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International Soap Box Derby Names Mark Gerberich as President and CEO

Mark Gerberich PhotoMark Gerberich 

Mark W. Gerberich has been named president and chief executive officer of International Soap Box Derby, Inc., the organization that manages the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby, the Soap Box Derby STEM-based education program and special events at Akron’s Derby Downs.

He succeeds Joe Mazur, who resigned in March to become president of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

Gerberich, 57, has had a 30-year career in sports marketing, events and venue management. He joined the Professional Bowlers Association in Akron in 1983, and was commissioner of the Pro Bowlers Tour from 1996 until 2000. He later was managing partner of Pinnacle Sports, managed the Pond Ice Skating Rink in Chagrin Falls and has served as business development manager for Maryland-based Compass Marketing since 2013. 

“Mark Gerberich brings to the Soap Box Derby organization a solid background in the management of sports organizations, major events and venues, as well as in marketing and working with young people and volunteers,” said Kevin Thomas, chairman of International Soap Box Derby, Inc. “Mark has strong Akron roots and he also has important experience in developing national relationships over the years, a valuable skill in our organization’s outreach to local race organizations, sponsors, volunteers and educators.”

Thomas said that Gerberich’s priorities will be to lead the organization’s administration, programs and strategic plan; to work with volunteer groups to grow the local Soap Box Derby race programs and with educators to expand the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-based curriculum in place in elementary, middle and high schools; to enhance the Soap Box Derby image and brand, and to ensure the financial and operational stability of the organization through its various constituents, including race competitors and their families, volunteers, sponsors, donors and civic leaders.

“I look forward to becoming a part of the legendary Soap Box Derby organization as it celebrates its 80th anniversary,” Gerberich said. “It will be rewarding to help lead the program’s mission to develop character, innovation, leadership and life skills in boys and girls throughout the United States and beyond.”

He will join the organization on Monday, June 12.

A native of Lebanon, Pa., Gerberich holds a bachelor of arts degree in sports management from St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., and a master of arts degree in sports management from the University of Akron. He has been a part-time instructor at the University of Akron in sports history and management since 2010.