FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Thank You Thursday - Will Looman

Looman WillWill Looman

The definition of the word loyal is giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution.

Will Looman epitomizes loyalty.

He has been employed by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company for 52 years. He’s also been a Derby volunteer for 36 years and currently serves as a member of the Racing Commission (formerly the National Control Board) and the Race Director for the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship race.

Looman’s career as a Derby volunteer began in 1980 when both his son and daughter raced in the Local Akron race. His son won the Kit Car Division in 1982 and advanced to the All-American where he won one heat. “I joined the Derby Booster Club when my kids became involved in the early 80’s,” said Looman. “Wherever they needed me I was willing to fill the spot. At the time the Akron Local was running just a spring rally so I took the lead and helped start a fall rally.”

He later became a member of the Akron Derby Board and was instrumental in creating a Suburban and Metro Local race for Akron area racers. “At that time we had a lot of kids racing in one local,” said Looman. “I made a motion at one of our board meetings to split the local into two races and the Suburban and Metro races were created.”

In 2012 Looman took over the duties of Race Director for the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship race. Planning for the annual race begins immediately following the current year’s race. His attention to detail and commitment to making sure the racers and their families have a positive experience has been instrumental in creating a friendlier environment for those who make the trip to Akron for the Greatest Amateur Racing Event In The World®.

“We’re so grateful for Will’s commitment to the Derby,” said Derby President & CEO Joe Mazur. “His steadiness, integrity, leadership and commitment to the young racers in our program are the reasons why we’ve had such positive feedback from our families over the last several years.”

In the early 2000’s Looman got to witness his two grandsons participate in the Soap Box Derby. “Both Joshua and Jacob followed in their dads footsteps and decided to race,” said Looman. “In 2014 I had the opportunity to see Jacob place fourth in the Rally Stock Division at the All-American.”

Looman and his entire family have been involved with the Soap Box Derby for nearly three decades. He’s witnessed first-hand what Derby life is all about.

“Working with the kids is what I enjoy,” said Looman. “I’ve always thought that the Derby provided the opportunity to make a great bond between families, especially fathers and daughters. The Derby really is a superior activity for families.”

The Derby would like to say THANK YOU to Will Looman 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 13th 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. To view previous features please click below.

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Will Looman taking a break during the 2011
All-American Soap Box Derby.

Will Looman And Ken MorrowWill Looman (right) and 2013 Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame inductee Ken Morrow at the 2012 FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby. The 75th anniversary race was Looman's first as Race Director.

Bill Ginter Presenting Award
Derby Board Chair Bill Ginter
(right) and proud grandfather
Will Looman presenting champion
Jacob Looman with an award at
the 2012 FirstEnergy All-American 
Soap Box Derby.

Thank You Thursday
Thursday, September 29, 2016 - FirstEnergy Corp.
Thursday, October 6, 2016 - Don Plusquellic
Thursday, October 13, 2016 - Bill Ginter
Thursday, October 20, 2016 - Marous Brothers Construction
Thursday, October 27, 2016 - Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems
Thursday, November 3, 2016 - Myers Industries
Thursday, November 10, 2016 - Outgoing Board Members
Thursday, November 17, 2016 - New Board Members
Thursday. November 24, 2016 - Volunteers
Thursday, December 1, 2016 - Dairy Queen 
Thursday, December 8, 2016 - Curriculum Funders

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - SUBWAY®