ACRA Executive Director
Sharon Faulkner has been involved in the rental industry for over 35 years. She was the President of the New York Vehicle Rental Association for many years and lobbied intensely to improve the adverse laws that affected New York operators. She has been a board member of each national car rental association for the past seven years. Sharon was most recently a Dollar and Thrifty franchise owner for over ten years located in Albany, New York. Sharon has been a featured speaker at many industry conventions and seminars. She has been the moderator for many successful car rental roundtable discussions and profit sharing meetings. She is a former founding member of the Advisory Board for Auto Rental News Magazine, where she has published a number of articles.Sharon has previously testified in the U.S. Congress to lobby for the repeal of vicarious liability that affected the car rental industry in a number of states. In 2005 vicarious liability was repealed on a federal level. Sharon and many others were instrumental in affecting this needed change for the car rental industry. In 2008 Sharon was awarded the Russell Bruno Award at the Car Rental Show for outstanding service to the car rental industry for her many years of involvement in legislative issues and education.In the nineties Sharon was the Area Manager in Upstate New York for Budget Rent A Car operating at Albany International Airport. She also opened a number of local locations for the Budget Corporation throughout Northeastern New York. She is certified as a Woman Owned Business in New York State. She was born in Albany, NY and is a graduate of Empire State College a division of the State University of New York at Albany.
Fox Rent A Car
Joe Knight entered the car rental business in 1970 with Ford and Lincoln Mercury, bringing to market the Sears Rent A Car System. He has held operations, fleet and administrative positions with Ford Daily Rent A Car System, Budget Rent A Car, Thrifty Rent A Car and USA Rent A Car. Knight founded and operated a car rental business consultancy firm called Car Rental Concepts, and provided fleet and financing programs to independent and franchisee operators for over ten (10) years. Knight has been involved with car rental industry Issues and representation since 1996. He has been awarded the President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Industry by ACTIF in 2004, and received the 2007 Russell Bruno award for Outstanding Service to the Auto Rental Industry from ACRA. Since 2000, Knight has been the Executive Vice-President of Business Development for Fox Rent A Car. He has been on the board of ACRA since the association was renamed in 2005.
William N. Plamondon III
ACRA Vice President
Advantage Rent a Car, President
Prior to joining Advantage Rent a Car, Bill Plamondon was the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.I. Heller & Co., LLC. He founded the company in 1998 after serving 30 years in a variety of industries as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Restructuring Officer for both public and private companies. Bill has experienced great achievement utilizing the right outside resources teamed up with the best inside resources moving organizations to success. He expertly balances his organizational structuring experience with his financial expertise. Bill has purchased over $500 million in acquisition value businesses and sold companies with enterprise values of over $1 billion. Bill has secured financings in excess of $3 billion. Bill was President and Chief Executive Officer of ANC Rental Corporation, the parent company of Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental, a 2.5 billion dollar global company with over 14,000 employees. Following a successful restructuring, the company was sold in October 2003. His tenure with the business began in June of 2000 when he was named to serve on ANC’s board of directors, where he chaired the audit committee. In December 2000, Bill joined E&Y Capital Advisors, LLC, a subsidiary of Ernst & Young LLP, as a consultant in its Restructuring Advisory Services Group. Prior to forming R.I. Heller & Company LLC, Bill served as CEO of the First Merchants Acceptance Corporation, a $750m publicly-held financial services company. For more than 19 years Bill was with Budget Rent a Car. He began his career at Budget in 1978 in Franchise Development. As Budget transitioned from a franchising to an operating company, Bill successfully restructured the Florida operations, the company’s largest acquisition a $100 million subsidiary. In 1989, he returned to Corporate Headquarters as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing and later EVP North America. In 1992, at the direction of Ford Motor Company and Budget’s Board of Directors, Bill was named President of Budget Rent a Car; the title of CEO was added the following year. Bill left Budget in 1997 with the successful sale of the company to Team Rental Group.
Midway Auto Group, President
Gary Macdonald is President and Chief Operating Officer of Midway Auto Group. Midway operates car rental, leasing, sales, and transportation businesses in Los Angeles, CA. Mr. Macdonald has been active in the car rental business since 1976 when he joined Midway. He has been President since 1986. Midway Car Rental is a large independent car rental company based in Los Angeles, CA. Midway operates in several diverse Los Angeles market segments including the luxury rental business in Beverly Hills. Gary has held prior Board of Director positions with industry groups Catrala of CA, ACTIF, and ACRA. Gary is a native of Southern California, and currently resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Altadena, CA. He is married and has four children.
