What were you doing 40 years ago? Me – I was enjoying one of those long hot summer days (weren’t they all back then) on holiday with my parents in Dawlish Warren, a favoured Devon destination.
Over in Brentford, a rather more momentous event was brewing. Brothers Ross and Bill Jackson had just put the finishing touches to the third edition of Fleet News, which they’d launched five months earlier (we’ve used their original logo on the cover and you can view a PDF of the first edition on our website).
Many of the articles were written by sadly departed Peter Cooke.
During the subsequent decades, this publication has upheld its original aim of providing vehicle fleet management insight and support to senior decision-makers.
It’s not our style to go around bragging about our successes.But, in the year of our 40th birthday, I believe some of the actions of my predecessors deserve acknowledgment.
After all, not only did they result in establishing this reputable, trustworthy and useful brand, they also helped champion good causes, support the industry and campaign for positive change.
Back in the 1980s, then-editor Rob Barrowman was leading the calls for lead-free petrol and launched Britain’s Safest Fleet at a time when safety was on no one’s agenda.
In the 1990s, we supported the BVRLA financially by giving it a stake in our successful Fleet Show, helping it become the leasing and rental powerhouse it is today.
And we were there at the birth of the ICFM, offering sponsorship, publicity and a bursary to help the fledgling organisation find its feet.
More recently we joined forces with BVRLA and ACFO to present the Fleet Manifesto to the transport minister ahead of the 2015 general election – several of our recommendations were introduced.
And this year we again combined, with the addition of Energy Saving Trust, to ensure fleets’ voices were heard by major city councils during their clean air zone consultations.
Since the launch of the Fleet News Awards 30 years ago we have used the opportunity of large fleet industry gatherings to raise money for charity.
Marie Curie has been a major beneficiary, receiving more than £230,000 over the past 18 years, but many others have also benefited from fleet sector generosity.
So, I thank my predecessors for all they have done. But we should look ahead, to a period of growing complexity and considerable change in fleet.
Technology is changing the role and function of fleet management, mobility is creating new opportunities for the movement of people, and urban transport policies and legislation are forcing everyone to come up with new ideas if they wish to continue operating efficiently and effectively.
It means changes for Fleet News, too. We are undergoing a strategic review that will result in a brand evolution to ensure we continue to lead as well as reflect the changing landscape.
More of that as we progress through 2018. For now, thanks for all your support over the years. Here’s to the next 40!