Georgia Hardee’s franchisee Dan Ponder, Jr. received the 2004 Independent Hardee’s Franchisee Association (IHFA) Founders Award at the IHFA annual convention in Hollywood, Florida.

Ponder, president of Ponder Enterprises, Inc., owns and operates 12 Hardee’s restaurants in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. He is also chairman of the IHFA/Hardee’s Purchasing Committee, which coordinates with Hardee’s Food System’s Purchasing Department overseeing annual purchasing of more than $525 million in goods and services for Hardee’s restaurants.

In addition to being a founding board member of IHFA, Ponder serves on the current IHFA board. He also serves on the Board of Directors of CKE Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of Hardee’s Food Systems. Ponder is the first Hardee’s franchisee to be elected to the board of the parent company.

“Nobody embodies the ideals of the Founders Award better than Dan,” said IHFA President Lee Staak, an Iowa franchisee. Ponder has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and an outstanding commitment to the IHFA, Staak said, adding “Dan exhibits the integrity, judgment and impact which represents the ideals and philosophies of the IHFA and the franchise community.”

The Founders Award was established in 2001 in tribute to William Boddie, president and chief executive officer of Boddie-Noell Enterprises, Inc., the largest Hardee’s franchisee, and the leadership Boddie demonstrated in the formation of the IHFA in 1997.

This recognition of leadership is not the first for Ponder, a former Georgia state legislator. In 2001, Ponder Enterprises, Inc. won the National Franchisee of the Year for Hardee’s Food Systems and in 2003 Ponder was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

After graduating from Auburn University in 1976, Ponder worked in one of his family’s peanut plants in Donalsonville, Ga., and helped that plant turn its first profit in 10 years. Ponder built his first Hardee’s in Donalsonville in 1984. After his family sold their peanut company, he began concentrating on building and operating Hardee’s restaurants full time.

In 1990, Ponder began his career in politics as a county commissioner in Seminole County, Georgia, then was elected chairman of the Board of Commissioners. In 1996, Ponder was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. He helped pass Georgia’s first hate-crime bill in 2000 by influencing members of the House with an impassioned speech against racism and intolerance that received two standing ovations.

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