MT. ARLINGTON, NJ - Matt Marks, long-time executive director of IARA, passed away on his birthday, Sunday, Oct. 28 from a heart attack. He was 70. He is survived by his wife, Rita.
UPDATED 10/31/12, The memorial has been rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy: A memorial will be held by his wife, Rita, Wed., Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Goble Funeral Home, 22 Main Street, in Sparta, N.J. The memorial will be a military style service.
"It's a shock and a tragic loss for the industry, and, for the IARA in particular. Matt was truly the glue that held the Alliance together," said Mike Antich, editor of Automotive Fleet and Vehicle Remarketing, and IARA long-time secretary, officer, and member of the Board of Directors. "He will be sorely missed, and we extend our condolences and sympathy to his wife Rita and to his family."
Additional voices from the IARA and remarketing industry reached out after the news or Marks' passing originally broke.
Rob Wagner, CAR, president of the IARA and director, asset remarketing, Hyundai Motors America, said: "It is with sad emotions that I share the news of Matt Marks passing. Matt was the living example of professionalism and personability. His commitment to excellence was seen by everyone. His thoughtfulness felt by everyone. Words are hard to find for individuals such as Matt. Let it be that Matt was the best of all that any of us could ever expect. SOLID – solid like Granite, absolute reliability. Few men know how to act without direction, Matt KNEW! From your friends at IARA, all the BEST, we will be thinking and praying for you and your family, now and for many years to come."
Scott Kolb, CAI of United Road Services and director for the IARA continued: "Matt was the true voice of the IARA, overseeing not only the organization’s growth and expansion, but establishing it as the most critical alliance of experts in the remarketing industry. Earlier in his career, Matt was the President of ITS (the inspection company now known as SGS), and had served our country as a pilot in the Navy."
According to Jack Rennels, VP of Vehicle Remarketing for Emkay, "I had only known Matt for about 15 months, having joined the IARA Board in August of 2011. However he reached out to me and made me feel welcome from the beginning. He was a genuinely nice person. He was very hands on, always willing to lend a hand to make things work. It was obvious that he loved working with the IARA and all its members. He will be sorely missed."
Les Lynott, director of strategic account management for Emkay, said: "It is with great sadness and heavy heart that I write to you, Mike. It is unbelievable to me that one of our dear friends, Matt Marks, passed so unexpectedly. Matt was a great advocate for IARA. Frankly, Matt was the glue of the organization. He was instrumental in putting IARA on the map through his networking and ability to reach out to anyone and everyone to chat about the organization. He had great passion for the remarketing industry and was a plethora of knowledge about its history and where it might go. I shared many laughs and had many good conversations with Matt. I am shocked that one of our dear friends has moved on to the other side. His efforts will be deeply missed by IARA but that pales in comparison to how much Matt, the man, will be missed."
Dave Alfonso, remarketing manager for KIA USA said: "Rarely, when someone touches our lives, do they leave an imprint on our hearts the size of which Matt has left. His overwhelming passion and love for both the IARA, and all of those who are a part of it, have been an inspiration that will live on within us forever in his memory. God bless you Matt! We’ll see you upstairs."
Don Fowler, director, business development for DataScan Field Services said, "Matt was a true business friend and a consummate business executive. He brought a professional dedication to his responsibilities as Executive Director to the IARA and will be sorely missed. Matt always made himself available, I leaned on him many, many times as we worked to build the membership of the IARA. A personal friend and a business partner, he will always have a warm place in my heart."
Layne Weber, past president of the IARA, said, "I am truly saddened by the sudden loss of one of our colleagues. During my term as President of IARA I had the privilege of working very closely with Matt for over two years. He was a man of integrity and deeply cared about the remarketing industry and IARA. Matt’s leadership allowed the organization to develop from an afterthought to the preeminent organization of remarketing professionals. He will be greatly missed by all of us that had the pleasure of knowing him."
"Matt’s leadership, commitment, and resolve will be truly missed. He was a man of great character, a real patriot, and one of the most honorable men I have ever known," Kolb said.
Bob Graham, VP of Vehicle Remarketing for ARI, said: "Matt will be sorely missed, not only as the face of the IARA, but also as a friend to many of us. Matt and I worked closely together for several years and he was the real strength behind the IARA and the glue that held the executive committee together. Always the professional, Matt was patient and thoughtful as he guided the Alliance from its infancy to its current position as the voice of the remarketing industry."
To read about Marks' past, click to the next page.
By Lauren Fletcher
Leaving a 'Mark' on the Industry
Marks’ management talent stemmed from his strong history in leadership positions. In 1971, he began his career at the ocean marine terminals in Norfolk, Va., serving as an assistant general manager until 1987. During that time, Marks and his colleagues developed the first ocean terminal computerized container control system.
Marks’ leadership capabilities shined through at the Norfolk Naval Air Station as well, where he served as a U.S. Navy Reservist from 1971-1985 and flew E-2 Hawkeyes. His natural ability as a leader led him to eventually become squadron commander. From 1985-1989, Marks served in the Pentagon as a reservist in the Navy’s Chief Naval Operations (CNO) office.
In 1987, Marks was named president and CEO of ITS, a large U.S. vehicle inspection company, which also had marine cargo survey operations in Europe. One of Marks’ shining accomplishments was the development of the first fully electronic handheld vehicle inspection system.
With significant automotive experience under his belt, Marks’ leadership capabilities led him to set out on his own. He spent 2000-2002 serving as a consultant, primarily in the automotive industry. These experiences, both as a leader and as an automotive industry expert, spurred his acceptance of his current position as executive director.
“I joined because I knew the industry and its leaders. The IARA was in its formative phase and needed strong leadership to grow. I have always been involved with growth opportunities and the challenge for the IARA at that time was attractive to me,” he said. “I derive a great deal of satisfaction in being involved when something materializes where there was previously nothing. The IARA certification program is a good example. It started as just an idea discussed several years ago, one night at dinner with colleagues.”
In his role as executive director of the IARA, he was charged with ensuring the Alliance’s objectives were met, while taking charge of daily administration, acting as the contracting officer, and serving as the organization’s spokesperson. He was the Alliance’s only paid staff member.
On a regular basis, Marks also organized and led all committee meetings and monthly Board of Directors meetings and administered the IARA educational certification programs.