Guest blogger Kate Vigneau is the Director of the NAFA Fleet Management Association’s Professional Development where she is responsible for shaping the content of NAFA’s education and certification programs. Vigneau spent 26+ years in the Canadian Army, retiring as a Lieutenant-Colonel in 2010 to open KMVS Fleet+Consulting. There, she spent more than 8 years serving fleet clients such as NAFA, NATO, the United Nations, the Canadian military, and other organizations.
Q: Tell us a little bit about how your involvement with the fleet industry came about.
A: Until I joined NAFA in 1999, I was a career Army Officer with fifteen years of logistics experience and no plans to specialize in fleet. I liked trucks as much as the next transportation officer, but also enjoyed working in finance, career management and supply chain. Around this time, however, I was promoted to Major and given the responsibility of overseeing our national fleet program. Feeling that my training and experience were not up to the task, I took the Certified Automotive Fleet Management (CAFM®) program in 2000, and the rest is history.
Q: You seem to love the field of fleet management. What inspires that?
A: My enthusiasm for fleet education and training stems from the continued hard work from NAFA’s devoted volunteer leaders in education, and the fact that NAFA’s education seminars and certification programs are so good. I am confident that our programs are the best in the industry and best-in-class.
Q: Do you think being a certified fleet manager makes a difference in a career?
A: Most definitely, and I am not the only one who sees the value in NAFA’s certification programs. Monster.com recently released a report on the top certifications to boost your salary. The CAFM® program was on their list and they cited a 27% salary increase by virtue of holding this designation.
Q: Does it require significant time commitment to enroll in the program?
A: One of the best things about the program is its accessibility, even to someone balancing a heavy workload and family responsibilities. All CAFM® study materials are provided online within days of enrollment. Volunteers have also developed additional resources for those who want to use them (fees apply). The online Boot Camp series was launched in November 2015 and has been both well-attended and well-received. In addition, now you can take certification exams almost anywhere. The preferred testing method is on-line at our network of partner test centers. If there are no centers in your area, you can test at a local high school, community college, or even with a fellow CAFM® in their workspace.
Q: At Agile, we see tremendous value in NAFA’s CAFM® program because it helps the industry master the discipline of fleet management at a high level. We are proud to endorse it and open up more opportunities for certified fleet managers to maintain their certification. Why is it important to recertify?
A: Professional education does not end with walking across the NAFA stage at our annual Conference and receiving your Certification. Re-certification is required every five years and can be accomplished in many ways, including through involvement with Agile Fleet’s subject matter experts at industry events, when they join with Agile Fleet on a panel on a technical webinar, or contribute to e-books, or author a white paper on fleet management. For more on these opportunities, visit Agile Fleet's CAFM® and CAFS® Recertification Credits web page.
Q: Any final thoughts on the future of the NAFA certification program?
A: In the years ahead, NAFA’s seminars and educational programs will continue to be increasingly flexible and accessible while leading our members towards outstanding professional expertise in the discipline of fleet management. Samples of the topics covered in NAFA’s programs will appear in this Blog in coming months to highlight key areas of the program.
For more on NAFA education or to enroll in the certification program, see Why Get Certified on NAFA's website.