Keith Swearingen is one to give credit where credit is due, and, as the fleet services supervisor for the City of Casa Grande, AZ, and the current president of the Rocky Mountain Fleet Management Association (RMFMA), Swearingen gives a lot of the credit for his professional success to his colleagues in RMFMA.
"I can tell you that the members of the organization have made me what I am today," he insists. "I definitely would not be the person I am within the city, and what I do for the organization, without all the other members. That is the really cool part of this, is that the networking side that is offered--and definitely delivered upon--by this organization. Doesn't matter who you are, what you are, everybody answers their phones and everybody communicates. It is great."
And who are the members of RMFMA? They are over 1,500 fleet maintenance profesionals from Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas (the latest addition to the group) and Utah, who believe the old adage about "strength in numbers." After all, if the fleet maintenance professionals in one state can create a strong member-supported organization, why not band six states together?
RMFMA members manage fleets ranging from 25 units to more than 4,000, they attend quarterly State Chapter meetings and one National Conference that rotates among the six member states.
"The way the states interact is, each (state) organization from the top tier is coordinated by national officers," Swearingen explains. "Then you have an association board and the rest of the officers. The association board gets together with each chapter chairman, so each chapter has its chapter chair at the association meetings, two a year, so we all intermix at that point."
JOINING THE CLUB
A few years ago, Swearingen had never even heard of RFMFA. He had spent most of his career working for the family business, servicing and rebuilding alternators, starters and fuel injectors, oftening catering to fleet needs but never a part of the fleet world. Then, six years ago, he took the job with the City of Casa Grande and supervisor he replaced took him to an RMFMA chapter meeting. That one meeting was all it took: recognizing that involvement in this group could be a key ingredient in his success at the new job, Swearingen was hooked.
"There have been a lot of positive influences, and to mention them all would be impossible," Swearingen says. "I will tell you that, what is a very pleasing factor for me is that the Arizona membership, where my dues go, we have quarterly meetings faithfully. They are all over the state, so you get opportunities to meet fleet managers from all over. I've had the opportunity to go to almost every meeting, so I've been all over the state and met all kinds of people, and shared all kinds of things with them and heard all kinds of things."
To this day, Swearingen is amazed by how valuable networking within the Assiciation can be: "One of the biggest things that has always surprised me is finding out how much we all have in common, which really goes back to networking; my problem is your problem, your problem is my problem. We all work to get through it, and it's so fantastic."
A LOT IN COMMON
A great many RMFMA members, it turns out, are, like Swearingen, responsible for municapal fleets, so they have a lot to talk about.
"We service all of it," he explains. "We are fire, we are police, we are landfill, we are sanitation, we are streets, we are parks & maintenance, we are engineering, all the divisions. That is typical of RMFMA members; the question then becomes, 'Who has fire? Who has police?' Some of those are farmed out in different communities, as well as sanitation and landfill."
Swearingen's one-year-old shop consists of eight truck bays and three automotive bays. His crew consists of four technicians, one Master EVT, a parts manager, and a secretary. The lion's share of his shop's time is spent maintaining refuse vehicles, and he says, "I don't know many of our members who are responsible for their sanitation fleets who don't say that.
Recognizing the path to professional accomplishment
Organization appoints/elects 31 fleet professionals to make up this year's group.
NAFA's highly successful CAFM Boot Camp, which made its debut at last year's Institute & Expo in Salt Lake City, will be brought back for the 2009 I&E in New Orleans April 25-28.