Indianapolis Service Center
Indianapolis Service Center
From mopping floors to driving a shuttle bus, from being a Service Writer all the way to where he is today as the General Manager of the Dickinson Fleet Indiana/Kentucky markets, Rich Schlatter has done it all.
Rich was hired in February 2014 as the Regional Service Manager for Region 60-001, which covered the Indiana, Southern Ohio and Kentucky markets. Under Rich’s direction, the region grew to over 25 technicians in less than 2 years. In July of 2015, Rich was promoted to General Manager of the Indianapolis Service Center.
“At that point, I had 2 titles. I was the General Manager of the Indianapolis Service Center in addition to my role as Regional Service Manager of Region 60-001 while the search was underway for a new RSM.”
Main duties of being General Manager include managing customers and technicians, while maintaining and growing the organization. Rich also played a key role in bringing in new business, working alongside sales representatives to bring the operational perspective to new customers and prospects for Dickinson Fleet Services. In addition, he is always looking for top talent to join his team as technicians.
“Every day is an adventure at Dickinson Fleet Services. You never know day-to-day what you may be experiencing or dealing with out in the field. It could be working with customer service personnel/technicians, doing interviews, or even out there turning wrenches. Each day is something different and I love the challenge that brings to the table. We’re willing to do whatever it takes to create the best possible outcome for our clients.”
“The level of responsibility and things that they have entrusted me with speaks volumes about this great company. I have the freedom to make the decisions that need to be made to get the job done. I also have scheduling flexibility to do whatever is needed to deliver for our clients. You just don’t see this type of freedom and flexibility with other companies out here. I also love the ability to be promoted and grow within the company. The recognition and career growth opportunities here are second to none.”
Over the years, Rich has seen the leaders of Dickinson Fleet Services develop a list of training initiatives to take people through a very specific training schedule. Everything has evolved to where it is clearly outlined and consistent throughout all levels of the company. Training capabilities for our technicians have also increased by partnering with key vendors and customers.
“We now have our own Learning Management System and there has been an incredible training progression over the years that we all should be proud of.”
Rich says the key attributes to be successful at Dickinson Fleet are maintaining a great work ethic and having the grit to get through the long days.
“Tough things do happen out here and there are going to be days where you have to battle through the elements (weather, scheduling, etc). It’s important to be a self-starter with a willingness to learn. If you can do all of these things, then you can be extremely successful here.”
The ultimate reward at Dickinson Fleet for Rich has been the ability for him grow as a person and a leader along with the advancement opportunities presented to him at Dickinson Fleet Services. While he has come a long way, he still believes there will be more growth to come.
“I don’t believe a ceiling exists here. I believe I will reach the VP level at this company. In five years, I see myself still being here in some type of VP/Operations role. Where we are going with growth and acquisitions, I definitely see some openings coming at that level.”
Northeast Ohio to Western Pennsylvania
Charlie Thomas was working a dead-end job. Long hours, no sense of fulfillment and no long-term vision…he was frustrated and looking for change.
The year was 2007 and that’s when a mutual friend introduced Charlie to Ted Coltrain, our now Executive Officer at Dickinson Fleet Services, to talk about coming on board at our family-owned company. Their first meeting was in the small town of Salem, Ohio and from the beginning Charlie was all-in on Ted’s company vision.
“We talked a lot about long-term career growth. He shared with me his vision for the future of Dickinson Fleet Services. I could tell it was something in which he believed, and I could see a path to my personal career growth within the company.”
Charlie came on board as a mobile technician for 6 years before taking on the role of Regional Service Manager (RSM) in 2013. His region was Northeast Ohio to Western Pennsylvania.
“I took a chance coming to Dickinson Fleet Services, and that chance has really paid off. Ted’s vision for company and career growth was pretty correct. My intention was to come in as a tech and move up the ladder. I’ve been able to challenge myself and do that very thing”
Charlie is now the General Manager of the region in which he was the RSM over, Northeast Ohio to Western Pennsylvania. He also serves as the General Manager of our Columbus location. Thomas has held this position for about 4 months now and is really liking the new challenge.
“I’m not that guy who goes to work just to collect a paycheck, Sure, we all need money to live, but I like to be challenged. I want to make a difference in what I do and this company allows me to do just that.”
