NewsThank You Thursday - Don Plusquellic10.06.2016Don Plusquellic It was December, 2009 when the International Soap Box Derby was near financial collapse when it did not have the resources to pay down a $600,000 loan. On February 8, 2010, spearheaded by then Mayor Don Plusquellic, Akron City Council approved a plan intended to assist the financially troubled Derby. The plan guaranteed to the bank the outstanding amount of debt the Derby incurred over a number of years. The Greater Akron Chamber provided the leadership to help support the Derby’s short- and long-term sustainability plan. The Derby’s Board of Directors was reorganized to include new members representing Akron’s business community. The Derby, city, chamber and the new board used all best efforts to identify potential sponsors for future race years and recruit companies to help underwrite the event in the future. Plusquellic said the city feared losing the Derby to another community. “We found that there was a consensus in the business community that this was worth saving,” he said. The Greater Akron Chamber formed a task force to offer assistance to the Derby. Greater Akron Chamber board member William Ginter led the work to ensure a successful 2010 race. Ginter later became the Derby’s Chairman of the Board. Through Plusquellic’s leadership and efforts the Derby survived a pivotal time in its history. On March 28, 2012 Akron-based FirstEnergy became title sponsor of the All-American Soap Box Derby. Since then the Derby has experienced steady growth by bringing on additional corporate sponsors and foundation support. New events have been created at the world famous Derby Downs Track and the Derby’s Education Program has grown at a rapid pace. The Derby would like to say THANK YOU to former Akron Mayor and 2009 Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame inductee Don Plusquellic for helping us continue our mission of building knowledge and character, and creating meaningful experiences through collaboration and fair and honest competition. This is the second installment of our weekly “Thank You Thursday” feature. Each week we will offer a heartfelt “Thank You” to a corporation, civic or community leader, volunteer, foundation or an individual who has helped us continue our mission of building knowledge and character, and creating meaningful experiences through collaboration and fair and honest competition. To view previous features please click below. Then Mayor of Akron Don Plusquellic announcing the sponosorship of the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby on March 28, 2012. Don Plusquellic winning the inaugural Mayor's Cup Race at the 2013 FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby. Don Plusquellic accepting the trophy for winning the 2013 Mayor's Cup Race. Thank You Thursday Thursday, September 29 - FirstEnergy Corp.