LAS VEGAS - James David Power III, the founder of J.D. Power & Associates, was awarded the International Automotive Remarketing Alliance (IARA) Circle of Excellence award at the IARA Winter Roundtable.
The award was given at the IARA Roundtable meeting, held February 25 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
Excerpts from the speech given by Dave Alfonso, chairman of the IARA awards committee honoring Power are included below.
“From a discussion with his wife, Julie, at the kitchen table in their home on Kenrose Circle in Calabasas, California, in 1968, Power, together with wife Julie, launched a company that today has offices in California, Arizona, Michigan, Connecticut, Toronto, London, Munich, Singapore, Shanghai, Bangkok, Beijing, Sydney, and Tokyo.
“Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, Power has had a major positive impact on the lives of each and every one of us in this room.
“J.D. Power & Associates is the Gold Standard as a resource for customer satisfaction data and has led to research projects in a variety of industries including automotive, financial services, telecommunications, cable, cellular and long distance telephone, travel, marine industry, sports, home construction, utilities, healthcare and the Web.
"J.D. Power conducts unbiased surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality and buyer behavior resulting in businesses striving to improve their performances and best practices, directly benefitting the consumer in many ways.
“Each year, J.D. Power and Associates surveys millions of consumers around the world to gather their opinions and expectations about the products they purchase and services they use.
“In addition to conducting research, J.D. Power offers consulting and performance improvement services to its clients. And they present nationally syndicated studies that serve as industry benchmarks for measuring and tracking quality and customer satisfaction.
“Today, every major brand in the world seeks to achieve a top J.D. Power award ranking.
"Power began life in Worcester, Mass. Like his Father before him, he attended The College of the Holy Cross and graduated in 1953.
“Following college, he immediately began a lifetime of giving back, and joined the Coast Guard to serve his country.
“Soon after leaving the Service, Power added to his education by earning an MBA from the prestigious Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania.
“He then joined Ford Motor Company and worked as a financial analyst.
“Later, Power worked for Marplan as a marketing research consultant for General Motors Corporation’s Biuck and GMC Truck and Coach Divisions.
“He also worked as a marketing research executive for the J.I. Case Company, a manufacturer of construction equipment, and was Director of Corporate Planning for the McCulloch Corporation, an engine manufacturer based in Los Angeles.
“Like other great visionaries, Power heard the call to a greater purpose. And like a rare handful of others who rose above the crowd from humble to average beginnings and made a difference throughout the world, he took the risk and followed the call.
“Remember two guys named Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs? They sold two calculators and van for a total of $1,300. With that, they started a company called Apple Computer in a garage and it grew to 22,000 employees!
“Bill Gates III dropped out of college with a belief that there should be an easy-to-use computer on every office desk and in every home. He followed his passion and together with his college friend, Paul Allen, began a company called Microsoft. His mission statement: ‘To enable people and Businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential.’ Think about that. His earliest vision just starting out was to have an impact on the world!
“Power also had an international vision, many years before the guys who started both those companies, with one very important recognition: Power recognized that the corporate world was failing to listen to its customers.
“As with other great companies based on humble beginnings and with a dream to unite business with its consumers, J.D. Power & Associates was born. It began with Power’s wife and children as the associates.
“Power’s four children remember working with their mother, stuffing surveys into envelopes and taping a quarter to each of the surveys to encourage people to fill them out and return them. It worked, and his family remembers him coming home at night carrying stacks of new data to compile.
“What a great lesson this was for Power’s children. They were able to be involved in the sacrifice and hard work with their parents and then experience the payoff that finally came in the form of success. Power’s company had finally, in his own words, ‘Provided the voice of the customer.’
“The resulting positive impact on business, has since been felt around the world! By 1981, Power’s business world was on solid ground but a difficult challenge faced him personally. At age 43, Power’s wife, Julie, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
“Julie lost her hard-fought battle with MS in 2002, and her family maintains she still serves as an inspiration and role model to them. In fact, their son Jonathon was so inspired by how his mother handled her illness he became a psychotherapist. He now volunteers with the MS Society by offering group and individual group therapy for people with MS and their families.
“From his youngest days, Power has always felt very strongly about the need to give back has given back many ways in return for what he has achieved. Speaking of his days as a child, he once said, ‘It was a different life in those days, coming out of the Depression. I learned about living within your means and sharing with people less fortunate. I was brought up in that background.’
“Three years ago, after 37 years of owning J.D. Power & Associates, the Power family sold the business and created an even greater opportunity for Power and his family to give back.
“They formed a family Foundation and true to their roots, named it the Kenrose Kitchen Table Foundation to commemorate the place where Power & Julie began their successful business journey in 1968. The Foundation identifies and supports unconventional solutions to today’s MS problems and invests in innovative solutions and ways of thinking that bring breakthroughs in medical research for people living with MS.
“Power’s daughter, Susan, calls the Foundation a tribute to her mother’s memory. She says, “My parents instilled the importance of doing what’s right even when no one is looking. It’s a value we carry with us to this day.”
“The Kenrose Kitchen Table Foundation has made major financial gifts to MS research in the past three years through support of the Promise 2010 Campaign.
“Promise 2010 is the first national MS fundraising campaign focused on four targeted areas of MS research. It has a nationwide goal of raising $35 million by 2010.
“The Power family through the Kenrose Kitchen Table Foundation is very active in the Golden Circle Southern California Chapter. The Power family recently established the 2008 Cause/Care/Cure/Challenge by contributing $300,000 together with another family to ensure reaching a target of $1 million by December 31st.
“People serving the MS society do wonderful work. They provide customized approaches to help individuals cope with the challenges MS brings. They educate healthcare professionals and improve healthcare systems to ensure high quality comprehensive MS care. They also provide counseling, care management, financial aid, employment assistance and legal services. And the Powers’ family Foundation is a major force driving the amount and quality of care that MS patients receive.
“Power also gives back to the Co
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