“Honestly, every single day is a little different from the day before. I could be in Cleveland helping technicians in the morning and later I’m on-site at a customer’s location solving their problems. Then the next day, I am in Columbus helping our Regional Manager grow his operation there. I love having the change of pace in what I do.”
Charlie exhibits “servant leadership” to its fullest, as he’s still one of the first to get in the trenches and turn some wrenches to help out his team when they need an extra hand. Charlie’s worth ethic was something that became evident very quickly and has been instrumental in his success within our company as it has grown.
“I believed in Ted and that I had the chance to be a part of something bigger when I joined the Dickinson Fleet Services team. It feels like this company has grown 100 times larger over the years. The great thing is that I have been able to grow as well and that has been incredibly rewarding to me.”
We’re very proud of employees like Charlie Thomas here at Dickinson Fleet Services. It feels good to have team members buy into our company vision and experience great rewards along the way. We look forward to sharing many more stories like that of Charlie’s in the future.
Jose Feliciano has known for most of his life that he wanted to work in the automotive mechanic industry. Years later, he has not only successfully achieved this goal, but has created a new standard of excellence for others in his field.
While in college, Jose began taking auto mechanic classes to determine if that career path was a good fit. He found that he struggled with a traditional university format for learning, but that he excelled in more hands-on opportunities. He looked for jobs at small, local transmission shops and discovered that he had an aptitude for diagnosing auto issues and creating a solution.
When he learned of an opportunity to work at Dickinson Fleet Services, Jose decided to take the chance to show off his skills as a technician.
“I was a little apprehensive at first, because I had never worked for a large company,” Jose said as he recalled his beginnings at DFS. “But since day one at Dickinson, I knew this was the right career path for me.”
Jose began his new job as a heavy truck technician who was primarily tasked with smaller jobs as he gained experience and knowledge in his role. Soon, his consistently high quality of work was noticed by his superiors, and he was given a large account to work on. His diagnostics work was unparalleled and virtually always accurate down to the last detail, which prompted his superiors to give him more complicated jobs. Instead of being tasked with preventative maintenance only, he began to complete difficult and complex repairs, demonstrating his considerable skill every time.
Now, as a Lead Tech in Orlando, Jose has set his sights on becoming the best in his field nationwide – and Dickinson Fleet Services is doing their part to help.
In 2016, DFS began to host an annual company-wide competition to determine which of their talented team members was the Top Tech in each of three departments. The winner and runner-up in each division advance to the TMC SuperTech event, in which the top technicians from trucking companies across the country compete to see who can prove their skills in a combination of written and hands-on challenges.
For the last four years, Jose has competed alongside his colleagues in the Top Tech contest – and has qualified for TMC SuperTech every time,
“In the first year of Top Tech, I came in second place,” Jose recalled. “And I really started thinking about how I could get better the next year.”
It is this attitude of always seeking to improve his personal best that has brought Jose the honor of qualifying for TMC SuperTech every year – and this year, he achieved a new goal of becoming the Top Tech in the Heavy Truck division at DFS. Now, he is off to TMC SuperTech in September to represent Dickinson Fleet Services once again.
For Jose, the Top Tech competition is about more than just winning his division. In a manner true to the work ethic he has upheld for years, Jose’s first priority is using the competition as a means of bettering his own skills and delivering excellent service for every job he does.
“This competition really provides some of the best hands-on training,” said Jose. “The confidence gained from competing each year carries over into what we do on a daily basis for our clients.”
Along with increased confidence, the Top Tech competition provides ample opportunities to learn about new techniques and increased knowledge of industry updates. By fostering an environment that encourages daily learning and giving one hundred percent to each job, DFS has created a team full of people who are constantly striving to make each day a little better than the last.
As TMC SuperTech 2019 approached, Jose felt that he and the rest of the representatives from Dickinson Fleet Services were better prepared than ever. In fact, he and his colleagues have become so well-acquainted with the TMC SuperTech event that they have started to coach new competitors from DFS who haven’t experienced this level of competition in the past. His best piece of advice for novice competitors is to not get hung up on any one particular challenge in the event, but to treat each new station as a new opportunity for professional growth.
“Treat it as a learning experience that will carry over into your job when you get back,” Jose said. “The more people who are involved, the more we can all do better as a company.”