FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Thank You Thursday - Chris Harris


Dsc 0024Chris Harris 

In May of 2014 the International Soap Box Derby (ISBD) Board of Directors embarked on a strategic planning initiative. One of the strategic goals was to increase the value of the Soap Box Derby brand by communicating and promoting the Soap Box Derby’s mission and programs. One of the objectives was to ensure brand/logo consistency by reviewing logo design and establishing usage requirements for use by partners, sponsors and licensed race locations.

In July, 2014 the ISBD announced a new marketing initiative that the headquarters office was going to undertake over the next couple years to increase the value of the Derby brand and also support local race partners. It was announced that a marketing toolkit was going to be rolled out. Included in the marketing toolkit was a new logo program and comprehensive website re-design for the national Soap Box Derby site as well as the local Soap Box Derby websites. 

“One of our top priorities was and is to grow Soap Box Derby racing around the world,” said Derby Vice President Bobby Dinkins. “To do that it was imperative that we create a consistent brand that is recognized around the world. When we undertook this project we knew that it was going to be a challenge. However, we also knew that if we didn’t take it our brand would continue to weaken. To fully execute the new program it was essential that each race location utilize the new website platform.”

Shortly after the announcement of the website project Chris Harris of Silicon Valley, Calif. contacted the Derby to lend his support. Harris is the owner of Corporate West, an experienced IT resource provider specializing in the individual IT needs of small and medium-size businesses.  

Harris provided feedback on the design and functionality of the Derby’s new website program in its conceptual stage. His company also provided the Derby with e-mail and general IT support over the last several years. He’s worked with many local Derby programs around the country to help them move their websites to the new Derby platform. He was also instrumental in setting up the Derby’s new unified e-mail system, which provides uniform e-mail addresses for licensed Derby partners around the world.

Cindi Zagar, Soap Box Derby Accountant, said, “Chris is the type of person that drops everything he is doing and focuses on helping others. He is always pleasant to work with, positive and supportive. If he can’t figure out the answer, he will come up with other solutions or find someone that can.”

Earlier this year, the Soap Box Derby wanted to launch a new state championship race and Harris jumped at the opportunity to host the first ever California State Championship that will be held on Sunday, April 2, 2017.

Harris has been involved with the Soap Box Derby since 2004 and was one of two who started up the Silicon Valley Soap Box Derby in 2006. He has held the position of Treasurer, Race Director and most recently President of the SVSBD. He also has been a big part of helping foster and developing new local races in California and is focusing now on helping to grow Soap Box Derby in the region.

The Derby would like to say THANK YOU to Chris Harris 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 27th 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.

Chris Harris
Chris Harris with daughter Veronica at the
2012 FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box

Img 0246
From left to right: Chris Harris, Brian
Graham and Gene Blackwell in front
of the Bill Speeg Memorial Display at
the starting gate of the world famous
Derby Downs track in Akron, Ohio.

Img 1681
Chris Harris giving last minute
instructions to a racer at the Silicon
Valley 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®
Thursday, December 22, 2016 - Will Looman
Thursday, December 29, 2016 - Taylor Made Jewelry
Thursday, January 5, 2017 - Greater Akron Chamber
Thursday, January 12, 2017 - Bob Troyer
Thursday, January 19, 2017 - GPD Group
Thursday, January 26, 2017 - Former Summit County Executive Russ Pry and the County of Summit, Ohio
Thursday, February 2, 2017 - Pilot Flying J
Thursday, February 9, 2017 - Dave Hubbell
Thursday, February 16, 2017 - AAA Akron Auto Club 
Thursday, February 23, 2017 - Danny Hughes
Thursday, March 2, 2017 - Corbin Bernsen
Thursday, March 9, 2017 - Dave Lieberth 
Thursday, March 16, 2017 - Joe Mazur
Thursday, March 23, 2017 - Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation