Rick Mullinax, President Of Wilshire Limousine Services, 1969-2016

Martin Romjue
Posted on November 22, 2016

Rick Mullinax, president of Wilshire Limousine Services and executive vice president of MCar, Oct. 20, 2015 (LCT file photo)

Rick Mullinax, president of Wilshire Limousine Services and executive vice president of MCar, Oct. 20, 2015 (LCT file photo)

LOS ANGELES — Employees of Wilshire Limousine Services and industry colleagues attended a memorial service Nov. 20 for Rick Mullinax, president of WLS and executive vice president of MCar (formerly Midway Car Rental), who died Saturday, Nov. 12 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. He was 47 years old.

The crash occurred around 7 a.m. while Mullinax was driving along the two-lane Angeles Crest Highway that crosses the San Gabriel Mountain Range northeast of Los Angeles. He died at the scene.

The memorial service followed by a reception was held Sunday, Nov. 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hevadu Estate in Malibu. Before the memorial, a viewing was held 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Gary Macdonald, president of Midway Auto Group, described the death as “an unbelievable blow” that has left hundreds of employees at the companies in shock.

"Rick was a great friend, partner, and leader," Macdonald told LCT. "He made everyone around him better. He built a great team around him, and that team will continue his legacy. The entire Hankey organization is saddened to lose such a wonderful person."

Mullinax moved to Los Angeles in 2000 to become a shareholder and executive vice president for Midway Car Rental, and later president of Wilshire Limousine Services, both part of the Don Hankey Group of companies.

Rick Mullinax (left) with two of his closest executive colleagues, Gary Macdonald and Mike Kushner, in photo taken Oct. 20, 2015 for LCT Magazine at Wilshire Limousine Services headquarters in Los Angeles.

Rick Mullinax (left) with two of his closest executive colleagues, Gary Macdonald and Mike Kushner, in photo taken Oct. 20, 2015 for LCT Magazine at Wilshire Limousine Services headquarters in Los Angeles.

When Mullinax joined MCar, it was an 800-car, four-location local business in Los Angeles. Under his leadership, the company has grown to 10 locations throughout Los Angeles and San Diego, with two more slated to open soon. It runs a fleet of about 2,500 vehicles. He also helped launch Wilshire Limousine Services in 2007, where he served as president until his death.

"I've been in the car rental and ground transportation industry for 49 years this Thanksgiving, and I met Rick almost 15 years ago," recalled Ken Kerzner, a managing partner and veteran sales executive for Wilshire Limousine Services and MRide. "I have been working side by side with him for over 11 years and can absolutely say I have never met anybody like Rick. With my almost 50 years of tenure in the industry, Rick taught me something new every day. His leadership, his mentorship, and friendship will be missed by me and all who worked with him, and for him." 

Under Mullinax's leadership, MCar revenues quintupled and profits grew. From rebranding the company MCar in 2015 to numerous growth plans still going on, he was reimagining the entire business.

Wilshire Limousine Services grew from a small luxury airport service to a 160- vehicle fleet based in Los Angeles and New York. It ranked No. 17 on this year’s LCT 50 Largest Fleets List, and among the largest in Los Angeles.

"Rick Mullinax was a leader who never followed the herd," said Michael Kushner, vice president of operations for WLS in Los Angeles. "He created paths for people he trusted and respected. After six years of knowing him, I not only lost a leader and a mentor, but a true friend. Rick will be truly missed."

A tribute described Mullinax as "a charismatic and inspirational leader, and to many, he was also a great friend. Among his numerous talents was a rare ability to recognize potential in all its shapes and sizes, allowing him to build a diverse team of people – and to inspire all to do their best. His open door policy was not the token nod to architecture sometimes found in the corporate world, but a true reflection of his willingness to listen to everyone.”

Before joining Midway, Mullinax had worked exclusively for Enterprise Rent-a-Car, holding a variety of sales and management positions focused on growth and development of daily car rental business in Utah and Idaho.

"Unassuming and approachable despite his stature, a 6’2” all-American boy with sports in his blood and ambition in his heart, he brought his Midwestern values and work ethic to the place he came to call home, Southern California,” the tribute stated. “In action, these qualities translated into ambition, vision, and empowerment."

Rick Mullinax was born on May 22, 1969 in Parkersburg, Ill., and attended and graduated from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

Mullinax is survived by his wife and high school sweetheart, Janet, a son, Nicholas, 5 years old; mother, Sharon Mullinax; sisters Kathy Lambert Vicky Robbins, Rhonda Griggs; brother-in-law Darryl Griggs; and nieces Kannesha Mullinax, her daughter Mailee, Krystle Lambert and Dru Griggs.

“Rick was a kind, caring and giving person,” his obituary states. “He will be deeply missed by everyone that knew him.”

Related Topics: accidents, California operators, deaths, industry leaders, Los Angeles operators, memorial, rental cars, Rick Mullinax, Wilshire Limousine Services

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