Enterprise Rent A Car, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs
Gordon Reel serves as Assistant Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Enterprise Holdings, the most comprehensive service provider and only investment-grade company in the car rental industry. Enterprise Holdings operates Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental as well as its flagship Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand, and leads the car rental industry with more than a third of all airport business in the U.S. and Canada. Enterprise Holdings’ extensive network includes 7,800 neighborhood and airport locations worldwide. With annual revenues of $14.1 billion and more than 70,000 employees, Enterprise Holdings also owns and operates, through its regional subsidiaries, more than 1 million cars and trucks, making it the largest car rental company in the world measured by revenue, employees and fleet. Gordon oversees federal and state legislative activity – on behalf of all three brands – that relates to or affects the car rental, fleet leasing and car sales industries. He works directly with Enterprise’s local operating groups in the US and Canada to manage legislative and political issues as well as its lobbyists. Gordon also assists in managing Enterprise’s Political Action Committee. Prior to moving to Enterprise in July 2001, Gordon worked for the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association (RCGA), as the Director of Government Affairs, and also served in several capacities in the state legislature. Gordon is a St. Louis native and a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia’s School of Journalism. He lives in St. Louis with his wife, Elizabeth, and three daughters.
Avis Rent-A-Car Licensee, President & CEO
Robert worked for a family owned company that started in the rental car business in 1918. His great grandfather started the company as an independent rental car company, Motor Livery, and in the 1930’s Robert’s grandfather purchased the Hertz business for the state of Alabama. In the mid 1970’s his father sold the Hertz business back to the corporation and purchased some Avis franchises.Robert started with the rental car business after graduating from the University of Alabama in 1968. Currently he serve as President and CEO of our company, Car and Truck Rentals, Inc. He currently operate seven Avis and one Budget franchise.Robert also serve as Chairman of the Avis Licensee Association and Chairman of the Avis System Advertising and Policy Committee and of the Avis System Advertising Trust. Robert and his wife Barbara have been married for 42 years and make their home in Birmingham, Alabama.
Robert E. Muhs, Esq.
Avis Budget Group, Inc., VP Government Affairs & Counsel
Bob Muhs currently serves as the Vice President, Government Affairs for Avis Budget Group, Inc. its subsidiary brands Avis Rent A Car System, LLC (“Avis”) and Budget Rent A Car System, Inc. (“Budget”). Avis Budget Group, Inc. is a public company and was formerly a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation prior to its divestiture. Bob Muhs joined the rental car industry in 1994 when he joined Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. as the Director of Government Affairs and served in that position until March 2001 when he was promoted to the position of Vice President, Government Affairs. In 2002 when Cendant Corporation acquired Budget Rent A Car System, Inc., Bob Muhs took on the responsibility of providing services to both the Avis and Budget rental car brands. In his role with Avis Budget Group, Inc., Bob is responsible for all federal and state government relations activities for the Avis and Budget rental car companies which includes but is not limited to directing lobbying efforts before the United States Congress, the 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada. Most of the concentration of government affairs activity for Avis Budget Group is in the domestic United States. In addition to directing lobbying activities, Bob is also responsible for oversight of all government inquiries. In addition to his role as directing the companies legislative affairs, Bob is responsible for managing the commercial litigation team of Avis Budget Group, Inc. as well, handling all commercial litigation matters for the company as well as threatened litigation matters and personally handles those matters which are class actions relating to policy practices and procedures. Furthermore, Bob serves as the Chairman of the Company’s Diversity Committee charged which reviewing and investigating each and every customer complaint which alleges discrimination to ensure compliance with the company’s “zero tolerance for discrimination” policy and is a member of the company’s overall Diversity Committee. In 2005, Bob was honored by Auto Rental News, the rental car trade publication, with its Executive Leadership Award. Bob serves as a Commissioner of the California travel and Tourism Commission and serves on the Commission’s Executive and Audit Committees, as the President of the Virginia Car and Truck Renting and Leasing Association, a member of the Board of Directors of the California Travel Industry Association. Bob also serves on the Board of Directors of Fueling California: A Consumer Alliance for Responsible Fuel Policy. Prior to joining Avis in 1994, Bob was in private practice in a small boutique law firm in Queens County New York. Prior to practicing law, Bob served as the Senior Regional Coordinator for the New York State Assembly Minority Leader and as a Legislative Assistant to the New York State Senate Transportation Committee. Bob is a graduate of Nassau Community College, St John’s University and Touro College, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center and is admitted to practice law before the courts of the State of New York and in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and admitted as an in-house counsel in New Jersey pursuant to the New Jersey rules of court.
