Pat Crahan for MOVEmag


pat crahan ends a distinguished 51 years at u-haul

Before 2000, U-Haul Company spent a lot of time and resources trying to get new license plates attached to thousands of trucks. It was often an exercise in futility, sending new plates in hopes of catching trucks that could be in Oregon one day and Nevada the next. In 2000, U-Haul secured a process known as apportionment, in which all trucks are permanently licensed in Arizona and all states and provinces receive their fair share of licensing fees.

Over the years, this move has saved U-Haul millions of dollars and countless hours trying to track down trucks. One of the people primarily responsible for this accomplishment is Pat Crahan, who says it's perhaps the crowning achievement of his U-Haul career, which is winding down. After 51 years, Crahan is transitioning into retirement, though he calls it a "working retirement."

The Crahan name is a U-Haul institution, and it all started in 1963, when Pat was hired by U-Haul co-founder L.S. (Sam) Shoen to be marketing company president (MCP) of what was then UHC of Oklahoma and Arkansas. In 1970, Pat became vice president of U-Haul International, a position that put him in charge of all departments and operations in the U-Haul Towers. Eventually, he gravitated toward zoning and government relations (which included working with state and provincial governments, as well as with oil companies). In 2006, Pat was officially named vice president of Government Relations, though he had been carrying out those duties for many years prior to that point.

As he transitions into retirement, Crahan hands over the reins to Joe Cook, who has been working alongside Crahan since 2009. Cook will now succeed Crahan as VP of Government Relations.

"I'm extremely fortunate that Joe Cook will be taking over my position," Crahan proclaimed. "I can't say enough good things about him, and I think he's an excellent choice. I've been doing everything I can to pass along whatever knowledge I have to him, and I know he'll do a great job."

Future plans

Crahan has very deep roots in the U-Haul family tree and can't just walk away immediately, but he does look forward to spending more quality time with his wife of 58 years, Velva.

"She's been by my side the entire time," Pat declared. "Now, we'll just have more freedom to do what we want to do and when we want to do it, and a little less stress."

The Crahans don't have any definite plans, but their itinerary will include trips to Pat's boyhood hometown of Vinita, Oklahoma.

"We still own the home I grew up in and we go back there to go catfishing a few times a year," Pat noted. "Now, we'll probably go there more often and stay longer. And I plan to catch more and bigger catfish!"

Pat and Velva Crahan 50th Anniversary
Pat and Velva celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 2006.

"Pat has initiated and developed innumerous meaningful, essential and productive strategies and innovations aimed at helping both U-Haul and all of our customers," emphasized JT Taylor, president of UHI Phoenix Operations. "It is impossible to fully capture in a single quote the importance and true value of the contributions Pat has made for the last 51 years at U-Haul. Pat is a true professional, and through his comprehensive understanding of the Company and the needs of our customers, he is able to influence legislation and processes that support U-Haul Company's ability to serve customers and do so effectively and economically. Pat's passion and advocacy for U-Haul are relentless and his persistence has been a keystone to his success.

"I have had the pleasure on a couple of occasions to join Pat and Velva when they are in the field working with the various government and industry groups they connect with and have been enormously impressed with the reception they both receive from everyone," Taylor added. "They are truly Mr. and Mrs. U-Haul to thousands and thousands who are part of this group. Velva is most definitely the 'first lady' of U-Haul to all of the people involved. They have both built lasting and endearing relationships through their honesty, ethical approach and hard work. The effect of the work that they have both participated in for U-Haul will last for as long as U-Haul is around. Their legacy of work is greatly appreciated, has made lives easier throughout the Company and will influence strategy into the future. I will look forward to Pat's ongoing guidance and leadership with me and know he will remain involved helping Joe Cook as we move ahead."

Pat Crahan AAMVA Award Nov-Dec 2000
 Pat received many honors and awards, including the Distinguished Servce Award - Distinguished Community Member from AAMVA in 2000.

"Pat Crahan's impact on the U-Haul business—and the entire do-it-yourself moving and storage industry—is incalculable," added U-Haul Executive Vice President (EVP) Stuart Shoen. "He can literally check every 'box' there is to check. Consider this: He was both personally hired and mentored by the co-founder of not only the business, but the one-way rental industry itself. Pat has either served as an officer of or received major awards from—or both—every single major industry group that is associated with the business. He has hundreds of friends in high places all across the continent. He's made orange blazers, white beards, daily walks to the nearby hospital for lunch, colorful Hawaiian shirts and Salty Dogs into his famous signatures.

"Pat was chosen over every other U-Haul Pioneer as the first character we meet in the book that chronicles the start of the Company," Shoen added. "He convinced a wonderful woman to marry him, and is the patriarch of a large family—some of whom are or have been U-Haul Team members. He's a prolific fisherman, part Cherokee and on top of all that, he's served our country in the U.S. Air Force. I'm in awe of this man, and I hope that when my career begins to wind down, I will have accomplished half as much as he did. In the meantime, I sure hope he is willing to give Joe Cook and me some advice on how, exactly, to do just that."