Jack Taylor: Decorated combat veteran. Visionary entrepreneur. Big-hearted philanthropist.

He served his country as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot in the skies over the Pacific in World War Two. Then, as did so many members of The Greatest Generation, he returned home to raise a family and start a business. The company he founded – Enterprise Holdings – grew from a tiny start-up to become one of the business world’s great success stories. Jack’s simple but innovative approach to meeting customers’ transportation needs transformed an entire industry and set a standard for customer service that few companies in any industry can touch.

Over the years, Jack’s standing as a business leader was matched by his reputation as a philanthropist. His generosity has benefited a wide range of organizations, with many of his largest gifts going to support worthy causes in his beloved home town of St. Louis.

He was fond of saying that his goal in life and business was simply for people “to think I’m a nice guy.” In the end, he accomplished that … and much, much more.

This is a celebration of his life and legacy.

“Take care of your customers and employees first, and the profits will follow.”

—Jack

1922

Jack Taylor is born in St. Louis, Mo.

1942–1945

Jack serves in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

1957

Jack founds Executive Leasing Company in St. Louis with seven cars and a hunch that customers will embrace the novel concept of leasing automobiles.

1960s

1962

Jack and Executive Leasing Co. add a rental car division with a fleet of 17 vehicles, as well as launch a retail car sales division.

1969

Jack and his team begin expanding beyond St. Louis, first in Atlanta, Ga. Jack re-christens his growing operation "Enterprise" in honor of the aircraft carrier aboard which he served as a decorated Hellcat pilot in World War II.

1970s

1970

While the rest of the industry competes at airports, Jack takes the company into neighborhoods — where customers live and work.

1974

Jack’s laser focus on exceptional customer service takes on a new dimension when a branch manager in Orlando starts providing customers with free rides to the rental office. The service leads to Enterprise's well-known "We'll Pick You Up" tradition.

1980s

1980

The Enterprise National Reservation Center opens, allowing customers to call a toll-free number to reserve Enterprise vehicles nationwide.

1982

Jack and family found the company’s foundation, which has donated more than $200 million to not-for-profit organizations in the local communities where Enterprise employees work and live.

1989

Jack changes the company name to Enterprise Rent-A-Car to reflect the enormous growth of its rental car business. Enterprise has more than 500 locations and more than 50,000 rental vehicles.

1990s

1991

Jack becomes Chairman and his son, Andrew Taylor, takes over as CEO.

1992

Enterprise surpasses $1 billion in annual revenue and nearly 10,000 employees in its work force. Enterprise's leasing division becomes Enterprise Fleet Management.

1993

The strong culture and simple business model Jack established takes the company’s success beyond the U.S., as Enterprise opens its first international office in Windsor, Canada, and in the following year opens its first European location in Reading, England.

1995

After nearly four decades of success in the home city market, Enterprise takes its formula to the airport as the company opens its first on-airport rental location at the Denver International Airport.

1999

The company launches Enterprise Rent-A-Truck, now Enterprise Truck Rental.

2000s

2000

Taylor family makes $40 million "challenge" grant to help the financially troubled St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

2001

Jack becomes Executive Chairman and his son, Andrew Taylor, takes over as Chairman. The family also donates $25 million to Washington University in St. Louis to endow scholarships for financially disadvantaged students (an additional $25 million will be donated for the cause in 2011).

2002

Jack gives $30 million gift to the Missouri Botanical Garden to fund global plant research. Jack and family also donate $10 million to the National Museum of Naval Aviation toward construction of a hands-on academy to help teach children about aviation, math, and science.

2004

Enterprise operates more than 6,000 offices in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, and Germany, including locations within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population. The company surpasses $7 billion in annual revenue.

2007

As a family-owned company, Enterprise celebrates its 50th anniversary by formally announcing its sustainability program. Jack and the Taylor family acquire the National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.

2009

Enterprise Holdings is created as the holding company for Alamo Rent A Car, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and National Car Rental.

2010s

2010

Enterprise plants its 5-millionth tree as part of the 50 Million Tree Pledge, a partnership between Enterprise and the Arbor Day Foundation.

2011

Jack and his family make the first of two donations totaling $35 million to the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, in St. Louis, which seeks to improve fuel sources, modern agriculture, global food production, human health and nutrition, and environmental sustainability. Also, the company launches its first television campaign featuring employees entitled “The Enterprise Way.”

2012

Enterprise begins combining retail and commercial car-sharing operations under the "Enterprise CarShare" name. Enterprise’s second wave of international expansion begins, expanding throughout South America and further into Europe.

2013

Jack retires and his son, Andrew Taylor, takes over as Executive Chairman. Enterprise’s aggressive international expansion continues, with franchisee agreements in more than a dozen countries.

2015

Jack and his family donate $114.5 million to a wide variety of charitable, cultural, educational and historical institutions, predominantly in St. Louis. Recipients range from such well-established civic assets as Forest Park and such impactful educational causes as the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation to such forward-looking efforts as CityArchRiver 2015.

Obituary

Taylor, Jack Crawford, of St. Louis, Missouri, died July 2, 2016, at the age of 94. Beloved father of Andrew C. (Barbara) Taylor and Jo Ann Taylor Kindle (Tom Caruso); devoted grandfather of Alison Kindle (Kyle) Hogan, Carolyn Kindle (Adam) Betz, Christine Taylor (Lee) Broughton, Kelly Taylor and Patricia Taylor (Andy Magee); and cherished great-grandfather of Grace and Amelia Broughton and Kylie Hogan.

Taylor was the founder of Enterprise Holdings, which through its Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands is the largest and most comprehensive service provider in the car rental industry. Born and raised in St. Louis, Taylor served his country as a decorated Navy fighter pilot in World War II before returning home to build the company his family still owns and operates. In 1957, he launched a small, auto leasing operation with seven vehicles in the lower level of a Cadillac dealership – expanding to daily car rental a few years later as an additional service to customers.
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In the decades to come, he turned his start-up into one of the business world’s greatest success stories. As the rest of the industry focused on serving airports, Taylor pioneered the “home city” car rental market. By renting cars from convenient, neighborhood locations to meet a variety of customer needs, Enterprise quietly but steadily developed a market segment that grew to be as large as or larger than the airport-based rental market. Taylor built his company on a simple philosophy: “Take care of your customers and your employees first, and the profits will follow.” And indeed they did.

Over the years, his passion for the business was equaled only by his devotion to his family and his generosity to his beloved home town. Through the years, Taylor – whose charitable giving ranked him No. 11 on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 2015 “Philanthropy 50” list of America’s top donors – made many notable private contributions to several of St. Louis’s leading civic and cultural not-for-profit institutions, notably the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Missouri Botanical Garden, Forest Park Forever and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Other local beneficiaries of his family’s and his company’s generosity have included St. Louis Children’s Hospital, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Science Center, Harris-Stowe State University, Saint Louis University, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Our Little Haven and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

In his integrity, optimism and spirit of service, Jack Taylor was a shining example of the “Greatest Generation.” With his passing, St. Louis has lost one of its greatest friends and benefactors.

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