Robert Muhs won this year's Russell Bruno Award. Photo by Amy Winter-Hercher.

Robert Muhs won this year's Russell Bruno Award. Photo by Amy Winter-Hercher.

Robert Muhs received this year’s Russell Bruno Award for outstanding service to the auto rental industry.

Muhs serves as the vice president, government affairs, corporate compliance, and business ethics for Avis Budget Group and is a member of the American Car Rental Association’s Board of Directors.

The award was presented at Tuesday’s closing general session at the 2016 International Car Rental Show at Bally’s Las Vegas.

"I am honored and humbled in being the recipient of the 2016 Russell Bruno Award,” said Muhs. “I am blessed to have a supportive management team at Avis Budget, colleagues at the American Car Rental Association and at Auto Rental News, and family that have allowed me to take on many legislative challenges."

After 22 years in the rental car industry, Muhs is considered the “dean” of government relations within the industry. He has played active roles in the passage of the Graves Amendment, the Safe Rental Car Act, and various state initiatives, including allowing the sale of damage waivers in New York.

Becoming active in politics at the age of 13, Muhs worked his way up to president of the Nassau County Young Republican Organization.

Muhs worked on several presidential campaigns, including those of presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He also served as legislative aide to Hon Norman J. Levy, the late chairman of the New York State Senate Transportation Committee. During this time, the nation’s first mandatory seat belt law was enacted.

In 1994, Muhs joined Avis Rent a Car System’s government affairs team. During his tenure at Avis Budget Group, he has been involved in many areas, including the customer service team, corporate security, and the corporate communications and marketing groups. During 2008 and 2011, he also oversaw the company’s liability claims team and the move of the group from New Jersey to its Virginia Beach office.

“Bob is a wealth of knowledge and willingly shares with others,” said Nancy Madison, Muh’s administrator at Avis Budget Group. “In addition, he’s always available for answering questions, providing information, or offering advice. He is one of my favorite attorneys to work for.”

Sharon Faulkner, executive director of the American Car Rental Association (ACRA), presented Muhs with the award.

"This award was implemented to honor someone who should be recognized for their outstanding service to the car rental industry, and most certainly, Bob Muhs is that someone,” said Faulkner. “He has devoted most of his professional life to fighting literally thousands of legislative battles that affect the way we do business. He is invaluable to the car rental industry as a legal and legislative source of knowledge on all federal and state governmental affairs. Bob is a force to be reckoned with when he presents his views and defends our car rental companies at legislative hearings. He is highly respected by his peers in governmental affairs throughout the country.”

“More importantly, he is also a great family man: a loving husband and an involved parent of three young adults. It is a privilege to be able to call Bob my friend and a great honor to be given the opportunity to present him with the annual Russell Bruno Award that represents a massive thank you for all your hard work and contributions to the health and growth of the car rental industry,” added Faulkner.

The Russell J. Bruno Award has been given at the Car Rental Show since 2004. Recognizing outstanding service to the auto rental industry, past winners include Ken Elder, Jim Shapiro, Sandy Miller, Sharon Faulkner, Michael LaPlaca, Raymond Wagner, and Doris Cassan. David Purinton, owner of PurCo Fleet Services Inc., received the award for 2015.

Story by Amy Winter-Hercher