Robert Sorensen and Ken Osterand, native Chicagoans and lifelong friends, first ventured into business together by opening two car washes in Indianapolis (5800 W. Washington St. & 3433 W. 16th St.) under the name, Speedway Auto Laundry, in 1957.
In 1966, in order to meet the demand for car rental from the surrounding neighborhoods, the two men added 10 Volkswagens to their business, operating under the Airways Rent A Car brand until early 1969.
Later that year, with an interest in expanding their operations to the Indianapolis International Airport, Sorensen, Osterand and nine other Airways Rent A Car operators, broke away from the Airways system and co-founded the American International (AI) Rent a Car franchise system.
By 1986, operations had grown to several locations throughout Indiana and the Chicago area. It was in that year, that Sorensen launched the ACE Rent A Car brand. In doing so, ACE became an early adopter of the emerging Global Distribution Systems (GDS), such as Sabre, PARS, and Apollo.
Following Sorensen’s death in 1995, his nephew Richard Radzis and long-time employee, Charlie Mullen, took over as primary owners. Over the next 19 years, Radzis and Mullen expanded the footprint of their 3,000 vehicle business into Arizona, Minnesota and Texas, before selling their rental operations to Avis Budget Group in 2014, while still retaining ownership of the ACE Rent A Car brand, licensee system and proprietary software.
Today, the ACE Rent A Car brand had more than 300 licensed locations in over 45 countries, and is now the largest system of independent rental car operators in the world.