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Phoenix Man of the Year Acceptance Speech

February 18, 1989
A.J. Pfister

I am fortunate to work for a company whose job description for my job includes community service. The Salt River Project has a long tradition of community service and all of its management employees are expected to be active in the community. Without the support of SRP’s president, John Lassen, vice president Marcel Boulais, and the elected board and council, it would not be possible for me to be as active in the community as I am. I appreciate their support.

I view myself like the face of a clock. The mechanism behind the clock is responsible for recording the correct time. The mechanism behind most of my community service is a group of very loyal, dedicated and capable Salt River Project employees. Too often the focus is on the face of the clock and the mechanism that makes it all possible goes unappreciated. So tonight, I would like to acknowledge the support of the SRP team and to let you know that by honoring me, you honor the Salt River Project and my fellow employees.”

“When Pat told our son, Scott, about the award, he said, ‘Well, that makes me son of the year.’ Indeed it does. Just as it makes our daughter, Suzanne, daughter of the year. It also makes my wonderful wife and constant supporter, Pat, wife of the year. The Pfister family has a tradition of community service. My Arizona roots are deep. I am the fourth generation of my family to live in Arizona. Community service and caring for my state are part of the family culture that has been handed down to each generation. From Girl Scouts to the Board of Regents, community involvement has always been a family affair. We often jointly participated in community activities and always provide mutual support and encouragement to each other. So, by honoring me, you also honor my family.

“I am occasionally asked why I am so active in the community. There is no easy answer to that question. I try to have one national, one state and two or three community involvements going most of the time. When I complete one assignment, I look for another. I am very selective. I try to select involvements that will be of value to Salt River Project or assignments where I think I can be of value to my community or state. The state and community have been good to the Pfister family and I, in turn, want to be good to them.

“One of the consequences of my community service has been its impact on my personal growth and maturity. In his best selling book, “The Road Less Traveled,” Scott Peck observes that an individual experiences maximum personal growth when he or she is helping another individual to grow. This is a very powerful idea. I have attempted to incorporate the concept into my personal and professional life. It also applies to community service, and I have experience incredible personal growth because of the breadth and diversity of my community activities. I measure the value of my community service in how it helps me to be a better employee, a better husband and father, and a better human being. I measure my wealth differently than most. At the end of the year, when I take stock of my balance sheet, I look at the human qualities rather than the financial ones. If, after examining the asserts and liabilities, I have improved as a human being – then I have added to my personal net worth.

“Because I believe that my community service has enriched me, I have never been concerned with public recognition for what I do. Indeed, I am embarrassed by awards. I have really dreaded tonight. But, after considerable thought, I finally concluded that it would be a wonderful opportunity to thank my company, my fellow employees, my family, and my many community friends for helping to make Jack Pfister’s life interesting, exciting and rewarding.

Arnold Glasow said, “Make your job important and it will return the favor.” I have tried to make community service important to my life – tonight, as Glasow suggests, it has returned the favor.

I want to thank the Ad Club for this honor and all of you for coming.

Jack Pfister