Automotive Pioneer Jim Moran Dies at 88

Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Deerfield Beach, FL — Jim Moran, automotive pioneer and founder of JM Family Enterprises, Inc., died April 24, 2007 at Hillsboro Beach, FL. He was 88.

Revered and respected as much for his philanthropic generosity as his numerous and outstanding contributions to the automotive industry, Jim Moran created a legacy built upon dedication, honesty, and hard work. A key highlight of his career, which spanned six decades, was the founding in 1968 of JM Family Enterprises, Inc., headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Florida. It stands today as an $11.1 billion diversified automotive corporation and is ranked by Forbes as the 18th largest privately held company in the country. For the past nine consecutive years, JM Family has been ranked by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the United States. Its flagship subsidiary, Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC (SET), is the world's largest independent distributor of Toyota vehicles. Moran was active in the leadership of JM Family until his passing.

From his days in Chicago of selling soft drinks at sandlot baseball games at age seven, to coaching Little League Baseball, to building an automotive marketing empire, Jim's philosophy for success never changed: Work harder than the competition, treat people fairly, and start every day with an idea of how to do things better. He was the consummate boss, because he never saw himself as "the boss." In his mind, no one ever worked FOR him, rather they worked WITH him. He valued everyone equally regardless of position or title.

Belying his humble beginnings, Jim created and led sales and marketing organizations valued at billions of dollars. He never forgot those who helped him become successful—his business associates and his community. Jim's success in all things relates directly to his often-stated belief that "The future belongs to those who prepare for it." He prepared for his future and tried every day to help others prepare for theirs. Jim's founding values will continue to breathe magic into JM Family's culture and success. With his philosophy that "our associates are our most important asset" and his guiding principles of the three Cs—Consideration, Cooperation and Communication, Jim Moran built his legacy as an automotive pioneer and extraordinary businessman.

Jim's leadership in the automotive industry began when he borrowed $360 to purchase a Sinclair gas station in Chicago in 1939 and began selling used cars at that station just four years later. He then quickly established himself as Chicago's "Jim Moran the Courtesy Man" becoming the No. 1 Hudson dealer in the country, the first ever to advertise new and used cars on television, the No. 1 Ford dealer in the world, and in 1961 became the only automobile dealer to be featured on the cover of TIME magazine. Then in 1966 he moved to South Florida and became the largest volume Pontiac dealer for the 20 years he owned JM Pontiac in Hollywood, Florida, and began SET. His accomplishments as an extraordinary businessman were recognized world wide in 2005, when Jim was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame — the highest place of honor in the international motor vehicle industry.

"No leader in our industry or community has ever been more accomplished, respected or beloved than Jim Moran," said Colin Brown, president and CEO of JM Family. "His humble nature and sincere concern for others, coupled with his impeccable character and unique ability to impact the automotive field in lasting, innovative ways, made him someone who will be remembered and missed for decades to come."

He generously shared his wealth and his heart with his associates and his community throughout his life. In Jim's early days in Chicago, he led many charity telethons with the likes of Bob Hope, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Danny Thomas and was always among the first to recognize a community need and respond to it. His philanthropy continued and grew when he moved to South Florida in 1966 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. As he won his battle with cancer, Jim recognized the importance and impact on the community of Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. Holy Cross became one of his earliest South Florida philanthropic focuses that grew as he saw the need in the community growing. In 2000 the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Center was dedicated and in 2006 the Jim Moran Heart and Vascular Research Institute at Holy Cross Hospital was created to "prepare for the future" of South Florida. Countless individuals and nonprofit organizations have been helped by his generosity. In 1984 Jim founded the Youth Automotive Training Center, located today in Deerfield Beach, Florida, as a privately funded school that still offers basic automotive repair training, GED and academic preparation, and life skills development for at-risk young people that everyone else had given up on. There are now more than 400 YATC graduates living as successful, law abiding citizens because he gave them another chance. Jim's great success as an entrepreneur and his enlightened philanthropy were nationally recognized in 1996 when he received the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Award. An honor given to those who have risen from humble beginnings, overcome incredible obstacles, achieved success through hard work and determination, and give back to their communities.

Jim was so committed to giving back to the community and ensuring his legacy of philanthropy beyond his life that a few years ago he created The Jim Moran Foundation with the mission of improving the quality of life for the youth and families of Florida through the support of innovative programs and opportunities that meet the ever-changing needs of the community. Through his extraordinary vision and generosity, he truly prepared for the future for so many.

Throughout his long and successful life, Jim Moran never took credit for his accomplishments. He always attributed his success to those associates who work with him, being in the right place at the right time, and being able to do something that he loved every day—selling cars. What a legacy! He will be missed by all who knew him and many who never had the opportunity.

James (Jim) Martin Moran was born August 8, 1918 in the Near North Side of Chicago to parents James and Anna. His only sibling who survived beyond infancy was his older sister, Genevieve. All three preceded Jim in death. Jim is survived by his wife, Jan; daughter and son-in-law, Arline and John McNally; daughter, Pat Moran; son and daughter-in-law, Jim Moran, Jr. and Wanda; seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. He will be remembered as a strong and successful husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, friend, entrepreneur, leader, salesman, marketer, competitor, communicator, and philanthropist.

A private ceremony will be held as well as two public "Celebration of Life Gatherings" — one at JM Family's Corporate Headquarters in Deerfield Beach, FL and one at Southeast Toyota's Westlake Vehicle Processing facility in Jacksonville, FL. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Jim Moran Foundation, 100 Jim Moran Boulevard, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442 or to the Youth Automotive Training Center, 399 SW 3rd Avenue, Deerfield Beach, FL 33441.