The Prince William County Fleet Management Division recently earned a spot on the list of “100 Best Fleets in North America.” The magazine Governing the States and Localities awarded the distinction.
Tom Westergaard, the Prince William County Fleet Management Division Chief, said being among the top 100 fleets in the country has become the standard of excellence for the division, which has made the list since 2008. “This award is natural for us, but it is hard to get. Out of 38,000 fleets, only 100 get the award. It’s pretty narrow odds.”
In order to make the list, fleet shops have to meet certain standards, Westergaard said. “We have to achieve several different parameters. We have to have education. We have to have training. We have to have safety. We have to have improvements to the shop.” Education might include formal course work. Training would include things such as learning to operate new equipment.
The division, with more than 1,100 vehicles and 35 people, has also kept its Exemplary Environmental Enterprise Certification with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality since 2009.
The shop averages 640 repairs in a month. Some of the repairs, especially on police cruisers and emergency vehicles, can get extensive, Westergaard said. “We take the car apart and make sure everything is working. We don’t want them doing a high-speed pursuit, chasing a bad guy, or maybe taking someone to the hospital and having the car go out on them.”
Tom Bruun, director of the Prince William County Department of Public Works, said the recognition showed that the fleet staff is living up to standards. “It shows that the staff keenly understands the connection between what they do and the county’s ability to meet its goals in public safety. That’s something we really work on. The mechanics really understand that they’re integral to police being able to do what they do and fire and rescue being able to do what they do. Building inspections and all of those things wouldn’t be possible without fleet’s work.”
In making the list, the Prince William Fleet Management Division was in the company of fleet management outfits that included the City of Fort Worth, the New York City Police Department, the City of Tampa Florida, the United States Air Force, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the City of Chicago.