Clearwater Transportation, LTD, President
Started in the industry in 1983 with Budget Rent a Car in Orlando, FL. Held various positions with Budget, National and Thrifty Car Rental working for both Corporate and Licensees in the Thrifty System. My last position with Thrifty Corporate was running the Franchise Sales Dept. for the U.S. In 2001 purchased my first Thrifty franchises in Austin and San Antonio, TX. Purchased my first Dollar franchise in 2003 in Austin. Sold Thrifty San Antonio back to Corporate in 2006. Acquired Dollar/Thrifty franchise in 2007 in Killeen, TX (Ft Hood) and acquired a Hertz franchise in San Angelo, TX in 2014.
U-Save Car & Truck Rental, Director of Operations
Brad Kjar is the Director of Operations for U-Save Car & Truck Rental. U-Save, together with its subsidiary ARRC, has over 900 locations throughout the United States and is one of North America’s largest franchise car rental companies. Although primarily based in the United States, U-Save has international locations in Mexico, Greece, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In his role with U-Save, Brad and his team are responsible for assisting their diverse franchise group in increasing the value of their businesses, as well as the U-Save brand domestically and internationally. Brad found the car rental industry by accident over 20 years ago when he was renting a car from Enterprise. Upon returning the rental, he asked the branch manager if they were hiring; two weeks later he was hired and learning the rental car industry. Educating customers and employees has been his focus throughout his career. Brad continued his career after Enterprise, briefly working as the Director of Yellow Cab in Kansas City before joining Dollar Thrifty. When Dollar Thrifty found itself committed to developing their off-airport market share, Brad was named the Director of Local Market Operations and helped Dollar Thrifty increase its off-airport market with corporate locations operated by independent operators. In 2009, Brad followed one of his mentors to Avis Budget, where he successfully led the local market Avis operators and Budget Truck dealers in Metro Atlanta. Building long-term relationships in business and personal life drives Brad to be the best he can be, in and out of the office. Brad has a passion for helping others achieve their goals and has taught Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace” and Joseph Sangl’s “I Was Broke. Now I am Not.” financial planning programs. Brad also served on the Board of Faithbridge Ministry, which is devoted to seeing the good in people. Brad graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, and received his MBA from the University of Phoenix. He resides in Atlanta with his wife and two children.
Michael L. DeLorenzo
Michael L. DeLorenzo brings 45 years of car rental industry experience. Mr. DeLorenzo currently serves as the Executive Vice President of a combined car rental operation. He has developed and expanded regional car rental operations to multiple locations and thousands of vehicles. Additionally, Michael has experience supporting and working for legislative change for the car rental industry.
Sharky Laguana came to the car rental industry via an unusual path: he was the founder and songwriter of the critically acclaimed indie-rock band Creeper Lagoon (voted Best New Artist by SPIN magazine in 1997) and when the van they were renting broke down, and the rental company was not very helpful, he decided to start a van rental company. Bandago was originally conceived as a van rental company catering to touring musicians, but it quickly morphed into a van rental company for anyone wanting a van. Starting with just a single vehicle parked in front of his basement apartment he slowly grew the company over the next decade to hundreds of vehicles, and locations in major cities across the country. Along the way he taught himself to code, and eventually wound up building all of the company’s cloud-based computer systems (website, reservations, accounting, HR, vehicle maintenance, etc.) from scratch. Laguana joined ACRA as a member in 2005 (back then it was known as ACTRA), became a California ambassador for ACRA in 2014, and joined the ACRA legislative committee in 2015.
The Hertz Corporation, Vice President of Government Relations
Jim East is the new Vice President of Government Relations for Hertz. He is returning to the car rental industry after a nine-year absence. He held the same position for Vanguard Car Rental (Alamo and National) while it was owned by William Lobeck and Cerberus, leaving when the company was sold to Enterprise. During those nine non-car rental years, he was a self-employed consultant providing government relations strategies to corporations (American Airlines, Chesapeake Energy and a private real estate firm), non-profits and two Tulsa-based philanthropic foundations, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Tulsa Community Foundation. A native of Oklahoma, he graduated from Oklahoma State University, then worked for newspapers in Oklahoma, New York and Washington D.C. He also served as chief of staff to the Mayor of Tulsa for eight years. Jim’s wife, Kim Holland, is a former state insurance commissioner, and currently is an executive with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.