently working with members to provide feedback at the state level as well as nationally. The goal is to be proactive and communicate effectively with state legislators, particularly where regulations are already being drafted, such as jurisdictions like California, which have taken an aggressive approach to EV adoption. We’ve seen strong support from our members in California, which is encouraging since these advocacy efforts are a key part of NAFA’s strategic plan. Through them and NAFA’s other initiatives, our goal is to ensure the interests of our members and vehicle fleets are properly and fairly represented across the U.S. and Canada since that is vital to the long-term health and success of our industry. 

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