By Cynthia Cusick
This is one in a series of The Weekly articles drawing on the resources and successes of NLC's Corporate Partners.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, an NLC Corporate Partner, has become a go-to source for meeting the day-to-day mobility needs of communities and the critical mobility needs in the wake of natural disasters and emergency situations.
With more than 5,500 offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, the Enterprise Rent-A-Car network is uniquely positioned to be an important partner in disaster recovery. In the wake of Hurricanes Sandy in October 2012 and Irene in 2011, the wildfires of Colorado in 2012 and other natural disasters, Enterprise is a key resource for federal agencies, local governments, nonprofits and utilities, and a partner in response and recovery efforts.
As an active partner in emergency response, each Enterprise regional operation has an Emergency Action Plan. It includes a Business Continuity Plan that features a life-safety guide identifying what to do in the event of an emergency, a contact list for key personnel and disaster recovery guidelines for daily rental branches. The plan also focuses on how Enterprise's branch offices communicate with each other to ensure that the right number and types of vehicles are available where they are needed most.
"We know the two most important factors are communication and cooperation, so we are always prepared to quickly respond on an interstate basis, seamlessly moving vehicles around the country and into affected areas," said Bryan Scott, Federal Government Sales Director for Enterprise, who coordinates disaster-recovery efforts with federal, state and local agencies. "Our immediate focus is supporting utilities, government agencies and insurance companies so that they can get the recovery and restoration process under way as quickly as possible."
In addition, Enterprise Rent-A-Car has created a Mobile Emergency Response Vehicle (MERV) to operate as a portable and state-of-the-art branch office in the event of an emergency in the U.S. or Canada. The 32-foot bus originally was a 22-passenger airport shuttle, but today is equipped with three workstations, five computers and a front counter. MERV also can operate for more than 120 hours on a generator, providing on-site assistance even if local power has not yet been restored.
Well before Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the East Coast last fall, Enterprise was working with national and local response teams to support reaching areas that would be hit hardest by the storm. In the wake of the storm, Enterprise Holdings was forced to close more than 400 of its branches along the eastern seaboard and sustained damaged to nearly one thousand of its vehicles. In a massive logistical response more than 27,000 vehicles were added to the company's fleet in New York and New Jersey. First responders from across the country converged on Enterprise's North Carolina regional operation and drove vehicles to the Northeast to aid in the relief efforts.
"During the last 55 years, the one-of-a-kind Enterprise Rent-A-Car network has become an integral part of the local transportation network throughout our country," explained Matt Darrah, Executive Vice President for Enterprise's North American Operations. "We have a unique and great responsibility to take care of our communities, longtime partners and local customers when emergency-preparedness and disaster recovery efforts are priority No. 1."
Darrah noted, "It might be a strain on some of our operations, and it often means reducing our bottom line. But, as our Chairman and CEO Andy Taylor likes to phrase it, those are the times to make friends - not profits."
NLC Corporate Partners Program
The NLC Corporate Partners Program promotes the exchange of ideas between corporate leaders and the leaders of America's cities in order to strengthen local government, encourage economic competitiveness and promote corporate civic engagement. For more information, visit www.nlc.org.
About Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Founded in 1957, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is based in St. Louis and was named by Jack Taylor as a salute to the WWII aircraft carrier he served on - the USS Enterprise. Today, the Enterprise brand is still privately owned by the Taylor family and operated through Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental in the world, measured by revenue, fleet and employees. With 5,500 offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, Enterprise not only operates as a key provider for insurance replacement, weekend getaways and special occasions, but also as a local transportation alternative. Enterprise Holdings' annual revenues also place it near the top of the travel industry, exceeding all other rental car companies, and most airlines, cruise lines, hotels, tour operators and online travel agencies. Other transportation services, marketed through the company's regional subsidiaries and under the Enterprise brand name, include Enterprise CarShare, Enterprise Rideshare vanpooling, Enterprise Car Sales, and Enterprise Commercial Trucks.