Rudy Smith Inducted Into Towing Hall Of Fame


The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum inducted 10 new members into its Hall of Fame in Chattanooga, TN on Saturday, September 30, 2023, including Rudy Smith, a third-generation owner of a 103-year-old towing company, Rudy Smith Service, in New Orleans, LA.

As the president, Rudy leads the team at Rudy Smith Service, a TRAXERO customer, and has served the greater New Orleans area for just over a century. It is one of the oldest towing operations in the United States.

Rudy’s professional associations include:

  1. Founding member of the Towing & Recovery Professionals of Louisiana; TRAA member since 1980
  2. Long-time member of the ITRHF Museum
  3. Greater New Orleans Executive Association since 1983


Rudy’s Legislative Efforts

Rudy has long served the interests of the towing industry. Since 1980, there is not a single piece of towing legislation passed in Louisiana that doesn’t have Rudy’s fingerprints on it.

1989: As chairman of TRPL’s legislative committee, Rudy led the effort in Louisiana’s Legislature to license all towing operations, creating uniform insurance requirements, established statewide safety standards, and ended the practice of wreck chasing.

1999: Rudy engineered and helped pass legislation that eliminated industry rate setting authority from Louisiana’s cities and political subdivisions, constitutionally consolidating towing rates and tariffs under the sole authority of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. The action resulted in uniform statewide rates that are periodically adjusted via utility tariff setting procedures.


Rudy’s Other Professional Accomplishments

2000: As co-founder of Beacon Software, towing’s first cloud-based management software, Rudy served as Beacon Software’s CEO for 21 years until becoming part of TRAXERO in 2021.

2000: WreckMaster’s Student of the Class.

2006: In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Rudy Smith Service managed the largest federally funded vehicle recovery contract ever awarded. The three-year project recovered and disposed of thousands of flood damaged cars, trucks, and boats.

2005 – 2009: In addition to towing, RSS handled multiple Katrina recovery contracts including:

  1. Demolition of hundreds of flooded homes and commercial buildings
  2. Assisting many utility companies’ recovery efforts
  3. Warehousing flooded court records and case evidence
  4. Supplying warehouse facilities for hundreds of unclaimed bodies lost in Katrina

2013: Seeing a need for specialized management training for the towing industry, Rudy came up with a concept for an industry specific business conference catering exclusively to owners and managers. Partnering with Tow Times, “The Towing & Recovery Management Summit” was formed and is now considered one of the industry’s premier events.

2014: Rudy was named The Greater New Orleans Executive of the year.


Outside Of Towing

Rudy and his wife Evelyn live in New Orleans. They have a son, William and daughter-in-law, Valerie who currently reside in Philadelphia.

Rudy graduated from the University of New Orleans in 1980 with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration.

He currently serves on the advisory boards of seven diverse regional and national corporations.

He’s been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1983.

In his spare time, Rudy races sailboats. He has successfully competed at the national and international level. He is a long-time member of The Southern Yacht Club of New Orleans and The Storm Trysail Club of New York. When not sailing, Rudy enjoys fishing the Louisiana Gulf Coast waters. 

Congratulations on being inducted into The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and thank you for your service to our industry!