Posted on April 17, 2019 by Wendy Frost

The UTSA College of Business Center for Professional Excellence (CPE) hosted Andrew Taylor, executive chairman of Enterprise Holdings Inc., for a fireside chat with current EMBA students. Enterprise Holdings operates Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental brands. Taylor’s father founded the privately-held business in 1957.
Fireside chat with Andrew Taylor

The event was hosted by Priscilla Hill-Ardoin, an Executive-in-Residence for the Executive MBA (EMBA) program and longtime board member of Enterprise Holdings Inc. EMBA students heard firsthand about the history of the company, the 2007 acquisition of Alamo and National and how to stay relevant in a changing competitive market.

Throughout the chat Taylor echoed two consistent themes. The first was to take calculated risks. “My father was not risk adverse, you have to keep moving things forward. We have to stay uncomfortable; you have to make sure that as successful as you are, you don’t get trapped in that success,” he said.

The second theme was the importance of teamwork and taking care of people. “We focus on four things: our customers, our teammates, growth and the bottom line–in that order,” Taylor continued.

Company Culture

When asked about the importance of company culture, Taylor said, “You’re going to have a culture anyway you look at it. The culture we started with my father is based on respect, being part of a team and prioritizing customers and employees.”  

Taylor shared his father’s original vision for the business. “I want to work with fun people who share common goals,” said Taylor. “I want the people working with me to share the success in the business, and I want customers to leave and think this is a great place.” He went on to describe his own leadership style as, “getting things done as a team.”  

Hill-Ardoin shifted the conversation to the acquisition of Alamo and National, “What did senior leadership really think about it?” she asked.

Taylor explained that the family and board supported the acquisition, but senior management was more cautious. They pressed ahead, the business doubled and the acquisition paid for itself in two years.

Staying Relevant

EMBA student Ricardo Ledezma asked Taylor about staying relevant, “We see what is happening in the hospitality industry with price bundling, and see the rise of ride share companies. How does that help shape or inform your strategic decisions, what are you looking out for?”

Taylor indicated little impact from ride share companies, but that it would be unwise to ignore them. He mentioned Adaptive Driver Assistance Systems, and the potential business impact of fewer collisions. He also talked about autonomous cars as an opportunity, because Enterprise knows how to buy, sell, insure, maintain and stage cars.

Hill-Ardoin added, “Not everything that looks like a competitor is a competitive situation. When you know your core strengths, you talk about what technology can make possible. If you know where you want to be in the food chain, and you are early in the investment, you can drive how it develops.”

The CPE is the home of executive programs in the UTSA College of Business. Through programs like Executives-in-Residence, the CPE brings together renowned business thinkers and local business professionals to create a collaborative learning community. 

— Wendy Frost