I was born and raised in Dallas and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma after graduating from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Joining Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, Inc. as a Management Trainee, I entered the car rental industry and expected to spend a few years in it before moving on “to something bigger”. Instead, I spent the next twenty-seven years holding numerous positions of increasing responsibilities for three major car rental companies: Thrifty Rent-A-Car System, Inc., Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. and The Hertz Corporation.
During the early phases of my career, I worked in the Corporate Operations, Counter Automation, New Business Development and Process Development departments. In May 1998, I joined the Licensee Operations department and began an eighteen (18) year stint in which I worked with US, Canadian and International licensees.
During this phase of my career, I discovered that I enjoyed working with the business owners and assisting them in growing and improving their operations. In 2004, I was promoted to Senior Director of Franchise Development and was responsible for the franchise sales initiatives of Dollar Rent A Car, Thrifty Car Rental and Thrifty Car Sales in the US.
In November 2012, the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc. was acquired by The Hertz Corporation. During the integration of the companies, I was involved in the integration of the Franchise Operation & Development departments of Hertz and Dollar Thrifty plus I assumed responsibility for the Thrifty Car Sales division. As is the case with all acquisitions, change is inevitable and this one was no exception. The Tulsa presence for the company was being reduced to minimal levels so I accepted a package to leave the company in May 2016.
Knowing that I wanted to continue to work directly with business owners, I founded Russell & Associates, LLC, a business advisory firm that catered to the automotive rental and sales industries. In December 2016, I reconnected with one of the CPG partners, Bruce Skaistis, and joined the firm in February 2017.
While my background is in the car rental industry, the licensees that I have worked with faced the same issues that all business owners encounter. Regardless of the industry, I enjoy helping owners improve their operational performance, grow their business and achieve their business and personal goals.