This Hertz Licensee has been driving clients and renting cars since before planes flew to Jackson Hole.
Overland West, Inc. is the largest Hertz Licensee in North America, doing business since 1941, currently serving 26 cities in seven states including Wyoming’s Jackson, Gillette, Cody, and Casper.
This #humansofjhchamber is inspired by the culmination of The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce’s 75-year history. We were founded by strong leadership and committed service, who we honor. Overland West is one of the Chamber’s founding seven members dating back to 1962. Chamber staff spent time with Jerry and Overland’s Vice President and Director of Rental Operations Steve Jones.
Overland’s history is deep in the West.
After acquiring the Hertz franchise for Ogden, Utah, Overland West was founded in 1941. At that time, their mission was to serve passengers arriving at train stations, and soon they expanded to Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Victor, West Yellowstone, and Bozeman. In 1947 they opened an office in downtown Jackson, across from the historic Wort Hotel. At that time, they were the only car rental company in Jackson Hole. As times changed, Overland West’s focus shifted from trains to aviation, serving arriving airline passengers at numerous airports.
To help you visualize this era, this photo is from a 1956 National Geographic Magazine. Overland West had been serving Jackson Hole 9 years prior to this photo!
Read this letter from John Rockefeller, a satisfied client of Overland, and his detailed experience of riding with them, dating all the way back to July of 1954. Here's a snipit:
Fast forward a decade or so and Jerry Petersen was working within Grand Teton National Park supplying Grand Teton Lodge Company with much of their seasonal transportation needs. Keeping his focus on transportation, Jerry purchased Overland West in 1976. At that time, car rental companies traditionally set daily rental rates that remained the same for the entire year!
As we were speaking, Jerry called himself “a spreadsheet guy.” It became clear that he is more than that. He was an early adopter and leader of technology. As computers entered the professional world, Jerry hired programmers and designed a software system to manage the company’s numerous logistics. There was nothing like it in existence. In doing so, Overland West was “elevated within the industry.” Many Hertz Licensees in the region reached out to Jerry regarding the software, which resulted in Jerry buying out many locations including Billings, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls, Boise, and Spokane. “We went from 5 to over 20 locations,” Jerry said.
Today, computer software is expected in business, however Overland West continues to lead – their employees have a generous profit-sharing plan. Jerry and Steve told us how proud they are that their Jackson Service Manager has been with Overland for 30 years and how their previous longtime Jackson manager was able to retire with a very comfortable savings thanks to his share of the profits. “It makes me proud,” said Jerry. “It’s who we are.”
Thank you, Jerry, Steve, and Overland West, for supporting the valley and the Chamber from the beginning.
This story is a part of our #humansofjhchamber campaign, which focuses on the faces of our local businesses and nonprofits. Learn about their inspirations, why started in their industry and more! Find the Chamber on Instagram at @jhchamber. For information about the program, please contact Communications Manager, Andi Gollwitzer, firstname.lastname@example.org.