The second time’s a charm, as the saying goes. Carlos F. was optimistic during his final round hiring interview with Enterprise in 2008, even though he’d been through a similar experience with Enterprise almost a decade earlier as a fresh college graduate.
“I knew about Enterprise from the case studies covering the big St. Louis companies,” Carlos recalls of his undergraduate experience as a foreign exchange student at Saint Louis University. “And I love cars, so I thought Enterprise would be a great fit.”
Alas, the Madrid native didn’t have a green card at the time, so that’s pretty much where the employment conversation ended in 2000. Fast-forward eight years (and two degrees later, including a PhD in economics).
“I explained to the Regional Rental Manager why I wanted the opportunity,” he says. “I loved the idea of running my own business. To me, Enterprise was like owning a franchise without having to put money down. Plus I’m very outgoing and really into retail, so I figured I could do well.”
One thought didn’t occur though: The notion that success might eventually lead Carlos back to Madrid.
Growing a career in the U.S.
After signing on as a Management Trainee, Carlos discovered the Enterprise opportunity was everything he expected. “Honestly, I absolutely loved it,” he says of his first assignments in southern California.
The next career door opened when he inquired about transferring to Philadelphia at his wife’s request, so they could be closer to her family. Carlos soon climbed the rental career ladder there, taking on assignments at several neighborhood branches as well as the Philadelphia airport.
As branch manager at the airport, Carlos and his team faced one of the largest expansions in the company’s history. The logistics were daunting during the construction period: A station that rents upwards of 1,600 cars on its busiest days had to deal with major changes in traffic flow, sometimes including the shutdown of two of its four exit booths. “We had to do a lot of communicating both to our customers and to our team throughout the process,” Carlos says.
Several major snowstorms added to the operational complexity. “We handed out lots of hot chocolate and coffee that winter, while doing our best to get customers into their cars,” he says.
Opportunity arises in Spain
Just like the first few years in southern California, Carlos found that he loved it in Philadelphia. But when Enterprise acquired Atesa, the chance to return to Spain as the group’s Talent Development Specialist was appealing to him for many reasons – the main one being opportunity.
“My home is Enterprise,” he says. “I applied because I could see that there are no limits to how much we can grow in Spain. We have just 20,000 cars here today, in a country of almost 60 million people.”
Just back from paternity leave following the birth of his twins in early January, Carlos hasn’t had a lot of time to get his feet wet in the new assignment. Even so, he’s been impressed with the colleagues he’s encountered across Spain.
“They’re phenomenal—really committed to customer service, and very open to learning about the Enterprise way,” he says.
The integration process will intensify later this year, with the official launch of the Management Training program. “It’ll be huge for us to be recognized as a company that’s hiring,” Carlos predicts. “That’s great news in a country where unemployment rates are high. It’s all really just getting started here, and I couldn’t be any happier—because there is so much opportunity for growth and success.”