FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Derby Spotlight- Shannon Hoffman


Derby Spotlight – Shannon Hoffman

2009 Masters Local Champion

2009 Masters Local Champion – Shannon Hoffman

“I enjoyed chemistry because it has always amazed me how tiny interactions that are way too small to see are so critical to every aspect of life.”           

The above quote is the wise words of Shannon Hoffman. While reading, we wonder about the decisions we make in life and the people we interact with—how do they shape our future.

Shannon currently attends the University of Dayton where she studies Chemical Engineering. It was her thoughts on the tiny particles of life making us who we are that motivated her to pursue a career in Engineering.

She began racing with the Soap Box Derby in 2003 with the Stock Division. Shannon also raced in the Super Stock division from 2006 to 2009 and Masters division from 2009 to 2011. With her time spent participating in the Derby, Shannon found herself learning valuable skills that would ensure her success for her career endeavors. Engineers are extremely gifted with the ability to solve problems, when asked about the impact the Derby had on her life and career she spoke about how she learned hands-on experience regarding problem solving, which ultimately made engineering the clear career path.

Not only did she learn the importance of problem solving, Shannon learned how to connect with her community through volunteering with the Super Kids Classic race and the importance behind sportsmanship, coping with disappointment, and the importance of family.

Sportsmanship, for Shannon, is important because whether you are on the winning side or on the losing side, it is vital to have a positive attitude. Coping with disappointment means when things don’t go our way, we look for ways to improve performance for the future and not allowing it to bring you down.

Her two brothers, Kevin and Jim, both raced in the Soap Box Derby and her father was a board member for the North Summit Local as well as a race director for the years when Shannon raced in the Derby. Since the Derby is a family-based organization, it reinforced the importance of family regarding Shannon’s own family as well as her “Derby family.” Shannon notes without her experience and time spent with the Derby, she would not be pursuing her chosen career. She has been able to apply the technical concepts learned from Derby racing in real life scenarios today.

Taking a trip down memory lane, Shannon shares one of her fondest memories as a racer was when she placed 8th in the All-American Soap Box Derby in 2009. Before then, she had never won more than a single heat in big races. The excitement of placing in the biggest race of the year shows her willingness to work hard and never stop trying. With the Derby, Shannon formed relationships that last to this day. With the growing digital age, social media has made it easy to stay connected.

Even though Shannon is still in school, she has had the opportunity to complete four co-op terms with the Lubrizol Corporation. After graduation, she plans to pursue a full-time position in the industry while obtaining her Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. If she ever has children, Shannon would like to introduce them to the opportunities the Soap Box Derby offered her—noting her positive experiences in racing. When asked what she would like to see from the Derby, Shannon would like the Derby to grow as new racers begin involvement. The participation of adults who raced when they were younger is something Shannon enjoys seeing, so I am sure her future with the Derby is still unwritten and we look forward to seeing her continued success in life. 


Akron Rally Race In Super Stock 2006

Akron Rally Race in Super Stock, 2006


Ready For Trial Runs At The All American

Ready for Trial Runs at the All-American Soap Box Derby


2014 Super Kids Classic Race

2014 Super Kids Classic Race

Note: This is the eighteenth 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)

Michael J. Corson, Jr. - Spotlight (July 2016)

David Reid - Spotlight (August 2016)

John Horner - Spotlight (September 2016)

John Hamels - Spotlight (October 2016)

Kenneth Holmboe - Spotlight (November 2016)

John Menches - Spotlight (December 2016)

Steve Cox - Spotlight (January 2017)

Rachel (Dyer) Samm - Spotlight (February 2017)

Nevin Ream - Spotlight (March 2017)

Trey Knepper - Spotlight (April 2017)