NAFA CEO Phil Russo, CAE: Thankful For the Gift of You

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Release date: 12/3/2018

NAFA is all about elevating the fleet profession and providing means by which you can learn from and share with your colleagues. That sharing, that community, is what defines NAFA; it’s part of our DNA, and it’s why we exist. And it’s why I love working for NAFA. I love being part of a community in which everyone honestly wants to help each other.

Working at NAFA allows me to fulfill my desire to be a servant leader. I know “servant leadership” is a big buzzword these days, but for me, it’s always been a part of how I try to operate. (Notice the word “try,” as I admit I’ve not yet attained full sainthood!). And, if I may be vulnerable, it’s always been that way because of my faith, not because of any new fad or trend. In fact, when I took this job nearly 14 years ago, I quoted an inspirational pastor I heard on the radio who said, “Leadership has nothing to do with the position, but has everything to do with the ability to serve.” I hoped at that time that I would serve you well.

The good that comes from serving is, undoubtedly, inspired by love. In my faith, we define “love” as “willing the good of the other.” That doesn’t mean “wishing” the good of the other. It means actually taking steps to do something to assure the good of the other person. That’s love. And, isn’t that what is NAFA is all about, doing things to assure the good of others?

Look around you at any NAFA event and you will see love. You will see love in action as friends, strangers, even competitors, go out of their way to assure the good of someone else. For me, that is more than just magical, it is life-giving and inspiring, and drives me to work even harder – to serve you better – to do even more for you.

So, at this very special time of year, I want to thank you for being part of NAFA and for inspiring me. I want to thank you for sharing your time, your talent, and your treasure with this organization that so clearly reflects the love that each of you generates. You make NAFA a very special place, and I thank you for that.

I hope you have a joyous, peaceful, and love-filled holiday season.




As 2018 comes to a close, we want to share with you highlights of the many successes NAFA enjoyed this year. Thank you for your support, involvement, and engagement in making all of these things happen!

Institute & Expo 2018

We set an attendance record at the annual conference (I&E) with more than 1,100 fleet professionals registered for the conference.

Fleet manager expo-only attendance was up eight percent from last year.

I&E conference and expo attendance were up 4.5 percent from last year.

I&E exceeded its budgeted revenue goal and expenses came in under budget (always a good formula!).

The Expo hall was completely sold out for the sixth straight and there was a waiting list of nearly two-dozen companies who wanted to get on the floor.

I&E 2018 closed with 74 percent of next year’s Expo floor in Louisville sold to returning exhibitors.



April’s International Fleet Academy was ground-breaking as it featured some of the best information, and some of the best speakers from around the globe, on the subject of mobility management.

Enrollment in the Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM®) and Certified Automotive Fleet Specialist (CAFS®) program received a tremendous boost when published an article noting that graduates of the course earn a whopping 27 percent more than non-graduates.

We offered at least one free webinar each month of the year, focusing on subjects members said were important to them. Average enrollment for each webinar was more than 100.

In addition to the free webinars, we conducted two “virtual chapter meetings” to provide value to those who cannot attend their local chapters. Nearly 200 people registered!

The in-person Essentials of Fleet Management Seminar in October was a huge success, with more 40 fleet managers in attendance, learning from industry veterans.


Advocacy & Outreach

More than 700 fleet professionals have already joined the association from January to November!

As the only voice for fleet and mobility managers in the legislative and regulatory arenas, we represented you and advocated on your behalf on more than 20 government affairs issues, ranging from autonomous vehicles to mileage-based taxes to tax credits.

We continue to expand our reach by partnering and/or collaborating with organizations across the globe, including such notables as the Institute for Supply Chain Management, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Property Management Association, Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, National Safety Council, Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance, Clean Cities, and many, many more.

Our social media channels continued to grow by leaps every month, meaning we are reaching more and more people – and more and more people are reaching out to us. Our LinkedIn group has more than 11,200 members; our Twitter feed has more than 5,100 followers, and our Facebook page has more than 1,500 friends.

For the second consecutive year, a delegation of 30 government representatives from China were NAFA’s guests at a meeting to discuss government fleet operations and best practices with Bob Martinez, Deputy Commissioner at the NYPD.

Traffic to all of NAFA’s websites increased an average of 10 percent year-over-year.

Since the launch of the Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program, there have been 45 unique fleets accredited, with the average fleet attaining Level 3 (out of 4) accreditation!


Building For Future Success

The implementation of phase one of MemberSuite, our new Association Management Software system, went off with hardly a glitch in November, allowing us to serve you better and faster while creating a unique experience for each of you.

We began building the foundation for our “Communities” initiative, which will launch in April 2019. This program will provide specialized, valuable and memorable content, programs, services, and experiences to the many unique segments in NAFA’s membership (corporate, government, public safety, utility, universities, suppliers, etc.).

We dug deep in several all-member surveys to learn more about your feelings about NAFA, your needs, the value of the Association overall, and the relevance of specific existing and possible new programs.