AFLA Brings Innovation; BP Fuel Recall


Tom Callahan, Donlen COO, is currently serving as Executive Vice President of AFLA, the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association. Founded in 1969, AFLA is one of the fleet industry’s foremost organizations for networking, education, and standards. Tom has been actively involved in the upcoming Annual Conference, serving as this year’s Conference Chair, and wanted to share some thoughts here.

Innovation is Right Around the Corner

We’re only a few weeks away from AFLA’s Annual Conference – Innovation: Shaping Our Future For Growth – to be held September 10-12 at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country in San Antonio, Texas. You do not want to miss it.

Innovation will be key to our industry’s success as we compete in a global market and with limited resources. The AFLA Conference Committee has lined up a dynamite list of speakers including:

  • Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity: The Business of Innovation
  • Josh Linkner, NY Times best-selling author: Executing Imagination: Turning Creative Fire into Real Results
  • Tamara Darvish, DARCARS Automotive Group: Protecting Our American Dream

The conference has no less than seven top speakers in their respective fields of endeavor covering topics including harnessing creativity and imagination to drive results; impact of CNG on the fleet industry; US energy policy, present and future; a provocative look at one of this country’s great entrepreneurial success stories – the automotive dealer; and an insightful and sometimes humorous analysis of the upcoming US Presidential election and economic outlook. These are sessions of great importance to anyone managing a fleet today. Topics include:

  • Fleet Safety…Benchmarking, Collaboration and Best Practices: Saving Lives, Reducing Injuries, Collisions, and Costs
  • Automotive Outlook: Back from the Brink, Now for the Golden Age
  • Natural Gas Vehicles: An American Energy, Economic, and Environmental Answer

In addition, there will be a Monday Night Football themed “kick-off” to the conference and there are several planned networking activities scheduled. And, this year there is a very cool (dare I say “innovative”?) mobile app that can be downloaded on your smartphone. It will provide information on conference agenda, times, attendees, meeting locations, and networking venues – all in real time. The app will also include a site map, social media links, polls, and feedback for participants to rate speakers, alerts, an “info booth”, and more.

I’d like to personally thank the members of the Conference Committee for all the hard work so far in planning this event – numerous conference calls; onsite visits to the facilities; thoughtful suggestions on overall theme and agenda; innovative ideas on speakers and topics; and a real passion for making the conference a great event – a “must attend” for the fleet industry.

Hope to see you in San Antonio.

Full conference schedule

To register

Earlier this week, BP experienced quality issues with unleaded, regular-grade gasoline in the Chicago, Milwaukee, and Northwest Indiana area. This may have affected about 200 retail outlets in the area. The source of the contamination was identified, and on August 23, BP said that they “continue to systematically inspect and test the distribution system served by the refinery. BP has confirmed that regular gasoline supplied to gas stations in Northwest Indiana, Chicagoland, and Milwaukee is back within normal specifications. Testing of this gasoline will continue to ensure quality.” They also released a dedicated 800-number hotline where customers can report any issues with their vehicles as a result of purchasing the fuel in question, and have established a dedicated claims facility to speed processing of consumer calls and claims.

For more information >

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Upcoming Webinars and Conferences

Hertz Value Lease™: Join us to learn more about this groundbreaking new leasing alternative! Hertz Value Lease™ gives fleets an attractive alternative to a traditional, longer-term vehicle lease. Now, with access to the vast pool of quality Hertz vehicles, fleets can lease for a shorter time at lower cost.

See a live demo; register now
> Thursday, September 13, 2012; 11:00 am – Noon CDT

AFLA Annual Conference: Don’t miss this opportunity to network with your peers and learn about the industry’s hottest topics. Innovation: Shaping Our Future For Growth, September 10-12, 2012, Hyatt Regency Hill Country, San Antonio, Texas.


Green Fleet Conference: Donlen is proud to be a Premier Sponsor for one of the industry’s premier events dedicated to fleet sustainability. Head to the Midwest for the annual Green Fleet Conference & Expo, October 2-3, 2012, Renaissance Schaumburg, Schaumburg, IL.


Driver’s Corner

School has started already in many parts of the country, and that means school buses are back on the roads. But it also means that the flow of traffic can be impacted. There are some rules you must obey when driving around buses, and there are some common sense things to do as well.

  • When a bus stops and flashes red lights, you must stop no matter which direction you’re traveling – in some states, even if it’s on the other side of a divided highway.
  • Stop at least 20 feet from a bus and remain stopped until the lights stop flashing.
  • Learn which routes are the most frequented in your area, and alter your route accordingly.
  • Leave plenty of room knowing buses make frequent stops, not only to pick up children, but also before crossing railroad tracks.
  • When you do start moving again, watch carefully for children, particularly in drop-off areas.

And Finally…

And finally, if you’ve ever longed to own a true classic car, now may be your chance. GM CEO Dan Akerson is auctioning off his 1958 Corvette with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity Detroit and the rebuilding of the city’s lower east side neighborhoods. A classic American car and a great cause: a really good combination in our book.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on August 24, 2012

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (, with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”