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Reflection and Respect

This year marks my 10th anniversary with Utility Fleet Professional and eight years as its editor.

Reflecting on my time at UFP, I’m struck by the level of expertise you need to succeed in the utility sector compared to fleets in other industries.

Before joining UFP, I wrote about a wide range of fleets, from last-mile delivery to heavy-duty trucking to pharmaceutical sales.

While those fleet managers face unique challenges related to their application, their jobs don’t require anywhere near the breadth of knowledge you bring to the table as a utility fleet professional.

With most fleets, you may have a handful of vehicle types you’re working with – box trucks, pickups, vans, sedans and so forth.

But in the utility world, it’s a whole different realm. You manage road vehicles, trailers, off-road equipment and all-terrain utility vehicles. And at some utility companies, the fleet department manages aviation assets like helicopters and drones.

With road assets alone, you’re writing specs for the whole gamut of vehicle types – from cars to Class 8 tractors – to accommodate a wide range of jobs.

You also need to know a lot about accessories and upfits that strike the right balance between crew productivity and safety, such as truck-mounted bodies, strobes, compressors, cranes, aerial buckets and digger derricks.

And that’s just the equipment side of things. You’re also a talent evaluator, recruiter and coach who manages a maintenance shop of skilled technicians and provides them with the safest possible work environment.

You negotiate complex multimillion-dollar equipment deals with various suppliers where only one small mistake can create massive headaches for you, your team and the company as a whole.

And if you’re like most utility fleet professionals, you’re also leading the way in fleet electrification, bringing an even higher level of complexity to your job regarding equipment specs, procurement and maintenance.

I’m sure this just scratches the surface of all that you have on your plate. And what you do often goes unnoticed – until something goes wrong. But as I reflect on your role and responsibilities and all you do as a utility fleet professional, you have my utmost respect.


Sean M. Lyden

Sean M. Lyden is the editor of Utility Fleet Professional magazine.