W. Lee Pierson Distinguished Alumni Award 2008
Martin E. Franklin '82
Transcript of Headmaster Nelson's remarks at the Blue and Gold Senior Dinner on May 28th, 2008:
Tonight’s Blue and Gold Dinner is an annual event that not only honors the conclusion of your careers at Rye Country Day School, but also honors one of the many outstanding people who have preceded you in the same classrooms you will be leaving at the end of next week.
You are about to meet Martin E. Franklin, a member of the class of 1982, who will receive the W. Lee Pierson Distinguished Alumni Award. The award was established in 1993 in the name of Dr. Pierson, a former headmaster - - and it has been given annually to alums from various walks of life, including education, science, and entertainment, and last year to a military hero, Colonel Kevin Farrell, a professor at West Point, who was a classmate of Martin’s in 1982.
Martin Franklin is an eminently successful businessman, a principal and executive officer of a number of private investment entities, an accomplished triathlete and avid outdoorsman, and a man whose volunteer efforts have benefited many, both here and abroad.
It’s a safe guess that all of us here tonight have used the products of Jarden Corporation, a “Fortune 500” company that Martin heads as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Jarden is a world-class consumer products company with over 25,000 employees, manufacturing facilities in 12 countries and operations in over 20 countries. Jarden’s
annual revenues are $5.5 billion.
You’ll recognize K2 skis; Rawlings sporting goods; Coleman camping products; Sunbeam, Oster, Mr. Coffee and Crock-Pot appliances; Marmot outdoor clothing and equipment; Shakespeare, Abu-Garcia, Penn, Mitchell and Johnson rods, reels and other fishing equipment; Diamond Match Company; U.S. Playing Card Company and Ball home-canning products as just some of the many Jarden products, virtually all of which are leaders in the markets they serve. And, I should note that Jarden is an owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team.
Last year Martin and his partner established GLG Partners, the largest hedge fund in Europe. He is a director of GLG as well as chairman of Liberty Acquisition Holding Corporation and Liberty Acquisition International, both of which are special-purpose acquisition companies. He also is on the board of Kenneth Cole Productions and is chairman of Zoot Sports, the number one supplier of triathlon equipment.
When he’s not in the office you’ll most likely find Martin training for triathlons or ultra marathons, or skiing in Aspen, Colorado where he lives with his wife and four children. He also has a home in Rye and maintains Jarden’s corporate headquarters here as well. He’s here a few days a month when he’s not in the air flying to his many operations around the world.
The highlight of Martin’s recreational pursuits no doubt is his 38th place finish in “Badwater 2007,” a 135-mile run in 125-degree heat through Death Valley last July. The course features 16,000 feet of climb from Badwater, which is below sea level, to the top of Mount Whitney. He completed the run in 41 hours, 29 minutes and 24 seconds - - with the help of 150 bottles of Gatorade, 50 bottles of water, 150 salt pills and 60 Advil tablets.
He runs in the Westchester Triathlon, sponsored by Jarden, in September, twice has completed the Ironman Hawaii World Championships, annually competes in the New York City Marathon, and has run in many other similar events in various parts of the country.
He was born in London and moved with his family to Harrison in 1979, entering Rye Country Day School as a sophomore. He was captain and high scorer on the soccer team, and returned last year when he was named the outstanding player in last fall’s alumni weekend soccer game. He was inducted into the Rye Country Day School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2006.
Martin graduated the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science and then worked with New York investment firms before returning to England to run a diversified corporation. He returned to the U.S. in 1992 and ran several companies before joining Alltrista Corporation, which eventually became Jarden Corporation.
He’s on the boards of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the One Family Fund, for which he has raised over $1 million to assist families who have been victimized by suicide terrorists in Israel - - and just four weeks ago was presented the 2008 Tony Snow Award for his fund-raising efforts on behalf of the ”Wounded Warrior Project,” which aids seriously wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Martin credits Rye Country Day School with introducing him to America 29 years ago.
Tonight, it’s my great privilege to present him with our W. Lee Pierson Distinguished Alumni Award.