Pictured: Giovanni Tortorici, President of A.I.A.G.A and Group Supply Chain Purchasing Manager for Barilla; Phillip Russo, CAE, Executive Director of NAFA; Ermanno Molinari, General Secretary and Treasurer of A.I.A.G.A.; and Joe LaRosa, Director, Global Fleet Services for Merck, and NAFA’s International Vice President.
We’ve had several weeks now to reflect on NAFA’s 3rd Annual International Fleet Academy (IFA) that took place October 21–23 at Loew’s Ventana Canyon in Tucson. As one of the two media sponsors of the event, we had been publishing news of the upcoming IFA for some months prior and as we watched the agenda unfold, we knew that we were in for a treat. It was that… and much, much more!
The gold standard in fleet education…
NAFA Fleet Management Association is a not-for-profit organization run almost entirely by a dedicated group of talented fleet professionals – members and affiliates alike — who, in addition to their “day jobs,” volunteer time to the organization. And much of that volunteer time is devoted to teaching. So, because of this high level of expertise from subject matter experts, NAFA is widely recognized as providing the gold standard in fleet education.
We talk with a lot of folks in the industry and we hear repeatedly how “nice” – how “giving” people in fleet are. How fleet professionals like to get together and frankly talk about their disappointments, their successes, and their nagging challenges. How many times have you heard a fleet professional tell you how something they learned from a peer saved them time and/or money (and maybe enhanced their career)? We’ve heard it many, many times. And that sentiment was repeated again and again during the IFA.
It was networking nirvana…
Describing the IFA in a nutshell, Peter Egan, Partner at FleetVision and a co-sponsor with NAFA for the Academy’s development, said, “For the past four years NAFA has refined a results-oriented International program that gives its members useful ideas and cost-reduction programs that work. Ideas are candidly exchanged, past experience evaluated and new trends explored.”
Egan continued, “Each speaker provided beneficial nuggets and shared their own outcomes. It gave the new attendees an opportunity to question more experienced global fleet managers and evaluate which processes will be successful when they are applied to their own unique operations.”
That approach made for a very lively seminar. The level of enthusiastic interaction in that room was amazing – everyone had something to share: a question, or a “how this worked for me,” or, frequently, “meet me after the session and I’ll give you the name of the person to call.” It was networking nirvana! And that was exactly how it was planned.
“From the start, we intentionally kept IFA at an intimate level, restricting attendance to no more than 40 people total,” said NAFA’s Executive Director, Phillip E. Russo, CAE. “We also wanted to ensure that the majority of the audience was fleet managers, so they could network and learn from each other, as the real practitioners of global fleet management.”
This plan resonated with the attendees. Joe LaRosa, US-based Director of Global Fleet Administration for Merck, Sharp and Dohme, Inc. and NAFA’s International Vice President, said, “The workshop setting was superb as each of the attendees interacted at the tables as well as moved around and discussed many of the topics during breaks and meals.”
IFA: Interesting Friendly Association…
Giovanni Tortorici, Global Supply Chain Purchasing Manager at Barilla and President of A.I.A.G.A, Italy’s largest fleet management association and NAFA partner, said, “The feeling that animated the IFA 2013 has turned this acronym into Interesting Friendly Association: a relaxed environment where it was easy to learn information and methods for international fleet management. The sharing of ideas between American and European fleet managers has paid off and has proven once again that by working together we can build the future.”
It has only just begun…
“We are never too old to learn new things as well as to deepen our understanding of the multitude of fleet topics we are familiar with,” said Joe Carreira, UK-based EMEA Fleet Manager at Merck Sharpe & Dohme, Inc. and 2012 International Fleet Manager of the Year. ‘This event represented an excellent opportunity to improve our fleet knowledge and develop a wider net of fleet contacts as a source of future knowledge and assistance.”
LaRosa continued, “I certainly look forward to this event next year although this year’s IFA didn’t end with the conference…it has only just begun for the attendees — and NAFA IFA will be there to support them all the way.
To learn more about NAFA or to obtain your copy of the newly-released Global Fleet Guide, please visit NAFA’s website.