The College of the Holy Cross will host “An Evening with J.D. ‘Dave’ Power III ’53,” on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in Rehm Library. Founder of J.D. Power and Associates, a global marketing information firm that surveys customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior, Power will be interviewed by Aaron Nicodemus, editor of the Telegram & Gazette’s “Business Matters” section, about his new book “POWER: How J.D. Power III Became the Auto Industry’s Adviser, Confessor, and Eyewitness to History,” (Fenwick Publishing, September 2013). Power will be available to sign copies of the book after the event, which will be available for purchase. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies and the public affairs office at Holy Cross.
A Worcester native, Power founded one of the most prestigious marketing information companies in the world, J.D. Power and Associates, in 1968. He has traveled around the world presenting information and awards to auto industry CEOs, engineers, and assembly line workers, instilling in them the voice of the customer. The firm is a highly trusted resource for consumers shopping for big-ticket items, including cars and boats, and for services including hospital care and insurance; corporate headquarters are located in Westlake Village, Calif., with domestic offices throughout the United States, and international offices in Beijing, Bangkok, Munich, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto. In 2005, J.D. Power and Associates became a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
In his new book, Power looks back on his 50 years in the auto industry with amazing candor. As an eyewitness to every major development in the auto industry in the last 50 years, his front-row seat has provided him with numerous compelling anecdotes about major players like Toyota, Mazda, GM, Volkswagen, Lee Iacocca, John DeLorean, Henry Ford II, Jack Smith, Dieter Zetsche, and others.
Power was born and raised in Worcester—and comes from a long tradition of Holy Cross graduates. His father, James Jr., was a 1920 graduate; two of his uncles graduated in 1916 and 1923; his brother, John, was a member of the class of 1969; and his daughter Susan Power Curtin is a 1993 graduate and a member of the College’s Board of Trustees.
While Power was a student at Holy Cross, he could not afford to live on campus. “It was a different life in those days, coming out of the Depression,” he told Holy Cross Magazine. “I learned about the need for living within your means and sharing with people less fortunate. I was brought up in that background.”
This is why he created The Power Family Scholarship—to make the full educational experience available to qualified Worcester students who might not otherwise get the opportunity. Since it was first awarded in 2009, The Power Family Classes of ’20, ’53, ’69 and ’93 Endowed Scholarship has helped nine students receive a Holy Cross education.
His experience also led him to launch the J.D. Power Challenge in 2008, pledging $500,000 to establish paid internships for Holy Cross students in Worcester-area organizations if alumni gave at a participation rate of at least 55 percent. Holy Cross alumni answered the call and his endowed gift has funded nine J.D. Power Interns since 2008. Each summer students intern at Greater Worcester businesses including Hanover Insurance, Fallon Community Health Plan, Washington Mills in N. Grafton, and Dovetail Internet Technologies.
After graduating from Holy Cross, Power served four years as a line officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, and then earned his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Ford Motor Company and later worked for McCann-Erickson Worldwide’s Marplan division as a marketing research consultant for General Motors. Prior to launching J.D. Power and Associates, Power worked as a strategic planning executive for several clients.
In 1992, Power was a recipient of the Automotive Hall of Fame’s Distinguished Service Citation, awarded each year to the industry’s most accomplished leaders. In 2010 he received the Joseph P. Wharton Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Wharton Alumni Association. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from numerous colleges and universities, including Holy Cross in 1994, California Lutheran University, and California State University Northridge.
Power currently sits on the board of directors at DealerTrack Technologies and splits his time between Southern California and Cape Cod.
Aaron Nicodemus is the editor of “Business Matters,” the business magazine for the Sunday issue of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. He has worked as an editor and reporter at the Telegram & Gazette since 2007, covering healthcare and some of Worcester’s eastern suburbs. He previously worked at The Standard-Times in New Bedford; The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro; The Mail & Guardian, a weekly paper based in Johannesburg, South Africa; and several other weekly papers. “Business Matters” has won numerous journalism awards, including being named the “Business Section of the Year” in 2012 by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.