NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The 99th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s supervisor of vehicle management and analysis brought home a Department of Defense-level award last month in recognition of outstanding management of Nellis’ government vehicle fleet.
Kelly Keebler, 99th LRS Vehicle Management and Analysis and Materiel Control Supervisor, won the 2013 Bob Baker Fleet Manager of the Year Award in the military large fleet category, adding to a number of impressive performance-based awards earned by the squadron already this year.
According to Honolito Directo, 99th LRS Vehicle Management Flight chief, Keebler is responsible for providing vehicle support to two bases, six wings, 87 units and three geographically separated sites in two states to include the 2.9-million acre Nevada Test and Training Range and the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, Calif.
Nellis is home to Air Combat Command’s largest government vehicle fleet and the third largest Air Force-wide. With vehicles ranging from hybrid sedans to full-size buses, the diversity of the fleet requires extensive coordination and flexibility.
“We’re responsible for roughly 2,000 vehicles on Nellis and Creech,” said Keebler. “Every vehicle on this base needs to be authorized and my job is to make sure every unit has the vehicle they need to accomplish their task.”
Distribution and accountability for the Nellis fleet is just one of the responsibilities taken on by Keebler and 99th LRS. The daily operation of 2,000 vehicles in triple-digit temperatures creates the need for frequent maintenance and inspection to ensure the safety of operators.
“Another significant part of our job is analysis,” Keebler said. “We deal with a lot of numbers; we track every oil-change, tire change, maintenance activities and recommend vehicles to be replaced.”
Keebler was assigned to Nellis as the 99th LRS vehicle maintenance superintendent in 2007 as a senior master sergeant with 27 years in service. He had invested three years in Nellis and was hoping to rank up to chief master sergeant when a new civilian position opened at the top level of management.
“I was just a mechanic, that’s all I had known for 27 years,” said Keebler. “In vehicle maintenance there are two kinds of people; mechanics and controllers – and they usually don’t like each other.”
Despite his mechanic’s perception of “controllers,” Keebler seized the opportunity for a smooth transition into a familiar civilian career. He retired from the active duty Air Force in 2010 and walked right into his new position. Every morning he drove to the same base, walked into the same building and saw the same people; he just wore different clothes.
“There were a lot of applications for this job and I’m relieved that I did so well; I’m very fortunate,” Keebler said.
Since taking over the position, Keebler has implemented numerous policies and procedures that make coordination of the fleet a more manageable undertaking. Processes have been automated, approval chains have been streamlined and personnel changes have been made to allow for more training in vehicle maintenance. Keebler also oversaw the adoption of the first hybrid vehicles into Nellis’ government fleet.
Keebler takes pride in knowing that he played a major role in helping the 99th LRS win this year’s Daedalian Award, which named them the best organization of their kind in the Air Force.
But now he has an award all his own.
“Whenever we can coordinate with customers and provide what they need to accomplish a task then it’s a good day,” Keebler said. “It’s really a fun job and knowing that we make a difference is awesome.”