Three car rental employees were honored as the Professional of the Year Award winners on Tuesday’s awards ceremony at the 2015 Auto Rental Summit in Hollywood, Fla.
Presented by American Express, the Auto Rental News Professional of the Year Awards honor associates who demonstrate and promote outstanding customer satisfaction within the car rental process from auto rental companies worldwide.
Winners from three car rental business categories (independent, franchise and corporate) were chosen by a panel of four judges, including Sharon Faulkner, executive director of ACRA (American Car Rental Association); Leslie Pujo, attorney/owner at LaPlaca Pujo, PC; Ziad Khoury, founder and president of the Frontline Performance Group (FPG) and Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News.
“We’re grateful to be able to bring our winners’ stories to the larger auto rental community and to the general public,” said Chris Brown, executive editor of Auto Rental News. “We hope they serve as inspiration to future unsung heroes and help to foster a positive message regarding car rental to all.”
Presented with trophies at the Auto Rental Summit, here are the three winners:
Kady Hoyle, rental operations manager of Bay Area Auto & Truck Rental in Dickinson, Texas, was selected as the winner of the Professional of the Year in the independent category. Starting as a customer service representative in 1997, she has worked her way up to the management level. Past roles include accounts payable clerk, fleet administration coordinator, fleet manager and location manager.
Hoyle is recognized for her willingness to serve customers and to go above and beyond — from transporting customers to the rental location to arranging for delivery of the rental unit to an alternate location to meet a customer’s travel requirements.
Recently, she helped introduce mobile technology into Bay Area’s rental processes and procedures. After months of research and cost/benefit analysis, she led the company’s investment in a mobile rental check-in experience. The mobile process has resulted in an overall reduction in customer wait time by an average of three minutes per transaction.
“I would like to thank God, my family and my dedicated team at Bay Area Auto & Truck Rental for the honor and privilege of the nomination and award of the Professional of the Year,” said Hoyle. “We strive for customer satisfaction with the thought of our five core values of integrity, teamwork, honesty, trust and love. We treat the customer like family, we anticipate their needs, and we bring all of this together with the latest technology to ensure an excellent rental experience.”
Colleen Rosekrans, vice president and rental/lease manager at RAC Holdings Inc., a Thrifty and Dollar franchisee in Syracuse, N.Y., has been named as the Professional of the Year winner for the franchise category. After working for the company for 28 years, she has held multiple positions, including telemarketing representative, leasing account executive, leasing/corporate rental sales manager and accounting manager.
Rosekrans learned all aspects of selling — from an initial cold call, working up a proposal to closing the deal — from the company’s founder Pat Tucci. Tucci taught her not only how to “sell” the customer but also the value of customer service.
“I am completely awestruck to have been nominated and chosen to receive the award for the 2015 Auto Rental News Professional of the Year,” said Rosekrans. “Pat would be pleased to see that his belief system is still the foundation in which we operate. I wish to thank our entire team, as I wouldn’t be here accepting such a prestigious award if it were not for their efforts and trust.”
Rosekrans says she’s accepting this award in Tucci’s memory. “He saw something in me that was worth his time and gave me every opportunity to be successful in my career. For that, I am forever grateful.”
From International Franchise Systems’ corporate office, the franchisor of the Rent-A-Wreck, Priceless and Nextcar rental brands, Jason Manelli was selected as the winner of the Professional of the Year Award in the corporate category. Beginning as an intern in the marketing and communications department, he has worked for the company for 16 years.
During the last 16 years, Manelli has worked closely with franchise owners, the franchise advisory council and senior management. His duties have included growing the company’s online presence, designing and implementing a reservation system and helping to guide franchise owners through advertising and communicating with customers.
“My mission every day is to grow our franchise owners’ businesses by giving them the tools they need to go out in the marketplace and be competitive,” said Manelli. “Trust is huge in franchise organization, and you have to earn the franchise owners trust overtime. When you have that foundation of trust, it’s amazing what franchises and the corporate office can accomplish together.”
“I’m honored to be recognized by my peers in an industry with so many great, talented people,” added Manelli. “I feel very fortunate to have the support of our franchise owners and management, and this award reflects our companywide commitment to delivering excellent customer service.”
By Amy Winter-Hercher