E. Joe Shoen, a name acquainted with success, ambition, and intriguing leadership. As the head of the massive rental empire, U-Haul, Shoen’s business journey and life has mesmerized many across the globe. His major achievements, contribution to the business world, and his philanthropy, all have made him a subject worth knowing more about.

1. E. Joe Shoen Was Never Handed the Job on a Silver Platter

For those who were under the impression that E. Joe Shoen, being the son of U-Haul founders, L.S. Shoen and Anna Mary Carty Shoen, was instantly handed down the reign, that’s not the truth. Shoen had to earn his way up to his current position as the chairman of the Amerco, U-Haul’s parent company. Currently leading U-Haul International, he showed his worth right from an early age. Yes, he is living proof that privileges don’t necessarily produce lazy offspring.

After graduating from Harvard Business School, Shoen initially worked as a mechanic and equipment preparer at a U-Haul rental center. Later, he established his own subsidiary franchise at age 24, which then grew into a successful operation. His hard work did not go unnoticed; as of today, he has led Amerco to new heights since taking the chairman’s seat in 1987.

2. E. Joe Shoen Is a Military Veteran

Before taking the corporate world by storm, E. Joe Shoen served his nation gallantly. He was part of the United States Marine Corps, bringing the same commitment to his military service that he would later exhibit in his business.

Not just did he serve, but he also fought bravely during the Vietnam War. His military experience has arguably indubitably contributed to shaping his character, enhancing his leadership skills and fuelling his zeal, both as a businessman and as a person.

3. E. Joe Shoen is a proud father of six

On the personal front, Shoen is a proud father of six children. Each of his children shares his passion for the family business, with some leading key roles within the company.

His son, Sam Shoen, has followed in his father’s footsteps by working his way up the business. He is currently the Area District Vice President for U-Haul with responsibilities over Arizona and New Mexico. Maintaining the family heritage within the company is something that Joe Shoen values deeply.

4. Shoen’s Tenure Has Led to Significant Growth For U-Haul

Since E. Joe Shoen took over as Amerco’s chairman, U-Haul has seen impressive growth. From the number of rental locations to the fleet size and overall income, the company has expanded significantly.

As of today, U-Haul boasts over 21,000 locations across the U.S and Canada and an impressive fleet of 176,000 trucks, a testament to Shoen’s leadership and the collective efforts of the U-Haul team.

5. E. Joe Shoen’s Vision for a Sustainable Future

Shoen has been a strong advocate for the environment. U-Haul, under his leadership, has been proactive in ensuring sustainable practices. The company’s sustainability initiatives include the use of alternative fuels, energy-efficient buildings, and car share programs.

Furthermore, U-Haul’s truck-sharing model contributes to reducing CO2 emissions by eliminating unnecessary trips and decreasing congestion. His vision of an environment-friendly business model showcases his concern for our planet and an effort to be part of the solution.

6. Shoen’s Connection with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

Shoen shares a special connection with UNLV as he has been an active donor and supporter. His contributions have significantly boosted the university’s business and law programs and provided numerous scholarships over the years.

The University’s law library is named in his parents’ honor thanks to Shoen’s generous donation. Furthermore, he continues his support through grants, scholarships, and donations that enhance academic progress and research.

7. U-Haul’s Charity Efforts under Shoen

U-Haul is known for its commitment towards community service. Under Shoen’s leadership, the company has teamed up with charities, such as the American Red Cross, Tree Canada, The Conservation Fund, and others, thus making a difference in various ways.

During times of natural disasters, U-Haul has been there to offer support by providing free storage units to the affected families. It is a core value to help make the community a better place, as exemplified by Shoen and his company.

8. Legal Troubles for Shoen

E. Joe Shoen has faced his fair share of legal trouble. The most notable one being the court drama with his own father and siblings. The lawsuit, which was primarily about the control of the U-Haul empire and alienated family members, was a huge talking point in the corporate world.

Despite these challenges, Shoen still stands tall, having not only retained his control but also valiantly led his company to enormous growth and profitability.

9. Shoen Faced the Huge Task of Financial Recovery

In 2003, Amerco filed for bankruptcy after accumulating debt of $4 billion. It was a critical time for Shoen, who had the enormous task of saving the company from sinking.

Under his wise leadership and firm commitment, U-Haul not only successfully emerged from bankruptcy but also cleared its debt ahead of schedule. Shoen’s resilience and determination under pressure truly shine through during this notable recovery.

10. E. Joe Shoen Embraces Tech Advancements

Another interesting fact about Shoen is his openness and willingness to embrace digital advancements. From introducing online reservations to apps that make U-Haul’s services easily accessible, Shoen has made sure U-Haul stays relevant and ahead in technological adoption.

His vision is not just to make U-Haul the go-to brand for moving and storage needs, but also to provide more user-friendly, technology-driven services to meet the evolving demand of consumers.

For anyone keen on knowing more about E. Joe Shoen and his accomplishments, the insights shared here should serve as a great start. A leader, a military veteran, a father, an environmental advocate, and a visionary, E. Joe Shoen’s life is packed with inspiring moments and big achievements that make him one of the most intriguing leaders in the corporate world.




University of Nevada, Las Vegas