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Going the extra mile: Joan’s journey to retirement

Joan Dunbar, Hertz employee portrait

They say everything comes full circle — for Joan Dunbar, her time with Hertz at John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) really is the epitome of that phrase. In 1982, when Joan began her career with Hertz, the offices were located where the new rental car center now stands. In the years between then and now, Joan moved with Hertz from their original location to the terminal, where the rental cars operated from levels 1 and 2 of the parking garage, and now back in that same original spot… in a much more updated facility.

In this special edition of Going the Extra Mile, we sat down with Joan to chat about how things have changed for this beloved teammember before she steps into retirement on April 1.

How it all began…

Joan started her career with Hertz as a Rental Rep in 1982. She then elevated to a Lead and became a manager shortly after — a position she’s now been in for 28 years.

Most memorable moments…

“Eric Clapton came in one time,” Joan reminisced. “We were told ‘you gotta make sure nobody bothers him when he comes to the counter.’ He ended up coming up to the counter, super nice guy, with a ballcap and sunglasses. I wouldn’t have even realized it was him!” She went on to recall moments she worked with Secret Service for Presidential visits and other celebrities who have traveled through Columbus in need of a rental car.

When thinking about how things have changed over the years…

“We started here,” Joan pointed to the ground, indicating the Hertz offices were once in the same spot the new rental car center now stands. “There was a ticket counter in the terminal. I remember walking out on the old walkway to watch the airplanes take off. It was really neat. And back then, you could smoke at the counter!” Those of us sitting in the room laughed at the thought of indoor smoking, especially around passengers. 

When asked how big the fleet was when she first started, Joan responded with, “I don’t know, it couldn’t have been very big.” Now? Between Dayton, John Glenn International and off-airport local Hertz locations, 2,600 cars.

When thinking back on unique things that happened…

“We always say you could write a book,” Joan laughed. Everything used to be done by hand. She remembers the moment computers were introduced to the job, mentioning how amazing everyone thought it was. One thing people may not know? How they used to have to check for a bad credit card: “There was a credit card book, it was a big book. Every time someone gave you a credit card you had to go through the book, and as long as their number wasn’t in it they were good to go. If they were, you’d get $50 for every credit card you kept. You’d have to cut it up in front of them and then mail it in.”

The plans for retirement…

“Of course we want to travel!” Joan smiled, “I love to garden — so hopefully my garden will be huge and weed free. But the biggest thing is hopefully sleep!”

When asked what she’ll miss the most…

Joan pointed to two of her coworkers, Brittany, airport operations manager with Hertz, and Aubrey, property management and concessions sr. specialist with Columbus Regional Airport Authority. “These two,” she said with a genuine smile and gleam in her eye that told us just how important all who’ve passed through have been to her throughout the years.

We wish Joan all the best in this new chapter of her life, and thank her for all the years she’s spent with Hertz at John Glenn Columbus International Airport!

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