U-Haul honors and celebrates the life of a
Company titan, whose impact is still felt today
Ariz. and RIDGEFIELD,
Wash., June 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- An
18-year-old William E. "Hap" Carty, while on leave from the U.S.
Army in 1945, helped his sister and brother-in-law with an upstart
company they were building – quite literally – in a milk house on
the Carty Ranch in Ridgefield.
The concept was to create a line of trailers families could rent
for one-way moves. The business was to be called U-Haul. The
do-it-yourself moving industry would never be the same.
Carty joined U-Haul full-time in 1946 following his discharge at
the end of WWII, and in doing so became the Company's first
employee. While he never cashed his paycheck from the first 10
trailers he helped build in that milk house, his tireless
commitment and influence over the next 43 years shaped the
foundation and growth of one of North
America's most recognizable companies and successful
Hap, nicknamed for being a happy child with a big smile, died on
Friday. He was 95.
"U-Haul would not exist today but for Hap," stated Joe Shoen, U-Haul CEO and son of the Company's
late founders L.S. "Sam" and Anna Mary
Carty Shoen. "He was a recognized industry innovator who
crossed paths with many industry stalwarts including John Rock, Red
Pohling, Don Peterson,
John DeLorean and Roger Penske.
"Hap and John Rock designed the
only medium-duty air-ride truck that GMC® ever built.
He worked with Navistar® and Dana® to produce a medium-duty
truck with a 24-inch frame rail height. That truck
revolutionized do-it-yourself moving."
During his illustrious career, Carty served as president and
Chairman of the Board for U-Haul International, Inc. In 1971, as
president of U-Haul, he brought the Company's network of
independent U-Haul dealerships to 15,000, a record that stood for
more than 30 years.
"One of the reasons I've had good luck in management is that I
always hire good people," Carty told Amerco World (now
U-Haul News) in 1981. "I get them strong in the areas I'm
weak in, and we work together. I've lived this way for years and
looked like a genius many times, because I had the buoyancy of good
Carty was born on March 2, 1927.
He and his wife, Toni, have six children: Gail, Tim, Martin, Kevin,
Katie and Patrick, along with several grandchildren and
The Carty family is synonymous with the rural Washington town 24 miles north of Portland, Ore., where a sign greets visitors:
"Welcome to Ridgefield, birthplace
Hap Carty is equally tied to Tempe, where he lived the latter half of his
life and was instrumental in opening the U-Haul Technical Center in
1970. Though just nine miles east of Phoenix, Tempe was largely undeveloped desert at the
time. The U-Haul Tech Center not only signaled business expansion
in Tempe, but it was the only
research and development facility of its kind in the world,
featuring a test track where rental equipment was rigorously tested
to meet safety standards. Carty ran the facility, which still
manufactures U-Haul trailers and truck boxes today.
From 1946-52, Carty assembled, painted, serviced and rented
trailers. Then he took his wife, Toni, and their two children to
Boston to establish the first
U-Haul manufacturing plant on the East Coast, empowering the
Company to become a nationwide brand.
"I had $500 with which to open
Boston Trailer Manufacturing Company, but was on a $3 per diem allowance. We ate a lot of hot dogs
cooked over open fires as we made our way across the continent,"
Carty recalled. "The (Boston) shop
bore no relation to an automobile assembly line. It looked more
like a village blacksmith shop, complete with hearth, hammer and
Carty also helped establish the U-Haul manufacturing center in
Willow Grove, Penn. He took night
classes at Penn State University,
acquiring knowledge over a wide range of subjects that enabled him
to deal with his immediate responsibilities. He studied business
law, management, economics and engineering. As the first U-Haul
field director of eastern states, Carty directed manufacturing and
marketing operations in 28 states, from Florida to Maine to Minnesota.
In the 1960s, Carty was named U-Haul marketing director. He
later became president of U-Haul subsidiary Kar-Go International, a
role he held when he helped launch the Tech Center.
Carty retired on Jan. 1, 1988, and
remained on the Board of Directors for AMERCO, parent company of
U-Haul, through 2006. Even still, Carty could be seen frequently in
the Company lunchroom, counseling younger managers and attending
U-Haul functions, including one Team Member's 50th anniversary
celebration one week before he passed.
While his legacy remains evident through the awards, images
and quotes attributed to him across the U-Haul Midtown Campus in
Phoenix, his real impact is felt
through the lives he touched, professionally and personally,
throughout the U-Haul network across North America.
Since 1945, U-Haul has been the No. 1 choice of
do-it-yourself movers, with a network of more than 23,000 locations
across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. U-Haul Truck Share
24/7 offers secure access to U-Haul trucks every hour of every day
through the customer dispatch option on their smartphones and our
proprietary Live Verify technology. Our customers' patronage has
enabled the U-Haul fleet to grow to approximately 186,000 trucks,
128,000 trailers and 46,000 towing devices. U-Haul is the third
largest self-storage operator in North
America and offers 876,000 rentable storage units and 75.1
million square feet of self-storage space at owned and managed
facilities. U-Haul is the largest retailer of propane in the U.S.,
and continues to be the largest installer of permanent trailer
hitches in the automotive aftermarket industry. U-Haul has been
recognized repeatedly as a leading "Best for Vets" employer and was
recently named one of the 15 Healthiest Workplaces in
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