Fleet Response announced that, effective immediately, Allison Lanzilotta, executive vice president will assume the role of president, along with Scott Mawaka as CEO.
Mawaka describes this promotion as a statement about Lanzilotta's character and growth.
"With her natural people skills and intelligence, she earned respect and went from an hourly operations role to earning my absolute confidence. For a privately-held, second generation company to declare the highest level of responsibility to a non-blood relative - that's significant."
Lanzilotta grew up in Rocky River, Ohio and attended Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. After graduating in 1999 with a degree in molecular biology and business management, she returned to Northeast Ohio and began her job search. Spotting a newspaper ad for a small family-owned business known as Rental Concepts Inc. (RCI), she applied for a job in their subrogation department and was hired after a successful interview with owner Ron Mawaka, Sr., who founded the company in 1986.
Lanzilotta attributes much of her career growth to Scott, who took on the role of CEO/president in 2016 - a company doing business as Fleet Response since 2003. She's been along for the ride and became a driver as the company expanded from managing temporary business rentals to comprehensive corporate accident management.
"'Scott's been great at challenging me and allowing me to work on open-ended on projects with autonomy. He'd always answer my questions and give feedback but pushed me to learn as I go. He helped me set goals and a vision, with lots of brainstorming on the strategy side. His belief in me and my ability has helped me a ton. We developed a great working relationship and a personal one too. Knowing his wife and two daughters has strengthened the trust and respect we have for each other."
Mawaka describes himself as "a people person" and being in sales, he gravitated toward that same quality in Lanzilotta.
"She has this natural magnetism. When she walks into a room and smiles, you say I want to talk to that person.' She exudes confidence and always has good things to say about people. And she was extremely organized. What you asked her to do, she got done. She has taken ownership of every role given to her and does it with incredible balance among a wide range of personalities across our business lines."
Mawaka sees Lanzilotta's promotion as "probably overdue" since she has been performing most of the role of president for the last year or two.
"It's time for her to receive the recognition and clear authority that comes with the title of president. She's earned this position and has my full confidence. This promotion makes it clear - she is the boss," says Mawaka with a smile.
Lanzilotta doesn't see any major changes coming with her promotion to president - because she's mostly been playing that role for several years.
"I'm already involved in every area of the organization, so there won't be major changes in how I operate. I've always been consistent in my management style and clear with expectations. I listen to everyone's perspective and ideas. That's how we come up with creative solutions.”
Lanzilotta said she is proud of the Fleet Response leadership's efforts to keep a family feel in a company that's grown to over 300 employees.
"We want every employee to feel valued, able to make recommendations and have a voice. I experienced that myself. It keeps people motivated to stay, so l put a lot of energy into making sure employees are engaged and valued."
She's also proud to have played a key role in the 2021 acquisition of Paragon Subrogation Services, a landmark moment in the company's history. She was involved in determining if it was a right fit, making an offer, managing negotiations, funding the deal, and leading the integration of two independent businesses into one stronger company.
Lanzilotta makes it clear she will continue to lead Fleet Response as a team player.
"I assure everyone that Scott is not going anywhere! Our leadership team has strategic plans for continued investments into our systems, processes, and people. We are a stable company focused on growth, innovation and best in class service to our clients."