Cindy McDougall is Fleet Management Officer at the City of Tea Tree Gully, a 1,000 square kilometre local government area in the outer north-eastern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. McDougall is also a member of the IPWEA Fleet Council, which develops standards and resources for fleet management members of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia. She spoke to Fleet Auto News’ Caroline Falls about her experience in fleet for our Women In Fleet series.
What path did you take to reach fleet management?
Initially, I was helping with admin in the fleet area, then progressed to light fleet coordinator, looking after 110 light commercial vehicles. Over time my role evolved into fleet management officer, and now I oversee the purchasing and disposal, as well as custom builds of major plant. I am lucky to have great support and work with the workshop team.
Given that it is a male-dominated profession, was that seen as unusual?
Early on as light fleet coordinator, it was a little daunting. I had to ask questions to gain a better understanding of plant requirements, not having the mechanical / technical background. When attending any fleet-related workshops or conferences in SA, I was sometimes the only female. The wheels are changing, and women are now seen quite regularly within this area.
If you had to pick a career or job that was most akin to a fleet managers, what would it be — mechanic, accountant, information technologist, human resources?
Fleet managers have a broad range of skills. You need to be a good all-rounder, being able to multitask, plus listen well to understand end-user needs and wants. A high level of work health and safety knowledge is paramount to keep everyone safe. It can be very busy at times.
What do you love about your job?
I love the diversity of tasks, and being a part of the process from initial budget bids to signing off on the delivery. It gives me a great sense of achievement when the end user, who also contributes ideas and information, is taken forward to engage with new ideas, while always learning about plant and the various applications. I learn something new every day and love the interaction across the field with all our staff.
Can you describe your overall task at Tea Tree Council?
My role is about providing teams with safe, reliable fit-for-purpose equipment to enable works to be completed for the community.