An ACT News Executive Interview with Joe Stergios, Corporate Business Development Manager, Enterprise Fleet Management, St. Louis, Missouri
Joe Stergios is passionate about fleet management, and after 28 years in the business, colleagues regularly use words such as knowledgeable, inspirational, creative, intelligent, and invaluable business partner to describe what it’s like to work with Joe. He started out on the rental side of the business, before moving over to fleet management with Enterprise 25 years ago, and counts experience in effectively driving sales, lead management, fostering strategic national accounts, and training.
In 2015 Joe was offered the opportunity to move to the corporate office, in St. Louis, Missouri. His wide-ranging responsibilities include OEM and supply chain management, sales training, competition strategy, special initiatives, sustainability, and participating in national associations.
Enterprise Fleet Management has more than 50 fully staffed offices in the U.S. and Canada, with a fleet management team of experts dedicated to helping their customers achieve sustainable growth by providing solutions to manage business processes more efficiently, minimize costs and increase productivity. Founded in 1957, it is an affiliate of Enterprise Holdings Inc., the largest car rental company in the world, and owned by the Taylor family of St. Louis, Missouri.
The team’s expertise covers the full spectrum of a vehicle’s lifecycle, including acquisition, registration, maintenance, use reporting, fuel card programs and resale, as well as fleet analysis and optimization.
ACT News caught up with Joe Stergios to learn more about his passion for fleet management.
ACT News: How do you separate Enterprise Fleet Management from other competition in the industry?
Joe Stergios: As leasing companies started to morph into Fleet Management Companies (FMCs) in the ’80s and ’90s, Enterprise’s evolution was unique because we run our operation alongside a growing rental car company. This really enhanced our ability to engage organizations with smaller and mid-sized fleets. Decision makers at these fleets require a high level of plan customization and fine-tuning. The combination of an established infrastructure and our diverse, local presence afford us an advantage.
ACT News: How do you foster innovation at Enterprise Fleet Management?
Joe Stergios: There has always been a varied array of services that fall under the category of “fleet management,” and when connected-vehicle technology hit the streets earlier this decade, things really got interesting. At Enterprise, we take the lead from our customers – as their needs change, we adapt by assessing what new technologies provide the best value and allow us to exceed our customers’ expectations.
ACT News: What drew you to Enterprise Fleet Management originally? And how has Enterprise Fleet Management changed since?
There has always been a varied array of services that fall under the category of “fleet management,” and when connected-vehicle technology hit the streets earlier this decade, things really got interesting.
Joe Stergios: Like so many Enterprise employees, I started my career as a Management Trainee in our car rental division. I knew I wanted to get into business and I was also a bit of a gearhead. Plus, Enterprise offered me the chance to oversee full profit & loss responsibilities for a branch operation very early in my career.
After a few years on the rental side, our fleet management division offered me a sales position. That was 25 years ago, and a lot has changed in the industry and in the way we approach the business of fleet management.
One big change is that the decision-making has become a lot more quantitative. Decision makers – both public and private – want to see a plan’s likely outcome in terms of operations, brand and—of course—economic effect. Because of this, our entire industry has become more data-driven. Fortunately, our owners, the Taylor family, are committed to investing in technological advancements to meet our customers’ transportation needs.
ACT News: What is on your wish list for the next 10 years with Enterprise Fleet Management?
Joe Stergios: Vehicles will continue to become cleaner, safer and more efficient. As this happens, our role as a transportation provider will change as well. Fortunately, our fleet is well-positioned to quickly and efficiently introduce millions of consumers to new fuel and vehicle technology, especially as transportation infrastructure and alternatives, including autonomous vehicles, evolve in the future.
ACT News: What advice would you give to recent new hires at Enterprise Fleet Management?
Vehicles will continue to become cleaner, safer and more efficient. As this happens, our role as a transportation provider will change as well.
Joe Stergios: The business is about planning, execution and continuous refinement. When you’re new to the industry, it can be hard to wrap your mind around all of the functional buckets, which include: vehicle acquisition, funding, compliance, operational products, and remarketing (the process of taking a vehicle out of service). Because of this wide array of functions, fleet management is a great industry for curious people. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and say, “I don’t get it” or, “I don’t see the value in that.”
ACT News: How do you define “success?”
Joe Stergios: I define success as the progressive realization of a worthy goal. If you can’t seem to locate a worthy goal that sufficiently motivates you, just start in a direction and the picture will become clear. It’s got to be your own vision, and not somebody else’s.
ACT News: What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?
Joe Stergios: Before taking on a corporate position in 2015, I had been a salesperson and manager my entire career. My biggest realization has been that business is about a lot more than sales. There is no doubt that market acceptance and top-line revenue are critical. However, it takes steady management at the top, combined with financial stability and consistency in exceeding our customers’ expectations, to run a successful business for the long term.