During its fifth decade, Enterprise Rent-A-Car left the old century behind and entered a new millennium … and celebrated 50 years in business. Along the way, the company surpassed milestone after milestone and set one new record after another – compiling a success story so compelling that it is being taught at dozens of universities.
With a newly adopted name that clearly reflected the predominant role of the neighborhood rental business, Enterprise Rent-A-Car launched an unprecedented era of expansion during its fourth decade. The company successfully applied and adapted its proven business model in new markets like Hawaii, Canada and Great Britain.
During its second decade, Enterprise continued to grow, expanding beyond its hometown St. Louis roots and beyond its core car rental and leasing business. Focusing on neighborhood locations and the needs of local renters, the company opened offices in Kansas City, Atlanta, Houston and key markets in Florida – in fact, it was in Orlando that an entrepreneurial manager pioneered our trademark “We’ll pick you up” service which was quickly adopted throughout our operations.
In early 1957, Jack Taylor was 35 years old and the sales manager for a suburban St. Louis Cadillac distributorship. He became increasingly intrigued by the relatively unheard of practice of leasing cars as an easy, convenient alternative to buying and owning a vehicle. Taking a gamble and a 50 percent cut in pay, the entrepreneur convinced his boss to let him establish an auto leasing business.
A fluent speaker of five languages, Stefanie resided in six different countries by the time she was 18. So it may have taken her a little by surprise when a couple of years ago—after finishing a master’s degree in Switzerland—she discovered a career “home” at Enterprise.
Two are helping implement the inaugural Management Training (MT) program in Spain, while one just became a part of it.
The most tenured of the trio is the fitness guru — Gerardo J., Branch Manager of the Chamartín train station in Madrid, Spain. He joined Enterprise’s International MT Program in 2013 and learned the ropes of the business in London knowing that he would return to Spain. Gerardo excelled and now is the first Branch Manager in the country who began his training outside of Spain.
When Erin G. joined the Enterprise Management Training Program in 2004 in Cleveland, she had no idea how far her career would take her. With a strong work ethic and eagerness to always take on more, she quickly excelled and made her way up the rental ranks at some of the largest neighborhood branches in the Cleveland area.
But Erin didn’t stop there. She set her sights on a new challenge – an airport branch.
In our ongoing series of “Five Question” blogs, we recently sat down with Pete D., Corporate Vice President of European Business Development, to chat about his career journey at Enterprise, discuss his new role and gather his general thoughts about leadership.
1. Tell us about your career journey at Enterprise:
For me, it all started in January 1996. I began my career with Enterprise as a Management Trainee right out of college in Newtown, Massachusetts, and it’s been an exciting ride ever since. I became Branch Manager within my first year and continued to take on expanding roles including Area Manager, Group Marketing Manager in Car Sales and Director of Business Rental – all in an effort to grow and develop as a leader. I left my hometown in Boston and moved to Arizona as Group Vice President in 2010. From there, I ventured overseas to Germany as Corporate Vice President to develop a strategy for growth to support both international and domestic rental demands.
What are your thoughts on our growth in Europe over the past few years?
Achieving growth starts with a great deal of hard work and a plan, especially in countries where we are starting from scratch and the Enterprise brand is unknown. At this point, each market or country is at a different level of maturity and evolution. In the U.K. for instance, we just celebrated 20 years, while in Spain and France we have owned the businesses for four years.
Many of our franchise countries joined the fold in 2015. Each one will have a different strategy for growth.
Simply mention the Management Training program to Céline R., and she has trouble containing her enthusiasm. “Oh my gosh, it changed my life,” she says.
It’s not really an exaggeration, notes the Assistant Manager of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car branch at Gare de Lyon in Paris, France. When Céline first learned about the MT program at a college job fair a couple of years ago, she’d never even heard of Enterprise before.