Marc Powell, president of reCARnation in Albuquerque, N.M., has been named 2014 National Quality Dealer of the Year by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association during NIADA’s 68th Annual Convention and Expo in Las Vegas.
In a ceremony televised live from Caesars Palace on NIADA.TV, Powell was chosen from the 19 State Quality Dealers nominated for highest honor given among NIADA’s dealer members.
NIADA National Quality Dealer candidates are judged on a variety of factors, including contributions to the automotive industry and community involvement. A panel of judges from Northwood University selects the annual winner.
“Marc Powell has gained an exceptional reputation not only with his customers but throughout the community and the industry,” NIADA executive vice president Steve Jordan said. “His business philosophy is grounded in a belief that service to others is the purpose of life. The key idea is that success is meaningful only when shared, leading the company to focus on the success of customers, team members, community and the industry.”
The dealership sponsors a charity every month…kicking the month off with a party for the chosen charity and donating money for every car sold for the following thirty days. Recipients in 2013 have included Road Runner Food Bank, St. Mary’s Assisted Living, Meals on Wheels, the Rotary Foundation, the University of New Mexico…and many others.
Powell, 50, was a latecomer to the used vehicle industry. After graduating from the Air Force Academy and serving in the Air Force – rose to the rank, he earned degrees from Harvard Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He worked as an investment analyst and founded an investment firm, which he later sold.
His investing eventually led him to the car business. In 2008, Powell became an investor in a used car dealership and led a team that assessed the business’ direction. Because the community is a large area with minimal transportation and a high poverty rate, he focused on providing reliable transportation at reasonable prices.
That led to the dealership’s rebirth as reCARnation, which bases much of its business on extensive reconditioning before the sale and service afterward – helping keep vehicles “recarnated” through its 18,000-square-foot LifeXtend Service Center.
“We’ve developed a life-extension service for cars,” Powell told the Albuquerque Journal. “I don’t think anybody else in New Mexico does what we do.
“We try to do a great job of extending the life of a car. … People need to keep rolling.”
Powell said his business philosophy emphasizes transparency, honesty ans compassion.
That compassion also shows in reCARnation’s commitment to giving back to the community, in part by sponsoring a charity every month. The dealership begins each month with a party for its chosen charity and donates money for every car sold for the next 30 days. Recipients in 2013 included Road Runner Food Bank, St. Mary’s Assisted Living, Meals on Wheels, the Rotary Foundation and the University of New Mexico.
“Marc has an unwavering commitment to our community,” New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez wrote in a letter recommending Powell for the award. “In 2013, he donated over 50 percent of reCARnation’s profit to local individuals and institutions in need.”
And it isn’t just organizations on Powell’s charity radar. Last year, Powell learned of a local teen who was attempting to graduate high school despite battling terminal brain cancer. When he heard her family’s vehicle needed repairs, Powell presented her with a PT Cruiser convertible, saying he wanted her to enjoy the sun on her face and the wind in her hair. When she passed away, Powell got busy and raised more than $5,000 for her funeral within 24 hours.
Powell is also committed to the industry, using his financial background in serving as treasurer of the New Mexico IADA and as a financial advisor to the association’s executive director.
“Our fundamental approach is a desire to produce a successful customer experience with every relationship we have,” he said. “Whether it is happily working a string of seven-day work weeks, going out into the community and doing good deeds, or going that extra mile to help a customer with a problem, our team is always there.”