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Roger Penske Follow-up
At a recent alumni reception for Kettering University, the former General Motors Institute, my wife and I had the pleasure of being seated next to fellow alumnus Lud Koci, whom I’ve known since my college days back in the late ’60’s. We’ve played golf together for years in the annual alumni outing. He also happens to be on the Board of the Catholic high school, St. Mary’s Prep, from where our son graduated.
Lud and his wife Trudy reside in Orchard Lake, MI, where we've also lived for the past 28 years. Lud worked for General Motors as General Manager of Detroit Diesel until 1988 when Roger Penske purchased the business from GM. Lud was named President and eventually CEO. As a result, he’s worked for Penske for 30 years. Recall my recent blogpost about Penske Racing’s 500th win. When I told Lud of my blog about Roger and his racing milestone, he was intrigued and offered an insight into Team Penske's success.
Lud indicated that after work on the previous Friday before the alumni reception, Penske’s corporate IT manager met Lud at his Orchard Lake home because he was having difficulty logging onto the company network from his home computer. As the IT guy was trying to solve the problem, he received a call from Roger Penske, who was in Korea on a business trip. It was 4:00 in the morning on Saturday in Korea, and Roger’s cell phone was acting up. He could place calls but couldn’t get anything else to work on the device.
The IT guy had Roger try several steps to fix the problem, but to no avail. Roger said he was catching a plane to Australia in 3 hours, and would like the problem fixed before boarding the plane. The IT guy contacted the carrier Verizon’s tech support and was provided several other steps to take to get the phone working again. He called Roger back and had him try those steps while he was in the airport prior to boarding the plane to Australia. Nothing worked, so the IT guy told Roger he’d have a new phone for him when he deplaned in 11 hours.
After hanging up with Roger, he contacted Team Penske's local IT people in Australia at 8:00 am Saturday and asked them to go to the local Verizon store to pick up a new phone for Roger, then to call him back when the phone was operational so he could download all the Penske corporate security safeguards, apps and contacts onto the phone remotely from the US. By the time of the call back, it was 1:00 in the morning US time, and the IT guy had traveled back to the corporate offices to prepare for the remote download, but not before fixing Lud’s networking problems on his home computer. Finally at 3:00 in the morning US time, about an hour or so before Roger’s plane was to land in Australia, everything had been downloaded.
The phone was rushed to the airport just in time to meet Roger and hand him the new phone. It worked perfectly and he was none the wiser as to how the fix was arranged. That example demonstrates the extent to which everyone on Team Penske strives for perfection and success, resulting in those 500 victories.