River City Six – Robert Durrett
Robert Durrett is the vice president and general manager for Budget Car and Truck Rental of Nebraska (www.budgetnebraska.com).
Tell us a little about your business.
We are a privately owned franchise operating under the Budget Car and Truck Rental name in seven different markets across the country: Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Wichita, Kansas City, Nebraska, and Salt Lake City. Here in Nebraska, we have multiple locations in Omaha, Lincoln, and one in Grand Island. We purchase, rent, and sell vehicles—adjusting inventory to meet rental and car sale demand is both challenging and fun. It is rewarding to have the autonomy we do to essentially run the company as if it were our own, and be in control and responsible for all aspects of the business. Our owners have built a successful company by “staying out of the way” and letting each GM run his or her own show. That philosophy takes a lot of trust, and from top-down we, in turn, treat this company like our own.
How did you get started in the business?
After graduating from Clemson University with a business management degree in 2000, I started with our company in Atlanta, GA as a manager trainee. I have worked for our company in Atlanta, Wichita, and Omaha.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Navigating through all the changes the rental car business has gone through, certainly most recently the effects of COVID-19. It will be very interesting to see what happens with business travel in future years, as we have all become accustomed to working from home.
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Becoming a VP and GM in our company for the first time in Wichita, KS in 2007, which validated all the moves and hard work I put in.
Tell us a little about your family.
I am married to Carolyn. We have two girls—Cora (4), Cate (2), and are expecting a baby boy in May 2021.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Moving to Omaha in 2012. I met my wife that same year, and we have been very happy here in Nebraska. I am not a Midwesterner by birth, but I would rather live in this part of the country than anywhere else.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
I spent the last three years of high school in Montreal, Quebec. It was a very memorable (and cold) experience.
Who inspires you?
My wife. She is kind, supportive, intelligent, driven, and does so much for our family.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Take ownership and pride in everything you do, no matter what you’re doing. If you create a sense of urgency when there really isn’t one, then you will never have any problem performing under pressure— you only know one way to do things, and that’s 100% all the time.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
Sports management. A classmate of mine from my high school in Montreal (only 83 people in my class) is currently the GM of the Atlanta Braves. It is fun to follow his career path as a sports executive.
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
World Without End by Ken Follett.
What is your favorite TV show?
What is your favorite local restaurant?