In Memoriam: Don Meadows, 1952-2012
ATLANTA - Don Meadows, president and CEO of Auto Auction Services Corp., passed away Dec. 10, 2012 from a presumed heart attack. He was 60.
Meadows started in the automotive industry as a mechanic for a franchise dealer. He then branched off as an entreprenuer owning his own garage, which he sold in 1984. Hired into Donlen’s Fleet Management Group in 1984, Meadows advanced into remarketing, and was mentored by Don Rappeport, the co-founder of Donlen.
Meadows focused on training Donlen’s fleet manager clients about the value of vehicle selection and proper depreciation techniques. While at Donlen, Meadows spent two years designing and implementing the next generation of an inventory management system for remarketing.
In 1997, after an industry conference keynote by Darryl Ceccoli (former president and CEO of Manheim Auctions) sparked the idea, Meadows drew up a plan and landed the position that led to AutoIMS.com, a one-stop shop for managing vehicle remarketing portfolios, which launched in 1998. Meadows resigned his position at Donlen in 1998 and was named president and CEO of the Auto Auction Services Corp, a position he held for the past 14 years.
“Both Don and I started in the fleet business around the same time and soon developed a business relationship, which turned into a true friendship,” said Mike Antich, editor of Automotive Fleet magazine. “In those early years, Don was always my go-to person whenever I had a remarketing question and he was always there to lend a helping hand. I admired Don because I knew his early years had not been easy for him. Don had a very tough childhood, but his strength as an individual led him to excel. Don, in many ways, was very humble, but he truly epitomized what it meant to be a self-made man. I will truly miss Don, especially his dry sense of humor.”
Meadows was succeeded as Donlen’s remarketing director by Layne Weber. “I knew Don for nearly 20 years and am deeply saddened by his passing. Over the years I had the opportunity to work with Don on major projects for Donlen, CitiFinancial, and IARA. Don was dedicated to improving the remarketing industry and always focused on delivering results for AASC clients that allowed them to improve their business practices,” Weber, who is currently VP national remarketing sales for OneMain Remarketing (formerly CitiFinancial Remarketing). “Don and I started the original ‘Myth Testers’ presentation at the CAR conference a few years back and he was always the consummate professional in every situation. I will always remember Don as a man with great passion and even greater integrity. Our industry suffered a significant loss this week with his passing."
Gary Rappeport, CEO of Donlen, also shared his thoughts on Don. "I had the privilege to work with Don for almost 10 years when he ran Donlen's remarketing. Don was an incredibly honest and ethical individual whose interactions were direct, thoughtful, and fair. He was respected by everyone that he worked with and had a wickedly smart sense of humor. On many a day, Don had us laughing for hours. He had a significantly positive impact on Donlen and fleet remarketing and will be dearly missed."
Meadows was also named one of Automotive Fleet's Key Fleet Remarketing Leaders in the September 2012 issue.
He survived by his wife, Shannon, and two children, daughter Lucy and son Keenan.
By Lauren Fletcher