Consolidated Service Corp. Chairman Starr Dies
Pat Starr, former chairman of Consolidated Service Corp. (CSC) and Automotive Fleet Hall of Fame inductee in 2009, died on Jan. 18. He was 87.
Starr established one of the industry's first national tire account, programs for glass repair/replacement, and replacement rentals. During his career with the company, he built CSC into the industry’s largest non-lessor fleet services company. Starr retired when CSC was acquired by LeasePlan on Oct. 26, 2000.
CSC was found by Pat Starr's father, Lawrence (Larry) Starr, who was looking for a new business challenge and branched out into a whole new enterprise in Chicago. Larry Starr already owned a successful small business, which he had started in 1919 with $300 he had borrowed from a local loan company. At that time he recognized a viable market for used tires because new tires were very expensive. Ultimately, Larry Starr gained a B.F. Goodrich tire franchise. He named it Biltmore Tire Company.
He eventually expanded his product line so that it featured other tire brands, such as Firestone, Goodyear, General, and Uniroyal.
In 1939, Larry Starr got a huge break when a local car dealer named Zollie Frank started a car leasing business, Four Wheels (now known as Wheels, Inc.), and he wanted replacement tires included in his contracts. He knew Larry Starr because Larry had been selling him tires and auto parts for his new car dealership. Frank asked Larry to handle the replacement tire business for his leased vehicles. This arrangement was the beginning of the company that became known as Consolidated Service Corporation.
Larry Starr's son, Pat, fresh out of the service with the U.S. Navy at the conclusion of World War II, joined the business in 1946.
As CSC grew in the 1950s, Pat was given the prime responsibility for developing new programs. Pat helped grow the CSC Tire Service Program and developed one of the industry's first national account tire replacement programs. In addition, CSC became the innovator of other vehicle maintenance programs, such as managing a regularly scheduled preventive maintenance program for its fleet clients.
In the late 1950s, Pat helped form the first industry organization, the National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA). Many of today's active company memberships were recruited by CSC and Pat Starr. Pat also recognized the need for an annual NAFA Convention. He became actively involved in early NAFA conventions, which were initially only held in Detroit.
In 1962, Larry Starr passed away and Pat took over management of CSC. His first decision was to transfer Al Adams from the parent company, Biltmore Tire, to vice president of Consolidated Service Corporation. The two men knew each other well, and they quickly forged a working relationship with dual authority and responsibilities.
The 1960s saw the further expansion of CSC services. In 1963, CSC introduced the first national fleet replacement program for windshields and glass. Another first: a nationwide transmission repair and replacement program was introduced in 1964. In 1967, CSC introduced the first national tune-up program in the industry.
During Pat Starr's leadership, CSC grew to offer a comprehensive range of services to the fleet industry throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Starr is survived by his wife of 58 years, Harriet, and his children Ron Starr and Susan Kalfen.
By Mike Antich