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The Value of Lifelong Learning


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Release date: 2/4/2020

The Value of Lifelong Learning
Katherine Vigneau, CAFM


I was recently reflecting on my career and how I landed where I am today as the owner of a fleet consulting business and NAFA’s Director of Professional Development. Until I joined NAFA in 1999, I was a career Army Officer with fifteen years of Logistics experience and had no plans to specialize in fleet. I liked trucks as much as the next Transportation Officer but also enjoyed working in finance, career management and supply chain. Around this time, however, I was promoted to Major and given the responsibility of overseeing our national fleet program. Feeling that my training and experience to date were not up to the task, I took the Certified Automotive Management Program (CAFM®) program in 2000, and the rest is history.

My enthusiasm for fleet education and training stems from the fact that NAFA’s education seminars and certification programs are so good. I am confident that our programs are the best in the industry and with continued hard work from NAFA’s devoted volunteer leaders in education, they will remain so.  Their efforts keep NAFA’s programs relevant and best-in-class. 

I am not the only one who sees the value in NAFA’s certification programs. Monster.com recently released a report on the top certifications to boost your salary. The CAFM program was on their list and they cited a 27% salary increase by virtue of holding this designation. https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/salary-increase-certifications
One of the best things about the program is its accessibility, even to someone balancing a heavy workload and family responsibilities. All CAFM®-essential study materials are provided online through a user name and access code within days of enrollment. Volunteers have also developed additional resources for those who want to use them (fees apply).

The online Boot Camp series was launched in November 2015 and has been both well-attended and well-received. In addition, now you can take certification exams almost anywhere.

Professional education does not end with walking across the NAFA stage at our annual Conference and receiving your Certification. Re-certification is required every five years and here is where the need for lifelong learning comes in. 

Since achieving my CAFM, I have gone back to school many times for Masters degrees and another industry designation.  Our world, our industry, our lives are all changing so quickly that a commitment to learning is the only way a professional can keep up.

As NAFA focuses on remaining relevant in the years ahead, seminars and education efforts will continue to be increasingly flexible, accessible and recognized and lead our members and affiliates towards our certification programs.

For more on NAFA education or to enroll in the certification program see https://www.nafa.org/f/Why-Enroll/Why-Get-Certified.aspx

Katherine Vigneau, MBA, MDS, CAFM, is NAFA's Director of Professional Development and logistics professional specializing in fleet management. Her vast work experience includes serving as Logistics Section Chief/Instructor/Trainer for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, 2006-2010).