FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Derby Spotlight - Michael J. Corson, Jr.


Derby Spotlight – Mike Corson, Jr.

Being a role model was important to Mike Corson Jr. His motto, ‘be competitive and focus on what you can,’ certainly helped him as a Soap Box Derby® racer and now in his career as a Worldwide Repair Engineer at UTC Aerospace Systems in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.

2005 Champ Photo2005 Rally Masters Champion

Corson, who is deaf, started his Soap Box Derby career in 2000 at age 10 in the Stock division and placed third in a very first race. Then from 2003 to 2004 he competed in the Super Stock division and from 2005 to 2007 in the Masters division. In the 2004-2005 Soap Box Derby season, Corson won 32 out of 65 races. He set his goals high and earned the National Rally Point Championship and placed second in the 2005 All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship in the Rally Masters division. Then in 2006, with high expectations, he won his Local Masters division and again qualified for the All-American race.

Corson’s father, who is an auto body mechanic, introduced him to learning from hands-on experience building his Soap Box Derby car. From his Soap Box Derby racing experience, his interests developed into a career in an engineering field. He is a graduate from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology and an Associate’s degree in Computer Integrated Machining Technology. Corson feels his Soap Box Derby experience provided him the direction he needed to acquire the career that he is enjoying. It was a challenge at the beginning for him since he didn’t have aerospace experience but he has certainly flourished to new heights.

“Being a part of the Soap Box Derby helped me to be able to be open with all of the people who were racing in Soap Box Derby,” said Corson. “That opportunity helped me and gave me the confidence to pursue the career that I’m in now.”

Racing in the Soap Box Derby not only helped Corson grow as a racer but also provided opportunities for long-lasting friendships that he would have never had. Derby racing also provided self-confidence and encouraged him to be a mentor to others. The Derby impacted his life greatly and helped him develop into a good racer as well as having good sportsmanship. Corson’s inability to hear never stopped him from being a part of the Soap Box Derby. He met many friends from the Derby who provided lots of support. 

Corson stated, “If I hadn't lost my hearing, I wouldn't be where I am now. It forced me to maximize my own potential. I am trying to be better than the average person to succeed.” 

Utc Aerospace Systems

Worldwide Repair Engineer at UTC
Aerospace Systems in Windsor Locks, CT.


Note: This is the seventh in a series of spotlights on former Derby racers who have gone on to study/work in a STEM related field. If you know of someone who we could spotlight please let us know at 

Past Spotlight Features

Nicole Stout - Spotlight (January, 2016)

Michael Gallo - Spotlight (February, 2016) 

Todd Hinton - Spotlight (March, 2016)

Alan Uhler - Spotlight (April, 2016)

Kristi Murphy - Spotlight (May, 2016)

James Fell - Spotlight (June, 2016)