Heritage & Founding Values

Enterprise Holdings has a rich and distinctive heritage. It's a truly remarkable story of how entrepreneurship, hard work and a big dream can turn a tiny start-up into a world-class company.

The story begins with our founder, Jack Taylor. Born in our company's home town of St. Louis in 1922, Jack heeded his country's call after the attack on Pearl Harbor drew the United States into World War II. In 1942, he enlisted and served as a decorated WWII Hellcat pilot in the skies over the South Pacific.

Jack Taylor

Then, like so many others of the “Greatest Generation," Jack returned home to raise his family and start a business. Lessons learned in the Navy – including the values of integrity, hard work, team spirit and simply doing the right thing – helped shape his personality. They also made their mark on the company he founded in 1957, and that his family owns to this day.

In a tiny lower-level office in a St. Louis Cadillac dealership, he started out with a fleet of seven cars, one employee and a commitment to provide a uniquely personal brand of customer service.

Jack developed a simple but enduring business philosophy that still guides our efforts as the largest rental car operation in the world: “Take care of your customers and your employees first, and the profits will follow." As his company grew, the Navy veteran expanded operations into new markets and named the company after an aircraft carrier on which he had served, the World War II USS Enterprise (CV-6). 

The ship was the most decorated vessel in the U.S. Navy fleet before its decommissioning in 1947. While the latest USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was inactivated in 2012, the Secretary of the U.S. Navy has since announced the Enterprise name will live on as the official moniker for the CVN-80, a nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed in the future. This marks the ninth time the U.S. Navy will have a ship called Enterprise in its fleet. 

To learn more, please see our Military Heritage site, which highlights employment opportunities and supports transitioning military personnel, veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and military families. In addition, Enterprise Holdings’ Supplier Diversity program supports Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.

For more information about Enterprise’s business principles, also check out our Founding Values and Cultural Compass sites, which focus on our operations, diversity and inclusion, workplace quality, business ethics, public affairs and philanthropy, and environmental conservation.  

What's in a name?

Our founder, Jack Taylor, named our company Enterprise as a salute to a WWII aircraft carrier he served on – the USS Enterprise.

USS Enterprise

Today, the “Enterprise" name is synonymous with the leadership and vision of our founding family – while “Holdings" represents the identity all of our businesses share as Taylor Family companies.

Our Founding Values

Jack Taylor didn't just talk about founding values when he started up his business back in 1957 — he and his team lived them.

Over the years we have formalized our values into a set of guiding principles that every employee can understand and embrace.

Learn more about our Founding Values and Cultural Compass.