SmartDrive customers lucky enough to have Marty Fletcher as their Customer Success Manager (CSM) know how fortunate they are. With years of experience and a passion that goes beyond simply helping his customers, Marty remains a standard bearer for safety in the trucking industry. Because of his experience, knowledge and willingness to help others, he was recently appointed to the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (USTAG ) for SAE and, as a former member of the SAE’s Truck & Bus Council, he has recently been asked to return to the Council – serving both roles at the same time.
Read about Marty and see why more and more fleets are turning to SmartDrive – and staying with us!
SmartDrive: Marty, please tell us about yourself.
Marty Fletcher: I joined SmartDrive in 2013, bringing over 40 years of field engineering experience in the automotive and trucking industries. My first assignment, when I transitioned to heavy duty trucking, was to become a fuel efficiency testing specialist, specifically in the combination of vehicle systems, drivetrain and aerodynamics. I was honored to be recruited as a Party Liaison to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for accident investigations, specifically for accidents involving collision avoidance systems, given we had begun installations in 1997.
Having been assigned as the Participant Fleet Administrator for a specific segment of the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative conducted by the DOT, NHTSA, and FMCSA from 1999 through 2002, I was fortunate to experience the benefits of active safety systems, electronically controlled disc brakes and on-board event data recorders. My career with SmartDrive has shown me the level of additional safety enhancement and risk reduction, which can be achieved with a managed video-based event recorder platform. I have been a member of SAE since 1999.
SD: But, there’s also another side to Marty. In addition to being a performance car and motorcycle enthusiast, he’s a former professional musician, who played guitar, keyboard and drums in bands specializing in Top 40 music for many years. Later in life, he acquired degrees in education, history and economics. He has 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
SD: How did you get into trucking?
MF: I made the jump from the auto performance business when approached by U.S. Xpress to upgrade the technology in all company vehicles. One of my first assignments was to evaluate and improve fuel efficiency. Eventually, I became responsible for all technology training, including onboard technology systems. This experience eventually led me to SmartDrive where I’m responsible for helping customers maximize their SmartDrive experience.
SD: What do you love about the trucking industry?
MF: I think most everyone agrees the trucking industry carries our economy. Where would we be as a country without it? Of any entity in transportation, the trucking industry has been – and is – the biggest advocate for safety technologies. I love watching the trend of safety technology development over the years and seeing the direct influence on lives saved.
SD: What do you like about SmartDrive, your job and your customers?
MF: SmartDrive has allowed me to stay focused in the areas of safety and fuel efficiency, along with risk and accident reduction. I love that our customers believe in our platform and seeing the results they experience.
SD: Tell me about SAE.
MF: SAE International, previously known as the Society of Automotive Engineers, is a U.S.-based, globally active professional association and standards developing organization for engineering professionals in various industries.
It’s been in operation for over 100 years.
SD: Why do you belong to SAE? What benefits do you get from being a member?
MF: I was asked to author a technical paper in 1999. After the paper was published, I did a presentation at SAE’s annual meeting and received the award for best presentation! Learning from my colleagues, I realized the importance of SAE and decided to join. I get the opportunity to offer my opinion on best practices and know that my voice is being heard. I can make a difference.
SD: What do you see as the biggest challenges to today’s fleets?
MF: Driver and technician recruitment. I also think the rising cost of equipment is a challenge, along with the lack of government incentives for the adoption of safety technologies and platforms. Programs, like SmartDrive, save money and lives. The government should incentivize fleets to acquire these systems to make our roads safer.
SD: If you could tell a customer one thing today, what would it be?
MF: I truly believe video event-based recorders are the greatest enhancement a fleet can make to its vehicles. Not only do they reduce costs, but they keep you, me and our families safe while we’re operating around vehicles on the road. I would also say, “Thank you for your partnership and believing in SmartDrive.” Oops, that was two things.
SD: If you could, what would you tell 10-year old Marty to prepare him for Marty today?
MF: Determine where your talents provide the greatest benefits and use them.
SD: What’s one thing you did in your life that prepared you for what you’re doing today?
MF: When I graduated from high school, I was in a band. After a year in college, I dropped out to pursue a music career. After many years, I decided to go back and finish my degree, and completed my degree in five years while running my own business and being a husband and father. I proved to myself I could accomplish this! I graduated just three years before going into the trucking industry. All this prepared me – and pointed me – in the direction where my talents could be best utilized.
I found, no matter what I was doing, I was teaching. From automotive retail to technical training, to my current role as a CSM, I am still a teacher and an advocate for my clients. I truly believe good teachers are born, not made, as many teachers have the credentials and the content knowledge, but the ability to impart that knowledge is the key.
SD: Lastly, Marty, what brings you joy?
MF: My family, my dog, my friends and … seeing my clients succeed using our program.
Marty’s passion for his family and his customers is infectious. We’re grateful he’s part of the SmartDrive family.