Director of Transportation, University of Colorado
Tell us a little bit about your recent research project with Toyota.
It was a very interesting project; we completed it about six months ago. We had 28 pre-production Toyota plug-in hybrids that we put into about 140 homes in Boulder and the drivers wrote blogs to share how well they liked them and what they felt about the driving experience. The data was then collected in order to determine the fuel economy, how they were utilized, etc.
Toyota had 600 of these units throughout the country and 28 of them were at Boulder. Boulder was the only place where they actually had the units go into personal homes, everyplace else was more of a fleet type situation. So, our responsibilities for that were to train people how to utilize the plug-ins and drive the vehicles; and then to check them out to the people and check them back in, clean them, and service them.
Has Toyota divulged the results of this research?
Yes, they have given out their initial research. It was kind of interesting; the data showed that, believe it or not, the people Boulder had better fuel economy than the other 600 vehicles that were in the project. While we only had 28 of the vehicles in the project, and those are the ones that we put into the homes, the entire 600 unit fleet fed their data back into our research to look at what was happening with fuel economy for all of the fleet. Statistics definitely showed that the people in Boulder drove more efficiently than the people across the country.
What is highest on your list of initiatives with your fleet this year?
We are in the process now of trying to reduce fuel usage, not just to save money but to reduce our carbon footprint as well. The University is installing data tracking devices into our vehicles to track idle time. We can track driver habits to see if we can then educate our drivers on how they can improve their fuel usage through their driving habits.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you face other than fuel consumption?
I think one of the biggest challenges that most governmental fleets are facing right now is that we haven’t bounced back from the economic downturn. Our state budget is low on money and that trickles down to the University. Sometimes people think, well, transportation won’t affect us. But it does because the professors who usually take field trips may not have that transportation or that travel expense in their budgets, so they don’t use our services to travel to their various field trips or wherever they may be going.
Let’s talk about NAFA. How did you become involved with the Rocky Mountain Chapter?
The chapter contacted me and said, “Hey, you know we have this chapter and you might be able to learn something.” I started going and got very active. I ended up becoming a secretary-treasurer, vice chair and the chairman of the chapter as well. I think that the chapter really offers a lot of networking and educational opportunities. We have a challenge in the Rocky Mountain Chapter of getting our members to come to Denver for a meeting. We have Montana, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado as well. Because of the geographical challenges, we are looking into the possibility of using webinars so that we can engage more chapter members.
I think the chapters are the heart of NAFA and I have developed several great friendships. I think the chapters offer the opportunity to meet people who are local, and if you do have a question you can contact them quickly, you can visit with them; I do that on a regular basis.
What would you tell a fleet manager who is trying to decide whether to go to NAFA Institute & Expo next month?
Most of what I know about fleet, I learned from NAFA. Prior to NAFA, to be honest with you, I was a maintenance manager and a technician. Most of the policies I have in place are through NAFA. It is a tremendous opportunity for people – even if you know something about fleet or you have been in fleet for a long time you will still learn something at every I&E.
What are some of the things you have taken away from NAFA I&E that have made a difference in the way you manage your fleet?
The first difference I&E made to me is that I got my CAFM in 1997. My predecessor retired in 1997 and the primary reason that I was able to move up and become the director of transportation was because I had achieved the goal of CAFM.
Another thing: After attending the DOT meetings, we revised our DOT policy. We just went through a DOT audit and we are in the process now of developing a centralized policy for DOT at the University simply because the University has several different campuses. We are on the Boulder campus and we have a Denver campus, an Anschutz Medical Center, and then the Colorado Springs campus. We have policies on the Boulder campus, but DOT looks at us as one entity so we are in the process of developing a centralized policy based on the information that we brought back from I&E and some of the classes that we attended there.
I have attended several classes for professional development at I&E. I have brought those classes back, redeveloped them and taught them to my employees as well. So, there are a lot of things I have gotten and given back to the University through the I&E process.
Tell us about ‘Test Drive the CAFM’ at the I&E.
One of the things that is new at the I&E this year is that the CAFM Committee has decided to put together a ‘test drive’ of the CAFM program. Currently, when you sign up for the CAFM program you get eight modules and a lot of people see eight as a huge goal. With the test drive program you can sign up for just one module, which is the asset management module. You can go to the boot camp and then after the I&E on Saturday you will test for that one particular module. If you decide at that point that you want to sign up for the CAFM program, that module is credited towards your CAFM as you move forward. So you only have seven other modules to accomplish. I think that is a real neat way for people to get a taste of the CAFM; in this case ‘Test Drive the CAFM.’
Bryan Flansburg, CAFM, Director of Transportation, University of Colorado
Bryan Flansburg has been involved with Fleet Management for over half of his life. Bryan supervises the area managers whose responsibilities include administering the University fleet, driver training, a motor pool, a maintenance shop, a transit operation, and alternative transportation options. He has held positions as maintenance manager, fleet manager, and currently serves as Director of Transportation Services at the University of Colorado.