What Do Fleet Managers Do For Fun On Their Summer Vacation?

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Release date: 1/14/2019

What Do Fleet Managers Do For Fun On Their Summer Vacation?

A Travelogue by Kathy Wellik, CAFM®, Fleet Director at Iowa State University

What do you get when you put together a German family (in which it is the parents’ first time to America), an American family (whose parents are both fleet directors), and a 2001 Ford E-450?

An awesome road trip, that’s what, and a story about the evolution of mobility across North America (but I’m getting ahead of myself).

I am Fleet Director at Iowa State University and currently serve on the NAFA Board of Directors. With my husband Jeff, Fleet Director for Roland-Story School District, we recently put our fleet management experience to work for our own trip.

A little perspective first: Four years ago, my family had the privilege of hosting a foreign exchange student from Germany named Clara. Being a host for a year was a wonderful experience. I highly recommend it.

Since then, my family has had the privilege to travel to Europe twice to stay with her family and explore several European countries. The world of mobility became very apparent to Jeff and me upon that first experience. I was immediately in awe of how different traveling in Europe is, compared to our home in Iowa.

From the moment I landed in Frankfurt, I found myself snapping pictures of unique car symbols. One of the first vehicles I spotted was an Opal, and this brought back fond recollections of
my uncle who was stationed in Germany during World War II. He bought his first car (an Opal, of course) and brought it back to the states after serving overseas.

Seeing that particular icon issued a flood of memories.

I also noticed how small the cars are compared to the U.S. and how they were so fuel-efficient. You learn quickly that you can’t take much with you when there isn’t a lot of room.

The semis are also different. In Europe, they are cab-overs and have soft sides, unlike the U.S. in which the semis are conventional and most are solid-sided.

You didn’t see pickups and SUVs up and down the Autobahn, but there were plenty of Smart cars and other smaller vehicles.

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