ARI’s Brian Matuszewski on How Fleet Managers are Implementing Sustainability

by Jon LeSage, edi­tor, Fleet Man­age­ment Week­ly

Does your orga­ni­za­tion have a sus­tain­abil­i­ty offi­cer on staff? These employ­ees may not have the word “sus­tain­abil­i­ty” in their job titles. They’re typ­i­cal­ly respon­si­ble for car­ry­ing out envi­ron­men­tal and ener­gy effi­cien­cy ini­tia­tives for their orga­ni­za­tions. Sus­tain­abil­i­ty has to do with what gets hand­ed over to future gen­er­a­tions.

Bri­an Matuszews­ki serves as man­ag­er – strate­gic con­sult­ing, sus­tain­able strate­gies at ARI. Matuszews­ki spoke to me last week about his duties at the com­pa­ny – and what it’s like to be among the grow­ing move­ment of man­age­ment pro­fes­sion­als focused on sus­tain­abil­i­ty issues. The Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty grad­u­ate pre­vi­ous­ly served at the US Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, as an ana­lyst at P&< in Mex­i­co City, and joined ARI ear­li­er this year.

Matuszews­ki is pri­mar­i­ly focused on sup­port­ing clients’ efforts to oper­ate sus­tain­able fleets with alter­na­tive fuel vehi­cles, fuel effi­cien­cy, and research and con­sult­ing ser­vices. Fleet man­agers are inter­est­ed in imple­ment­ing orga­ni­za­tion­al tar­gets to reduce car­bon and green­house gas emis­sions, sup­port­ing their country’s ener­gy inde­pen­dence, and max­i­miz­ing oper­a­tional effi­cien­cies and cost reduc­tions. Matuszews­ki starts out by assess­ing fleet data and work­ing with clients on inte­grat­ing what makes the most sense for them.

Along with green vehi­cle acqui­si­tion deci­sions, Matuszews­ki said that ARI’s Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Sys­tem helps clients mon­i­tor ener­gy effi­cien­cy, man­age waste going to land­fills, imple­ment recy­cling pro­grams, and track base­line data glob­al­ly. These days, fleet man­agers wear a lot of hats – their duties go way beyond fleet man­age­ment; ARI assists fleets in reduc­ing emis­sions and increas­ing effi­cien­cy in dif­fer­ent facets of fleet man­age­ment duties. Some fleet man­agers are work­ing close­ly with sus­tain­abil­i­ty man­agers with­in their orga­ni­za­tions. “Fleet man­agers are get­ting some pres­sure from sus­tain­abil­i­ty offi­cers – buy more hybrids, etc.,” Matuszews­ki said. “The fleet manager’s job is a lot more com­pre­hen­sive.”

Euro­pean fleets are deal­ing with tax­a­tion on emis­sions, and in the US, sev­er­al gov­ern­ment and large cor­po­rate fleets are imple­ment­ing sus­tain­abil­i­ty ini­tia­tives – gen­er­al­ly designed to meet car­bon emis­sions tar­gets. Smog emis­sions are not a pri­or­i­ty for fleets these days due to advanced tech­nolo­gies that are com­mon­place in new vehi­cles; reduc­ing CO2 emis­sions is a top pri­or­i­ty for a grow­ing num­ber of fleets. Diesel pow­er­trains are being tracked, too, and a lot of that is being dealt with effec­tive­ly by reg­u­la­to­ry com­pli­ance includ­ing advanced truck tech­nolo­gies and diesel being sold now at fuel­ing sta­tions that “com­bust fuel in a clean way,” Matuszews­ki said.

As for alter­na­tive fuel vehi­cles, that varies fleet by fleet – plug-in elec­tric vehi­cles, hybrids, nat­ur­al gas vehi­cles, propane auto­gas, and biodiesel are being looked at. “Alter­na­tive fuels are not the only way to go green,” he said. “They’re opti­miz­ing fuel effi­cien­cy, and gaso­line and diesel engine vehi­cles can be pret­ty clean.” At the end of the day, fleet man­agers have to meet their organization’s goals when mak­ing fleet vehi­cle acqui­si­tions. “Whether you believe in glob­al warm­ing or not, you need to make a strong busi­ness case,” Matuszews­ki said.

You may notice that quite a few Mil­len­ni­als can get pret­ty fas­ci­nat­ed and pas­sion­ate about sus­tain­abil­i­ty – and might end up choos­ing to trav­el down that career path, as did Matuszews­ki. “At the uni­ver­si­ty set­ting, it’s become a hot top­ic and not a fad,” he said. The ter­mi­nol­o­gy now includes clean­tech, clean trans­porta­tion, and sus­tain­abil­i­ty. Whether it be stu­dents major­ing in engi­neer­ing, archi­tec­ture, pub­lic pol­i­cy, or busi­ness man­age­ment, a lot more of them are adding it to their degrees and are becom­ing active in cam­pus in orga­ni­za­tions such as Net Impact. “A lot of peo­ple com­ing from col­lege see it hap­pen­ing and feel good about it,” he said. It makes a lot of sense to them – in cre­at­ing eco­nom­ic growth and inno­va­tion. It was a hot top­ic at Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty while he attend­ed, and he’s been see­ing a lot of top­i­cal con­fer­ences tak­ing place across the coun­try.

Matuszews­ki also empha­sized that automak­ers are not get­ting enough cred­it for embrac­ing sus­tain­abil­i­ty. For exam­ple, Ford’s Rouge plant now uti­lizes a zero emis­sions build­ing, and soy­beans are being used inside Ford vehi­cle inte­ri­ors, he said. Fleets are going in that direc­tion, too, and are mak­ing a sol­id con­tri­bu­tion to sus­tain­abil­i­ty through the vol­ume of vehi­cles they’re pur­chas­ing, set­ting up onsite alter­na­tive fuel­ing, and are part of build­ing the infra­struc­ture. ARI works with clients to extract and ana­lyze data and “cus­tomize sus­tain­able solu­tions,” he said.

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