In this insightful conversation with Shawn Lester, Fleet Manager at Gaubert Oil, he brings to the table a rare perspective on the operational and logistical aspects of the role. This discussion promises to illuminate the responsibilities, challenges, and successes that define the life of a fleet manager, as seen through the eyes of a veteran in the field of transportation and logistics.
Q. What is your title and how long have you been in that role?
A. I’m the Fleet Manager at Gaubert Oil – for all divisions. I’ve been in that role for two years as of Thanksgiving. That brings up an interesting conversation. I had a Harley-Davidson motorcycle when I took the job. The weekend before I was supposed to start in the new role, I was in a bad motorcycle wreck. I flipped it 7 times. I was in the hospital and came in to work on Monday pretty beat up.
Q. What was your previous role?
A. I was a dispatcher. What drew me to taking the fleet manager position was when I found out Chad was going to be my supervisor. I was basically going back and working with the guy who taught me everything I know as far as dispatch, and now he is my supervisor. And that’s gotten me to where I’m at.
Q. How long have you been with Gaubert Oil?
A. 11 years this month
Q: Briefly describe your current role.
A: I am responsible for everything from the heavy duty truck the tractor trailers down through you know, like the trailers, the maintenance trailers on the mobile fueling, and all of that. Everything and anything dealing with a delivery vehicle for Gaubert Oil. I will see the bill from a light bulb to a $90,000 engine swap.
Q: Were you born and raised in the Houma Thibodeaux area?
A: I grew up about 30 minutes from here in a little town. I grew up with a commercial fisherman. My mom and dad were commercial fishermen where they cleaned alligators and things of this nature.
Q: How long have you been married?
A: 15 years
Q. Do you have any children?
A. I have one. I have a little boy who was three in November. He will be something else. He’s gonna be just like me. He loves racing trucks and the whole nine yards.
Q: Any hobbies or interests outside of work?
A. Hunting and fishing. I used to like drag racing, motorcycles, and that kind of stuff. I love to travel.
Q: Can you tell me what type of education or training you have in your current role?
A: In this current role, the only education I honestly ever received was that I got my high school diploma, and then certifications along the way, working in the chemical plant we different types of certifications and safety certifications and things like that. I wish I would have kept everything, but I didn’t. ACLs training was a big one. I am looking into more training right now. I maintain my Class A CDL.
Q: How do you stay up to date and kind of stay in the know with what’s going on in the industry what is your process for that?
A: I think that’s where my interest is because I love these diesel vehicles. So, I’m always reading about the newest thing coming out with a truck right now something big as the electric vehicles. I was really curious to see it when I finally got the chance to put my eyes on it. And I subscribed to a few blogs and things of that nature, and emails. I recently aligned with the Louisiana Motor Carrier Travel Association.
Q. What are your most memorable career moments?
A. Finally getting an office job. And, getting the job I have now.
Q. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A. I take the team’s safety very seriously. I love knowing that everything goes fine, and everyone goes home safe.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
A. I like getting to do things for the community, especially kids. I’ve worked on fundraisers and events for the Bayou Country Children’s Museum. They asked me the join the board. I was asked to speak at Career Day for the eighth grade students. I also love teaching kids that you don’t have to go to college to earn a good living.
Q. What advice would you give a new driver?
A. Don’t be scared to ask questions. A 15-second mistake can cost $25,000.
Shawn’s practical approach and insights into daily operational challenges offer a valuable glimpse into the field. We appreciate Shawn for sharing his experiences, which illuminate the essential skills and knowledge required for effective fleet management.