LAKE ZURICH, Ill. — Subaru Industrial Power Products and the entire equipment industry suffered a great loss on Wednesday, Aug. 10, when Jay Peck, long-time company president and respected industry veteran, passed away at age 59 after a brief and quiet battle with cancer.
Subaru's vice-president of sales and marketing, Brad Murphy, released a statement on behalf of the company. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay. This is a tragedy beyond measure, not just for us here at Subaru, but for our entire industry. We've lost more than a leader, colleague and visionary. We've lost a friend.”
Peck began his career in the industry while attending college at the University of Wisconsin at White Water, spending his summers working for Teledyne Total Power's Power Center outlet store in New Berlin, Wis. At the time, TTP had recently purchased Wisconsin Motors and Continental Motors, based in Milwaukee. After graduating UW with a degree in business management, Peck joined the company full time as the Power Center's branch manager.
In 1985 at the age of 34, Peck became the youngest vice-president in Teledyne's history when he was named vice-president of distribution, a move that took him to TTP's new headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. He was promoted to vice-president of sales and marketing in 1988, and it was at this time Peck began his association with the company he'd spend the next 23 years of his career with. He assumed the responsibility for the sale of Robin engines, which were being marketed in North America under the Wisconsin Robin brand as part of an agreement with Tokyo-based Fuji Heavy Industries.
Peck left TTP in 1991 to start his own company, Wisconsin Industrial Products, back in his home state of Wisconsin. His wife Lynn took over the business in 1993 when he was chosen to lead the team that would plan and open Robin America in Wood Dale, Ill. He began his career with Robin America as vice-president of sales and marketing, and soon after took over the role of president in 1996. Peck has since led Robin America to become one of the leading suppliers of small industrial engines. Robin America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries, the manufacturer of Subaru industrial engines and power products.
While he was revered in the industry as an accomplished and admired businessman, Peck was a devoted family man too. He married his wife Lynn in 1973, and together they raised three children, Jenny, Jonathan and Jesse. They had seven grandchildren. The family has established a charitable memorial in his honor. Donations can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. This national organization works to create hope for pancreatic cancer patients through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. A donation in Peck's honor can be made to this organization through the following link: www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/jennyfrank/keepjaysmemoryalive?fge=ask. The Peck family will be notified of all donations.
Peck was a friend to many in the industry. Upon hearing the news of his sudden passing, many were quick to offer their condolences, prayers and remembrance.
Dan Ariens, president, Ariens: “Jay will be sadly missed in the OPE industry. Not only was Jay an innovative thinker, but he became a dear friend. We were all shocked and saddened by the speed of Jay's passing; the Peck family will be in our prayers.”
Chris Barnard, president and CEO, Wacker Neuson Corp.: “Wacker Neuson and the industry have lost an outstanding professional, and I have lost an outstanding personal relationship with Jay's untimely passing. Wacker Neuson and I will certainly miss his vision, drive, honesty and fair dealing, not to mention his uniquely engaging and fascinating personality.”
Mike Brezonick, editor-in-chief, Diesel Progress magazine: “Jay was a hard worker, but he was able to balance it by always looking for, and always finding, a reason to laugh, whatever the situation might be. Small engines can be a tough, competitive business, but Jay always did right by his customers, right by his competitors and right by the industry.”
Dave Christifulli, Wacker Neuson Corp.: “Of all the vendors I came in contact with during my 27 years at Wacker, Jay Peck was the hardest working, most persevering and a person of such high integrity that whenever I hear Subaru, I always think of Jay first and foremost. I have many fond memories of Jay throughout the years, whether it be at trade shows, golf outings, Japan trips or just talking in my office.”
Will Coates, president, Billy Goat Industries: “We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of Jay Peck. He was not only the consummate promoter; he was a good friend. Jay had the uncanny ability to light up any room, in any situation, on any continent. Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife Lynn and the good folks of Robin America. Jay will be missed.”
Sam Humphrey, Mi-T-M: “Jay served as an inspiration to Mi-T-M, and his direction and feedback were a valuable resource. Jay took pride in our success, and was personally and professionally a part of our daily lives. Jay will be truly missed by everyone at Mi-T-M.”
Denise Stoppleworth, president, Ironclad Marketing: “To me, Jay was so much more than a client and business colleague. He was a wonderful friend, a mentor, and someone who greatly influenced my professional development in this industry.”