How Jack Taylor Built Enterprise Holdings
PHOTO: Enterprise has grown from a St. Louis operation to a global power player (Courtesy Enterprise Holdings)
"Take care of your customers and your employees first, and the profits will follow."
That is the founding principle on which Jack Taylor developed Enterprise Holdings almost 60 years ago and the core value that still holds true. Long before he founded Enterprise, the world’s largest rental car operation, Jack Taylor was simply a man who held firm to his beliefs—work hard, do right by others, hold true to your value. Simply put, do the right thing.
Taylor was born in St. Louis to Melburne Martling Taylor and Dorothy Crawford Taylor seven years before the Great Depression began. Taylor enrolled in the Olin Business School at Washington University, but like so many members of the “Greatest Generation,” he decided to enlist following the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1942, he enlisted and went on to serve as a Navy Hellcat pilot over the South Pacific, earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses and the Navy Air Medal. Following his tour of duty, Taylor returned home to start a business and raise his family.
Starting out with just seven cars, a single employee and the determination to provide unparalleled customer service, Taylor launched Executive Leasing in 1957 out of a tiny office in a St. Louis Cadillac dealership. Unlike the competition which offered cars to business travelers through convenient airport locations, he focused on those needing transportation in town offering pick up services, leading eventually to Enterprise’s “We’ll Pick You Up” slogan. Taylor’s company soon grew and as it did, he expanded into new markets. By 1962, Executive Leasing had begun its rental operations with a fleet of 17 cars and opened its first car sales location. In 1969, Taylor bestowed his company with the name Enterprise, after the USS Enterprise (CV-6), an aircraft carrier on which he had served.
By 1980, his rental fleet had grown to 6,000 cars. Another nine years and the fleet had 50,000 cars and the company changed its name to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. By 1995, the company was earning more than $2 billion in revenues.
Enterprise’s global expansion began in 1993 with a Canadian office. Soon after, branches in Germany and the United Kingdom opened. Today, Enterprise counts locations in 70 countries around the world.
Since those humble beginnings many years ago, Enterprise has grown into a global, total transportation solution providing millions of customers around the world with excellent customer service. In 2007, Enterprise celebrated its 50th anniversary. That same year, the company acquired both Alamo Rent a Car and National Car Rental and adopted the name Enterprise Holdings.
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