by jim salter associated press
Enterprise Holdings told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it plans to hire 11,000 new workers by the middle of next year, thanks to the success of its trio of car rental companies.
The hiring, expected to be completed by July 31, will make the world's largest car and truck rental firm even bigger, potentially surpassing 80,000 jobs, depending on attrition, said Marie Artim, vice president of talent acquisition for Enterprise. The suburban St. Louis-based company's revenues have more than doubled over the past 10 years, from $6.9 billion in 2003 to $16 billion.
"It's just an exciting time," Artim said. "Being a family-owned privately held company has allowed us to think long term and strategic."
The company plans to hire nearly 8,500 for management trainee positions, including many recent college graduates. Others will be hired for positions in information technology, administration and support roles at the company headquarters in Clayton, Mo., and in branch stores.
In addition to the full-time jobs, Enterprise plans to hire 1,500 interns. Typically, about half of its interns eventually become full-time employees, company officials said.
Enterprise Holdings operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental. It is one of the nation's largest private companies. Its overall fleet includes 1.3 million vehicles at 8,200 stores. The company said about 5,500 of the rental facilities are in neighborhoods, the others at airports.
Artim said the new hires are needed because nearly 11,000 people were promoted or changed positions within the company over the past year. She said the company typically promotes almost strictly from within its own ranks.
Enterprise considers its management trainee program crucial to its success, a program that consists largely of people fresh out of college in their first job. Artim said the trainees typically earn in the mid- to upper-$30,000s.
"It's where I started, our senior management started," Artim said.
In fact, it's where the company's CEO started. Pamela M. Nicholson, promoted to the top job in June, began in an entry-level position at Enterprise 32 years ago.
"The promotion from within really drives it because we need people to take on a variety of new opportunities as well as those that just get bigger within the organization," Artim said.
It isn't clear how many of the new hires will work in the St. Louis area. Between the corporate office, an IT office and the branch stores, Enterprise already employs more than 4,000 people in the region.
Joe Reagan, president and CEO the St. Louis Regional Chamber, said Enterprise is a model company for future growth in the area.
"They know the future is in hiring talent that is college-educated to drive their business," Reagan said. "The reason is they're looking for life-long learners."
Enterprise was founded in 1957 by Jack Taylor as Executive Leasing with a fleet of seven cars. He changed the name to Enterprise in 1969 to honor the World War II aircraft carrier he served on, the USS Enterprise.
The company grew quickly by developing a niche for neighborhood locations rather than airports, making it popular among those whose cars or trucks were in the shop for repair. Enterprise acquired Alamo and National in 2007, greatly enhancing its presence in the airport market.
Nicholson is the first person outside the Taylor family to lead the company. Jack Taylor and his son, Andrew, were the only previous CEOs before Nicholson was promoted from president and chief operating officer. Andrew Taylor remains as executive chairman.