Sarasota County wins prestigious national honor for its handling of fleet operations

Recognition accorded by Association of Equipment Management Professionals and Construction Equipment magazine

Gathered during the AEMP awards banquet are (from left) Donte Shannon of AEMP, Rick Blesi of Construction Equipment, Ron Kennedy of Sarasota County, Brianne Hayes of Sarasota County, and Frank Raczon of Construction Equipment. Contributed photo

For the second time since 2014, Sarasota County has won the Fleet Master Award for Large Fleets from the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) and Construction Equipment magazine.

AEMP and Construction Equipment recognized county staff on March 20, as part of their celebration of “organizations that excel in cost-effective management of mixed fleets of on- and off-road mobile equipment,” a news release notes.

Frank Raczon, senior editor of Construction Equipment — now in its 70th year — presented the awards during AEMP’s 37th Annual Conference and Annual Meeting, held in Orlando March 19-21.

“We have been honored to partner with AEMP over the past 15 years in recognizing excellence in equipment management,” Raczon said in the release. “It’s a prestigious national award, designed to bring attention and recognition to all equipment professionals and their teams.”

The Fleet Master Award for Large Fleets recognizes entities with fleet replacement values greater than $100 million, the release explains. Sarasota County Fleet Services has approximately 1,700 assets, both on and off the road, that are serviced by three maintenance facilities and four fueling sites, the release points out. The latest award recognizes county staff for implementing a new safety training program, the release adds.

Weekly, in-depth safety inspections are conducted, the release says, and then a monthly shop inspection is completed, with the goal of ensuring as much overview as possible in an effort to achieve high operating standards. Additionally, the release notes, counters have been placed in each shop to show the number of days since an injury was recorded by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Those counters serve as reminders “to all staff to be safety conscious,” the release points out.

The counters also are part of an incentive program: Each shop that reaches a targeted number of days without an accident will receive a staff reward, the release adds.

Moreover, “With the help of our shop managers’ buy-in, we reviewed maintenance class scheduling and guidelines for [preventive] maintenance work orders,” said Ron Kennedy, Sarasota County fleet manager, in the release.

“Over the course of the past year,” Kennedy explained in the release, “we reviewed our active assets to complete a full life-cycle cost analysis.” The county’s assets reflect more than 300 maintenance classifications, he continued in the release. The profile of each asset is reviewed for historical data, maintenance costs and total capital value “to establish true life cycles and future replacement costs based on a pre-determined inflation factor,” he said in the release. “At the completion of the study,” he noted, “we found that we were able to extend specific classes of life cycles” and make other adjustments, which have reduced the county’s acquisition fund budget by $2 million.

Emily Petersen, AEMP’s awards coordinator, said of the honorees this year, “It’s an honor to hear about [their] hard work and celebrate their success. We’re grateful to have such a great field of candidates and thank each one of them for their participation and enthusiasm, and hope others will be encouraged to participate next year.”

“Formed in 1982, the Association of Equipment Management Professionals represents fleet professionals working in construction, government, utilities, energy, mining and more,” the release explains. “AEMP maintains relationships among manufacturers, users, governmental agencies, educational institutions and others involved in the design and management of heavy equipment.”