Mitsubishi Motors Dealer Partner Spotlight – Foundation 45 Mitsubishi on Showing Love through Service
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) is celebrating dealer partners who go above and beyond for their communities. They provide more than just a great place to buy a car – they help their hometowns thrive in the good times and heal in the challenging times. They rise to the occasion, whatever the occasion may be. In February, a month when we celebrate love in all its many forms, we are proud to feature Foundation 45 Mitsubishi and Operating Partner and General Manager Juan Martinez, who has built his business on giving back to the community.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH JUAN MARTINEZ
Operating Partner and General Manager, Foundation 45 Mitsubishi, Houston, TX
- Chicago born-and-raised, when you and your wife began thinking of starting a family, you began dreaming of a slower, more spacious lifestyle, so you made a big scenery change and a big career change. Let’s start there. It’s true – I am a big city kid, and I really do enjoy the small-town we’ve built in Katy, TX, just outside of Houston. I started my career, in Chicago, in corporate human resources, and I continued that work after I moved to Houston. One day, my brother in law, who was in the car business, asked for my help communicating with a potential customer who only spoke Spanish. I stepped in, quickly closed the deal, and I never looked back. Coming from human resources, I obviously loved working with people, but mostly, I love that no two days are alike in the car business. Every day, there is a new challenge – a new opportunity. My wife says that I sell cars in my sleep.
- Today, you are an operating partner in the Foundation Automotive Corporation, along with Kevin Kutschinski and Chuck Kramer, as well as general manager of Foundation 45 Mitsubishi, and you have made community service the mark of your leadership. Why is that so important to you? I am one of five kids, raised by a single mother, in a tough inner-city neighborhood. I know what it means to go without... Coming up in this business, it always seemed like the most successful dealers gave back to their communities. And I believe that you can’t just take; you have to give. So, for me, getting the opportunity to run my own store meant success, and success meant giving back. I asked for their support in building a team, culture and brand with service at the center of it. Anyone can open a business in a community – I wanted this to be a community-driven business.
- Now, you meet with your management team every month to consider community needs and causes – everything is on the table – and every month, you select a cause to support. Tell us about a few of the events that stand out to you. We do a lot of work with the local independent school district or ISD. Last year, we partnered with a local credit union and purchased over 3,500 backpacks full of school supplies for children in the district. We partnered with the district police department on their “Dream Makers” student leadership program, which encourages relationship building with officers, students and the community. We also served as the drop-off point for the department’s holiday season toy drive. We cooked and served T-bone steaks and baked potatoes to 25 members of the Aldine Fire-EMS & Rescue. We hosted the Texas Heroes Advocating Autism Research’s calendar release party. Late last year, we hosted an Adopt-A-Family event for La Rosa Family Services and donated household and wish-list items to over 30 local families – families like mine, growing up – and served them a catered, white-linen meal in our showroom.
- A charitable activation… every month… that might be intimidating to some readers. With everything else going on in the world – impacting your business, demanding your attention and resources – how do you continue to make this a priority? First, we donate a portion of our profits every month to our community service fund, so depending on how we do that month, we have a little more or a little less to give. I’ve mentioned several partners, and I could mention hundreds more. In addition to working with the local nonprofit organizations, we call upon our partners and suppliers; anyone we do business with to become involved. It is part of the deal, when you do business with Foundation 45 Mitsubishi! And it’s not just my team, their families and our partners giving their time and resources. We are a community-driven business, after all! We share volunteer opportunities with our online community, via social media, and our customers show up in a big way. This spirit of community and service, I believe, keeps our team motivated to do great work and our customers motivated to return time and time again.
- Speaking of your attention and resources, you have a beautiful family and three grown boys. Tell us about them and lessons you’re teaching them by example. That’s correct – I have three boys. The oldest is almost 38 and the youngest is 18. The picture we’re sharing with this article is actually of my 18-year-old, Brandon, at the Adopt-A-Family event for La Rosa Family Services. While none of my sons followed me into the automotive business, the dealership was very much part of their lives growing up. They volunteered alongside me and their mom at community events. They know that the way I grew up motivates me to give back, and they know that we moved to Houston to give them a better life. I hope the lessons of family, community, service and sacrifice stick with them as they grow up, build their careers and build families of their own.
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About Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
Through a network of approximately 330 dealer partners across the United States, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for the sales, marketing and customer service of Mitsubishi Motors vehicles in the U.S. MMNA was the top-ranked Japanese brand in the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality study, ranking third overall and tied with Lexus. In its Environmental Targets 2030, MMNA's parent company Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has set a goal of a 40 percent reduction in the CO2 emissions of its new cars by 2030 through leveraging EVs — with PHEVs as the centerpiece — to help create a sustainable society.
With headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, and corporate operations in California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas, Florida and Virginia, MMNA directly and indirectly employs more than 8,000 people across the United States