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International Soap Box Derby Board Of Directors Elects New Officers And Adopts Three-Year Strategic Plan


The International Soap Box Derby's Board of Directors elected new officers at its annual meeting November 13.The Board serves as the governing body of the ISBD and provides management and direction for the non-profit organization.

Kevin Thomas, Vice President at AAA Akron Auto Club, will serve as Chair. Thomas has been a member of the Derby's Board since 2012, most recently serving as its Vice Chair. Thomas will replace William J. Ginter, whose term as Chair started in 2010.

Under Ginter's leadership the Derby has created new revenue sources, increased activity at Derby Downs, recorded a surplus over the last three years and introduced a new education program that includes the Gravity Racing Challenge STEM team competition. Ginter was also instrumental in bringing on FirstEnergy Corp. as the title sponsor of the All-American World Championship race, which is held annually at the world famous Derby Downs Track in Akron. Ginter will remain on the Board.

"It has been a pleasure working with Bill Ginter over the past four years," said Derby President & CEO Joe Mazur. "His leadership and guidance during the Derby's struggling times was invaluable. We have come a long way under Bill and I look forward to working with our new Chair Kevin Thomas."

Thomas will be joined by Carla Sibley, Director of Community Relations for Akron Public Schools, who will serve as Vice Chair; Danielle Kimmel, CPA, Bober, Markey, Fedorovich, Treasurer; and Gregg Mervis, President & CEO, Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau and John S. Knight Center, Secretary.

In addition to electing new officers the Board adopted a three-year strategic plan that is designed to provide the organization's leadership and staff with a roadmap for successfully navigating its future. Key constituent groups were important participants in the planning process including staff members, Derby alumni, Racing and Rally Commission members, Regional and Local Directors, sponsors and others. Methods to secure their participation included surveys, meetings, and a Board retreat. The planning process began in May.

"This plan is truly reflective of the inspirational leadership we have enjoyed - under Mr. Ginter's guidance and Joe Mazur's direction - in securing and strengthening our products and brand over the last several years. The Soap Box Derby is alive and well," said Thomas, who chaired the Strategic Planning Committee. "And this plan provides the roadmap as we move forward with our mission to build knowledge and character, and to create meaningful experiences through collaboration and fair and honest competition."

Current Board members include: Chair - Kevin Thomas, VP of Operations, AAA Akron Auto Club; Vice Chair - Carla Sibley, Director of Community Relations, Akron Public Schools; Treasurer - Danielle Kimmell, CPA, Bober, Markey, Fedorovich; Secretary -Gregg Mervis, President & CEO, Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau and John S. Knight Center; Alan Brubaker, Summit County Engineer; Michael Callahan, Senior Partner of Callahan, Greeven, Riley & Sinn, L.L.C.; Jason Dodson, Chief of Staff for Summit County Executive; Jack Engelke, Hindin/Owen/Engelke, Inc; William J. Ginter, Principal, Akron Legacy Group; Todd Guilliam, Financial Adviser, Wells Fargo;Bill Lowery, Retired President, Annaco; John Moore, Director of Public Service, City of Akron; Dominic Rizzo, Vice President and General Sales Manager at Rubber City Radio Group; Steve Strah, VP, FirstEnergy; Michele Tomer, Attorney; Robert Troyer, Public Relations Consultant; Thomas Welsh, Retired Senior VP, FirstEnergy.

The International Soap Box Derby is the recognized governing body of Soap Box Derby racing and includes the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby and the Gravity Racing Challenge. The ISBD also operates the world famous Derby Downs Track where more than 70 events are held annually. The Derby dates back to 1934, when the first All-American race was held in Dayton, Ohio. It has grown to more than 600 races in 115 racing districts throughout the world each year. Participants between the ages of 7 and 20 build gravity-powered cars in hopes of qualifying for the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby at Derby Downs in Akron. The Gravity Racing Challenge is the Derby's school-based STEM initiative, providing educational opportunities for K-12 youth worldwide.