Rick Haggard has been in fleet management and transportation for 35 years. His career includes ten years with the City of Seattle and his current position as fleet manager for City Light, a role he’s held the past seven years. “I’m responsible for the utility’s fleet assets,” Rick explained. “From downtown to our remote facilities, we have about 1,000 pieces of equipment. We want to be the safest fleet; we want to prevent injury by being the most ergonomic fleet; and we want to do it efficiently and effectively to make sure everyone returns home for ‘The Other 16.’ ”
A native Washingtonian (“I’m one of the originals,” he joked), Rick grew up in Grapeview and attended Olympic College where he studied automotive technology. “It was always my goal to achieve a maintenance management position,” Rick said. “I’ve taken every class that’s been offered and have been involved in everything from conferences and education sessions to fleet management 101 and front line leadership. I’ve taken advantage of it all.”
Rick lives in Smokey Point with his wife Joenel. “We love to travel to warm weather destinations—St. Lucia, Jamaica, Hawaii,” Rick shared. “This year, we’re planning a trip to Mexico.” He also keeps busy as the vice-chair for the North American chapter of the National Affiliation of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) safety advisory committee and serves as the local safety chair for NAFA’s Puget Sound chapter. He’s also a NAFA Certified Automotive Fleet Manager.
In this week’s (spot)Light, Rick talks about his work and life in the Northwest.
“I love the natural beauty of the Northwest and feel fortunate to have grown up here. I’m a boater so I like being close to the water. We like to cruise the San Juan Islands; my favorite is Sucia Island. Many Canadians also visit which creates a feeling of comradery on the water. As the seasons come, we go fishing and crabbing. I also like to scuba dive and hunt.”
“I’ve always been fascinated with equipment and vehicles. I started working in a garage when I was 15—sweeping floors, pumping fuel, etc. Soon after, I started doing tires and preventive maintenance and became a full-fledged Master Mechanic. This line of work just came natural to me. I can look at something and fix it.”
“I started City Light’s fleet maintenance department with two people. We now have a full, robust program. Our teams design equipment and meet with our employees to determine their needs and areas of improvement. We also offer ergonomic and emission reduction solutions. In fact, we were just named the 13th greenest fleet in North America by Green Fleet Magazine. I have a great team of people who are focused, dedicated and very proud of what they do. My team has been nominated and awarded the Light Power and Pride award every year for the past five years. It’s hard work to accomplish what we have.”
“I like the diversity and comradery of the utility. The diversity in the City is astonishing. There are so many different cultures, different people, different opinions, different stories. Every year, our group organizes a car show which is a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. The event attracts people from all over the utility, but has expanded with people from different City departments participating. It’s a testament to the wide variety of people who work here.”