Case Studies

Kaisey Kenkel – Hertz   

Creating a better experience for vehicle renters  

Imagine you’ve just landed at Los Angeles International Airport after an 11-hour flight from somewhere in Europe. After getting your bags, your plan is to quickly get in your rental car and head on your merry way. Except, quickly is not how anyone gets a rental car at LAX—at least until the construction of the world’s biggest rental car center is completed later this year.   

The $1 billion Los Angeles International Airport Consolidated Rent-A-Car (LAX ConRAC) facility will eliminate the need for rental car companies to shuttle passengers from the airport to locations across the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles (an estimated 3,200 of these trips happen daily).   

Kaisey Kenkel | Vice President of Design & Construction, EV and Facilities  | Hertz   

Kaisey Kenkel | Vice President of Design & Construction, EV and Facilities  | Hertz

One company that has been involved in the planning and development of the LAX ConRAC since the beginning is Hertz, and at the forefront of its efforts has been Kaisey Kenkel, the company’s vice president of design, construction, EV and facilities. 

“This project has been going on for about a decade,” Kenkel tells Blueprint from the company’s home base in Estero, Florida. “We started designing our space in 2019, and construction for us began in November 2022. We should be done in the spring.”  

This project and others at airports nationwide take up much of Kenkel’s time. So does the company’s work with electric vehicles and general upgrades and renovations to existing Hertz locations throughout its portfolio.   

Projects big and small   

In Los Angeles, Kenkel’s team received a shell for the company’s space and has been able to design it the way they wanted. The location will be staffed 24/7 and have space for thousands of vehicles. There will be a rental counter inside the building, and other people will be available on the parking deck to assist the renters and help them get on their way. The building covers over a million square feet, and the Hertz space is over 30,000 square feet, Kenkel says.   

In addition to the LAX space, a consolidated rental car facility opened in November at Newark Liberty International Airport and houses Hertz and nine other rental car companies. At Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, its rental car center was refreshed in 2023—Kenkel says the Hertz location there was remodeled, including its customer service area.   

“Any airport that doesn’t already have a consolidated facility is probably thinking about it,” Kenkel says. “That includes Denver’s airport, and it is possible Orlando looks at a bigger facility than they have now.”  

The company’s goal is the same across the country, whether at a major airport, a small regional one or a free-standing Hertz location.   

“We want to help people get to their vehicle and on the road as fast and seamlessly as possible,” Kenkel explains.    

The challenges of EVs  

The other part of Kenkel’s title includes electric vehicles. And despite a recent announcement that Hertz plans to sell 20,000 EVs and reinvest a portion of the proceeds to purchase gas-powered vehicles, the company is committed to its EV strategy. Kenkel’s work to make electric vehicles more accessible to renters will continue.  

Among her responsibilities is adding infrastructure to support EVs at Hertz’s facilities. The focus, she says, is implementing charging stations in locales where the rental giant has the largest EV fleets. “Having a robust charging infrastructure is essential, and Hertz is working with major energy companies, including BP, to support the build-out of internal and public charging infrastructure,” says Kenkel. 

Challenges exist beyond just having the infrastructure to charge the vehicles, which impedes widespread adoption. Having people on staff who are familiar with EVs is also important.  

“Educating our Hertz team members and our customers has been a top priority. We provide EV-specific training for all of our team members as well as robust EV digital education for customers, including quick-start EV videos and trip planning charging guides at hertz.com/myEV that are accessible via QR code,” says Kenkel. 

Always building  

Kenkel grew up in St. Louis and was always interested in building things. Her father used to fix air conditioning units, and she remembers always wanting to go to work with him. Designing and building always interested her, and after getting injured while working as a union sprinkler fitter, her career path came into focus.   

“I love engineering, facing challenging problems and coming up with creative solutions,” Kenkel says. “That passion has served me well throughout my career.”  

She earned a mechanical engineering degree from a joint degree program between Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Kenkel has been with Hertz in various roles since February 2014 and was promoted to her current position in November 2022.   

While in school, Kenkel says she envisioned working for an engineering firm or an HVAC company and never knew Hertz had a corporate construction group—she also didn’t realize there was so much work behind the scenes to make the company’s vehicle rental operations function.   

Having increasingly taken on bigger roles and responsibilities at Hertz and now leading a team of 45 people, Kaisey understands the importance of being a strong and supportive leader, as she knows firsthand the unique challenges of the roles she oversees. 

“It is all about communication and transparency,” Kenkel says. “I listen to people and invest as much as possible in their development. The better we are individually, the stronger we are as a team.” 

 

 

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