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April 2022

Fleet director: ‘I love what I do’

Each month NPTC President and CEO Gary Petty writes a column in Fleet Owner magazine that focuses on the individuals, companies, best practices, and resources that make private trucking the force that it is in the American economy. Reaching more than 100,000 subscribers, three-quarters of whom are private fleet professionals, this column provides an excellent forum to communicate the value of the private fleet. Click here to view the archive.

Gary Petty | | Private Fleet Editor for FleetOwner Magazine
Gary Petty has more than 30 years of experience as CEO of national trade associations in the trucking industry. He has been the president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council since 2001.

Atlanta-based Aaron’s owns more than 2,000 vehicles spanning across fulfillment and service centers, retail stores, and manufacturing operations in the U.S and Canada.

Lewis Allen, CTP was born and raised in Greenport, New York. He joined the U.S. Navy upon his high school graduation. When his tour of duty was over, he relocated to the Atlanta area, where he eventually married his high school sweetheart and raised a family. While working full-time and raising a family, Allen attended Kennesaw State University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in management.

Allen held various jobs before being hired by UPS Package, which led to an account manager position at UPS Truck Leasing. After eight years with UPS, Allen joined the Home Depot. In his first four years, he worked at a local store where he drove a delivery truck and worked in just about every department in the store.

In 1994, a newly created position as DOT compliance manager became avail-able at the corporate office. Because of Allen’s background, and safety, he was hired on as the DOT compliance manager.

After two logistics jobs beyond the Home Depot, Allen was hired as a safety manager for Aaron’s.

Founded in 1955 and headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron’s engages in direct-to-consumer sales and lease ownership of furniture, home appliances, electronics, and accessories through its approximately 1,300 total stores, including 1,092 company-operated stores and 248 independently owned franchised stores in the U.S. and Canada, as well as its ecommerce platform.

Within two weeks of his hire, USDOT called to let him know that they were coming in to do a full-blown audit. Allen worked diligently and quickly to ensure that the company had the appropriate programs and controls in place, which resulted in a ‘Satisfactory’ rating.

Since joining Aaron’s, Allen has been intricately involved with many maturation efforts targeted at Aaron’s fleet pro-gram. A few of his most notable accomplishments are the development and implementation of a driver compliance program, outsourcing of fleet management and vehicle maintenance program components, installation and integration of both collision avoidance and telematics into the fleet, and shift to lighter and more efficient vehicles.

His leadership and that of his internal safety partners is needed more than ever with today’s complex headwinds for large fleets in combination with Aaron’s significant scale, with 2,000+ vehicles spanning across fulfillment centers, service centers, retail stores, and manufacturing operations across 47 states and several provinces of Canada. The fleet is managed by a total in-house team of six including Allen, and they partner closely with other functions such as safety to ensure the fleet pro-gram embraces sustainability and safety for their team members and those they share the road with. To that point, the fleet team is working hard to pilot electric and hybrid trucks as well as deploy additional in-cab technologies.

“I love what I do,” Allen said.

“The best part is when something comes up, we get the job done right the first time,” he continued. “We make sure the stores have the trucks they need to ser-vice their customers. We try to keep things simple for the stores to make that happen.” Allen has had a long-standing relationship with the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) and the Certified Transportation Professional (CTP) program.

“I applied to attend the Private Fleet Management Institute (PFMI) and study for the CTP exam with the Class of 2014,” Allen said.

“While attending PFMI, I was over-whelmed with the amount of information that was presented to the candidates by other fleet and supplier professionals,” he explained. “It was clear to me I did not know everything that I thought I knew about transportation. It was also a great experience to be around my peers and to share experiences around fleet and equipment, safety, operations, finance, human resources, and technology.

“After PFMI, I took the CTP exam and like all candidates, I was elated to know that I had passed,” he continued. “Over the years, I have had the opportunity to be part of the NPTC faculty to assist with training other potential CTP candidates and to speak at other NPTC events like the annual conference, the NPTC/J.J. Keller & Associates webcast series program, and the National Safety Conference.

“I am grateful for everything that NPTC and its staff have offered me,” Allen said. FO

One of Aaron's trucks. Photo Credit: Aaron's

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