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Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith


Using Telematics to Drive Fleet Safety Improvements

| Sandy Smith |
As director of product strategy and telematics at Element Fleet Management (, Kimberly Clark knows exactly how her utility fleet clients are using telematics to improve safety. In a recent interview with UFP, Clark described a couple of scenarios that have benefited those clients. One – a 4,000-unit energy utility fleet – uses “in-cab feedback […]

Top Trends to Watch in Commercial Truck Tires

| Sandy Smith |
As director of strategic alliances for Element Fleet Management (, Kerry Wenthin often hears concerns about tire performance. Ask him what he’s hoping to see in terms of innovation, and it comes down to value. “Longer-lasting and cost-conscious products for the high mileage and demanding usage patterns in the light-truck service and delivery segment will […]

Will Your Fleet Need to Rightsize in a Post-Pandemic World?

| Sandy Smith |
When the pandemic hit the U.S. in early 2020, the impact on utility fleets was swift. Even though utility work continued as an essential service, fleets had to adapt. Social distancing meant crews could no longer pile into one vehicle safely. Many light-duty vehicles were parked as some employees switched to home bases. Nebraska Public […]

The State of UTV Electrification

| Sandy Smith |
There is at least one obvious reason for an electric utility to move toward adopting electric-powered vehicles into its fleet. “We’re using our own product,” said Paul Jefferson, senior fleet manager for Oklahoma Gas and Electric, which serves more than 858,000 customers across 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and western Arkansas. Another reason for the […]

Integrating OEM Telematics into Your Fleet

| Sandy Smith |
Jessica Lauer, fleet analyst for Detroit-based DTE Energy, is responsible for overseeing metrics for the company’s 3,700 Class 1-8 vehicles. That’s not always easy to do, particularly with some of DTE’s Class 5-8 vehicles. Problems have occurred after telematics devices were installed on the assets but before they were driven by the business units. “It […]

Do Tire Chains Make Sense for Your Utility Fleet Vehicles?

| Sandy Smith |
It wasn’t so long ago that, when the calendar began its march toward winter, fleets dug out tire chains and issued them to each vehicle. When inclement weather eventually arrived, it was up to the operator to install the chains. In recent years, however, things have changed, both in terms of options for traction devices […]

New Developments in All-Terrain Vehicles for Utility Fleets

| Sandy Smith |
Utility work occurs rain or shine, day or night, and whether we’re in the midst of a pandemic or not. Often, that work takes place on rugged terrain and in other challenging environments. All-terrain vehicles provide solutions to safely move utility crews, tools and equipment in and out of these environments, and ATV manufacturers continue […]

Mistakes to Avoid When Spec’ing Cable Reel Trailers

| Sandy Smith |
With his crew focused on downtown Austin, Texas, and several substations, size was an important consideration for Bobby Dahl, network construction supervisor for community-owned Austin Energy, when selecting a new cable reel trailer. The new trailer upgraded outdated equipment, making work safer and more efficient. “We used to pull cable out with a one-ton truck […]

Spec’ing ATUVs for Optimal Performance and Safety

| Sandy Smith |
Cooperative Energy, which generates and transmits energy to 11 member systems in Mississippi, recently doubled its line crews to four. It’s no surprise, then, that they’ve “had to have more equipment,” according to Wayne Owens, the company’s fleet maintenance supervisor. Serving 55 of Mississippi’s 82 counties, Cooperative Energy crews must deal with hills, hollows and […]

Spec’ing Service Van Interiors with Safety in Mind

| Sandy Smith |
When it comes to spec’ing service vans, utility fleet managers must consider several factors, including budget, vehicle performance, efficiency, and operator safety and comfort. Take Alabama Power’s vans, for instance. About half of the 80 units that the company – a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Co. – has on the road are outfitted for general […]