Q & A: Kim Chapman, Director of Fleet Services
Kim Chapman is the director of Jackson EMC’s fleet services. She oversees Jackson EMC’s fleet, which includes more than 258 total vehicles: 131 light vehicles, 38 spare/pool vehicles, 19 small service bucket trucks, and 70 large bucket trucks and digger/derrick trucks. We sat down together to discuss her position and the unique role she plays in serving Jackson EMC’s members.
Q: How long have you been in this current position?
A: I’ve been the director of fleet services for around two and a half years now, but I’ve worked at Jackson EMC for 22 years.
Q: Have you always worked in fleet services?
A: I started out in accounts payable in 1997. Then, I moved from there to work order accounting and then to purchasing specialist. I served as our purchasing specialist for 17 years before finally moving to my current position, director of fleet services, in 2017.
Q: What do you do in your role as director of fleet services?
A: My position is unique. I’m in charge of purchasing and maintaining our fleet, which includes all vehicles and equipment. We have automotive shops at our corporate office, Oakwood and in Gwinnett. Including myself, there are 14 fleet employees.
Q: Tell me more about the different roles within Operation Support Services?
A: First, there’s Purchasing. They order all the lights, poles, and other supplies our crews might need. Then there’s Facilities. They work to make sure all the different buildings are well kept for our employees and members. Safety/Training is also in our department. They make sure that Jackson EMC employees are up-to-date on safety training and following the latest safety protocol. And then there’s us, Fleet Services. We purchase and maintain all Jackson EMC vehicles and equipment.
Q: It seems like everything within Operation Support Services is more “behind the scenes.” Can you describe the importance of what you and your department do to help provide reliable power to our members?
A: Simply put, Jackson EMC employees are who we support. OSS makes sure that our trucks, facilities, and crews have everything they need to perform their jobs. Fleet wants to make sure that our linemen have the best equipment possible to restore power effectively and efficiently.
Q: What would you say are the most challenging/rewarding aspects of your position?
A: It takes a lot of work, but it’s so rewarding to know that we’re able to provide safe, reliable trucks for our crews to use. The crews are confident in their vehicles and equipment. They know if they need any assistance on a vehicle, the automotive shops are always willing to help.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory from working at Jackson EMC?
A: There’s been a lot of great times, but specifically in fleet services, my favorite part has been working on the Vehicle Equipment Advisory Committee. Through the Committee, we’ve given linemen a voice in some decisions with vehicles and equipment that directly impact their work. We work with linemen to update vehicle specifications, and then place and receive new orders based on those specifications. It’s been amazing to be a part of that process.
Q: If someone was interested in joining your team, what are some things you’d look for in a potential hire?
A: We need employees who are willing to work with a variety of vehicles. Having knowledge of medium and heavy-duty trucks is a big plus, because they’re such specialized vehicles. We always ensure that our mechanics have updated training, either with bucket and derrick manufacturer training on site or at other co-ops that are hosting training. We also have our own master mechanics test that is given to new mechanics. It’s important that our team is always prepared to provide the best service possible.