Serving the Valley and Beyond
When Phoenix native Mike Pendergraft began working as a valet at local Valley restaurants in high school, he never thought that four decades later he would still be in the business. However, after finding early success and eventually climbing into a management position, he had a hunch that this was an industry he could make an impact on for years to come.
In 1980, with the Phoenix Country Club as his first client, Pendergraft did just that. Today, the same kid who once parked cars for some extra spending money as a teenager is now the President and CEO of the company he founded just years later, American Valet.
“We offer our staff the opportunity to work with the public in an attempt to make their day by offering a great experience from the time they enter their destination to the moment they leave it,” says Pendergraft.
Having grown to more than 80 locations across both Arizona and New Mexico, American Valet has a team of more than 600 that provides professional parking and transportation services for a diverse spectrum of business and private clients.
Hospitality and events were a huge focus back in the 1980s when American Valet first hit the scene, but the industry has shifted dramatically over the last 20 years. As his company needed to adapt in an effort to survive, Pendergraft sought opportunities in healthcare, hotels and casinos, as well as shuttle and charter services.
“As the hospitals got bigger, parking naturally became an issue and most of the time people who need to go to the hospital are not necessarily in the frame of mind to be driving around looking for a parking space,” says Pendergraft.
“The same thing with hotels—they realized they could have us run their valet, do it better because that is what we specialize in, and trust us due to our high level of service.”
American Valet is able to maintain such a high level of client service and interaction because of the the culture that Pendergraft and his team have cultivated and maintained over the years.
“We simply look for people with a passion to serve other people, because that really is all we do,” says Pendergraft, talking about what he feels makes an ideal candidate for his team.
In turn, he believes in making sure his executive team is keeping up its end of the bargain by maintaining a work environment that inspires people to consistently offer their best, including scheduling flexibility, opportunities for employees to bring their dogs to the office and bringing in a masseuse once a month for a complimentary massage.
“My dad always told me that you should always do what you like to do, and that is what we try to instill in our people—go out there and just enjoy doing what you do,” he says.
For more information on American Valet, including details on its complete line of services and service territories, please visit AmericanValet.com