The American Car Rental Association held its first of what will become an annual association meeting in Innis-brook, Florida during February, and the theme, "People First, Promotion, Profit," reflected the growth of the organization since it was chartered in San Francisco in April of 1978.
"Fifty-six of us walked away from that convention as ACRA's first members," Eldon Barnard, the association's president, said in his report to the membership. "Today, we have 170 member companies with over 600active ACRA representatives. There has been an excellent response from the systems and their licensees, as well the independents."
Barnard said that although the membership is enthusiastic, there are still many operators out in the industry that can benefit from ACRA membership. Over the past year, ACRA has been actively involved in government legislation providing rental industry input into such programs as the Department of Energy's gas rationing contingency plan and the FTC's used' car disclosure requirements, and has also picked up the no-fault campaign from CATRALA, the former parent organization of ACRA. That work will continue, Barnard promised. "We must be persistent opponents of things that are wrong for our business, as well as strong proponents of the things that are right," he said.
The work ACRA is doing at the government level will have another benefit, Barnard said. "Every time we are able to work in a positive manner with the federal agencies and with our senators and representatives, it strengthens our voice and solidifies our position as a strong voice within the transportation industry."
In addition to putting forth the rental industry's position on govern mental matters, ACRA has also joined forces with other transportation organizations to support positions that will benefit the entire industry.
In touching on the convention theme, Barnard said "Whatever our endeavor, in order to achieve a profit, no amount of promotion or anything else for that matter, will succeed without people. People are first. People are the glue. None of the accomplishments I have talked about today would have been possible without intelligent, hard-working, highly-motivated people."
In keeping with the spirit of the convention's theme, the topics for the first day's workshops were union relations and personnel management, and development of middle management. H.S. Rosenthal, vice president of Budget Rent A Car in Dallas, Texas moderated the workshop on union relations and personnel management that featured a presentation by Hal F.S. Clements, of Humphreys, Hutche son & Moseley. H.F. Boubelik, group vice president of licensee and sales for the National Car Rental System, moderated the workshop on development of middle management with Erich Hardt of Erich Hardt and Associates, making the presentation.
The following day's activities centered on the promotion aspect of the rental business with two workshops, one on effective telephone marketing and the other on media relations and your business. Valerie Miller, vice president of Budget Rent A Car of Memphis moderated the first work shop which included Carl Carson, vice president of Saunders Leasing System, Inc. and Melvia Reed of Melvia Reed Enterprises as panelists. The workshop on media relations was conducted by Daniel A. Huntoon, president of Grand Rent A Car Corp. and featured Jess Gregory, director of public relations for American Express as a panelist.
ACRA's general business session featured presentations on legislation and regulations as they affect the rental industry. Robert Bird, vice president (law) for National Car Rental System led off on the energy outlook and factors impacting the rental industry.
Alan Kay of Bregman, Abell, Solter & Kay followed with a presentation on the status and outlook for the FTC used car sale rule, while S. Lynn Sutciiffe of Van Ness, Feldman & Sutcliffe discussed no-fault insurance. State trends toward product liability reform was covered by David Schaffer, senior vice president and general counsel for Avis Rent A Car System, and Calvin Kuhlman, corporate attorney for National Car Rental, talked about FTC-type used car sale laws appearing at the state level. Recent developments with parking tickets were discussed by Stuart B. Still man, and Arthur Berlin who is Avis' director of taxes spoke on tax issues emerging at the state and local levels as a result of Prop. 13.
Factors that can affect an operation's profit picture such as insurance, cost controls and security were the subject matter for the final day's workshops. Risk management for car rental operators was discussed by John Von Arx of Automobile Rental Insurance and Services, Rollie Krefall, insurance director at National and John Murphy, vice president-insurance for Avis. Myron Kuklock, director of risk management for Budget Rent A Car in Chicago moderated. Roger Gelder of Budget in Atlanta handled the seminar on cost control which featured a presentation by Fred Mudgett of Fred A. Mudgett &Associates, while Robert Lerner, executive vice president of Econo-Car of Metro, D.C. handled the seminar on security and auto-theft prevention. Seth Kaminsky, vice president-administration and security of Avis, was the panelist in the security workshop.
Taking over as president from Eldon Barnard for 1979-1980 is Daniel Huntoon of Grand Rent A Car Corporation, Los Angeles.