2017-09-07 / Business News

Rob Wilson

Vice president/general manager at Enterprise Holdings

Rob Wilson Rob Wilson An uncompromising commitment to customer satisfaction


NAME: Rob Wilson

TITLE AND COMPANY: Vice president/ general manager at Enterprise Holdings



NATURE OF BUSINESS: Car and truck rental, car sales, ride share, car share

EDUCATION: B.A. Economics, Duke University 1990

HOMETOWN: Palo Alto, Calif.

What improvements, innovations or changes do you foresee in your industry?

Development of autonomous vehicles. The U.S. car rental industry may very well be one of the early adopters of autonomous vehicles. Many drivers experience new automotive technologies for the first time in rental vehicles — at Enterprise, we call them “extended test drives.” Enterprise Holdings’ fleet of “virtual cars” is well positioned to quickly and efficiently introduce millions of consumers to new fuel and vehicle technology, especially as transportation infrastructure and alternatives, including autonomous vehicles, evolve in the future.

As a result, in late 2016, Enterprise Holdings submitted comments on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Federal Automated Vehicles Policy. Among other things, Enterprise Holdings urged NHTSA to recognize the rental industry and fleet management operators as key stakeholders in the development of state and federal policies.

As TheInformation.com news site reported in early 2017: “Enterprise, a 60-year-old company that owns and rents more cars in the U.S. than anyone else, is gaining newfound attention in Silicon Valley and Detroit, judging by conversations with tech executives lately. The reason is simple: Enterprise is one of the few companies that can manage large fleets of cars at scale. That’s a skill likely to be in demand as more companies launch ride-sharing services using self-driving cars.”

Name the top three elements or practices that have been absolutely critical in the success of your business?

Our adherence to a set of guiding principles established by our founder, Jack Taylor, when he started the business with a fleet of seven cars in the basement of a St. Louis Cadillac dealership in 1957. These founding values have served as the foundation for our growth and success for nearly six decades.

As a privately held company, we are in a unique position to make decisions for the long term. Our philosophy is that business is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash. We approach new opportunities conservatively, always placing a higher value on the longterm impact on our business than on the potential for short-term gain.

As the leading employer of college graduates, each year Enterprise hires thousands of smart, motivated men and women into our Management Training Program. This program teaches employees how to run a business and serves as our pipeline for future leadership. This promote-from-within culture is a driving force behind our success and our need to hire so many college-educated individuals each year. In fact, nearly all of the company’s current senior management started their careers as management trainees.

Within the context of your current marketing/promotional strategy, how do you differentiate your company from your competitors?

Enterprise Holdings’ heritage is unique: We pioneered and developed significant market demand for convenient, affordable car rentals away from the airport — right in the neighborhoods where customers live and work. That market segment then evolved into an insurance replacement business for consumers whose vehicles were in need of repair and, under the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand, grew into a robust neighborhood business that currently rivals the airport market.

The acquisition of the Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental brands in 2007, as part of one of the largest acquisitions in car rental industry history, nearly tripled our company’s airport U.S. market share overnight and enabled us to begin offering a diverse portfolio of brands to serve the unique needs of leisure and business travelers. Today, Enterprise Holdings’ three car rental brands consistently rank above the industry average for customer satisfaction at North American airports, and we’ve also taken the lead in market share at U.S. airports. We also continue to expand globally and establish our customer-service values at a growing number of airport locations worldwide. Enterprise Holdings’ diverse network now offers a total transportation solution at that includes extensive car rental services, as well as car sharing, truck rental, corporate fleet management and retail car sales.

What’s your superpower?

Our uncompromising commitment to customer satisfaction. That is the principle that has guided our company along our journey since the beginning, and it remains our goal today. Since 1957, we have focused on providing customers with a level of service that keeps them coming back to our flagship Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand as well as to our National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.

How are you growing and developing your employee skills?

Enterprise Holdings’ network of independent regional subsidiaries has earned a reputation as a great place to work, offering an attractive mix of hands-on training; opportunity to advance; and a strong, values-based culture.

The Enterprise Management Training Program helps new employees learn and advance their careers in a highly respected management development program. And their promote-from-within culture means significant opportunity for personal growth, professional advancement and performance-based compensation.

Some of the best training in any industry is offered, teaching employees the skills needed to run a business and prepare for long-term success, including a thorough grounding in highly respected service standards for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car customers. And employees are provided a chance to advance their careers at a faster pace than many other entry-level management employers.

How are you recruiting new talent into your organization?

Through a national recruiting strategy that is executed at the local level, Enterprise Holdings’ network of 200 talent acquisition specialists work diligently to communicate the company’s culture of opportunity to job candidates. Enterprise Holdings recruiters remain active on campus, attending career fairs, facilitating seminars, coordinating mock interviews and working with student organizations.

To find qualified candidates for our management training program, Enterprise also uses several online career resources such as job boards (CareerBuilder, Monster), job aggregators (Indeed, Simply Hired) and social media — in addition to posting jobs on the Enterprise Holdings careers website, go.enterpriseholdings.com. ¦

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