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An Interview with Rob Wilson

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Rob Wilson has done an outstanding job for IPWEA leading the IPWEA FLEET team over a sustained period. Nevertheless, Rob has decided to step down from the Director role to focus on new pathways. During his time as Director, he has provided significant guidance to help increase professionalism and strategic thinking across the fleet community through the development of tools, education, and professional service offerings for IPWEA subscribers. Fleet intouch caught up with Rob as he transitions from the role to focus on other work-life priorities.

FI: Rob, how did you get started in the fleet management business?

RW: I started work as an apprentice engineering technician and over time moved into engineering design. This led to a Project Officer role in the Melbourne Fire Service’s fleet department. I worked in various roles in fleet, ultimately leading to the role of Director Fleet and Assets.

FI: What have you enjoyed most about your career?

RW: Fleet Management has a great mix of inter-personal, technical, and commercial elements. To me it’s a general management role with plenty of interesting challenges and opportunities. The last few years leading the IPWEA Fleet program has been a highlight and a great opportunity to immerse myself in the industry.

FI: What are some of the biggest changes in fleets and fleet management that you have seen over the years?

RW: Technology is a significant area of change. Not just in the assets but also in management systems such as telematics and Fleet Management Information Systems. The future of technology in plant and vehicles, such as automation and increasing advanced safety systems is intriguing.

I think the diversity of fleet managers is also a significant change. More women are taking on leadership roles. There is also more diversity in vocational backgrounds. We are increasingly seeing people involved from disciplines such as procurement, administration, and finance.

FI: What is your advice for someone entering the fleet industry today?

RW: Learn as much as you can about your profession. Undertake training and professional development. Network with other fleet practitioners. Take on different roles or projects that present themselves. Set yourself up for the next step in your career.

FI: What does the future hold for Fleet Practitioners?

RW: The role of the fleet manager will increasingly be one of facilitator and enabler as distinct from asset custodian. This will involve clearly understanding organisational requirements, solving problems, establishing, and managing contracts and supporting corporate and line manager decision making.

FI: You’re still going to be involved with IPWEA on a casual basis. What are you going to do the rest of the time?

RW: Primarily my objective is to have a bit more leisure time for my hobbies and other interests. I also look forward to having the flexibility to travel more frequently. I’ll continue to work in the industry as a fleet management consultant.

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