FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Thank You Thursday - GPD Group

Gpd Logo

In February of 2013 the GPD Group became a partner of the International Soap Box Derby, supporting the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship race and the Derby’s STEM-Based Education Program.

GPD Group is an Akron, Ohio based company with a team of over 500 people from architects to designers to engineers to planners and everything in between. They’re a stable, employee-owned company serving the Northeast Ohio area for over half a century. Through careful planning and responsible growth, they’ve grown to 12 offices across the nation – six in Ohio and the rest in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas and Washington.

“In early 2013 we met with the leadership team at GPD Group,” said Derby President & CEO Joe Mazur. “We found that they really had a desire to make a difference in the communities in which they do business. We’ve been partners since 2013 and their involvement with the Derby keeps growing.”

In 2014, GPD Group established a 501(c)(3) medium named the “GPD Group Employees’ Foundation, Inc.” to aid in channeling donations that will enrich the K-12 public education experience and support children with medical and special needs. By focusing their efforts on improving the lives of children, they are developing a long-term commitment to investing in communities in which they serve.

Through the support of the GPD Group Employees’ Foundation the Derby hosted the first ever Inclusion Day at Derby Downs in 2016. Individuals with all different abilities and their siblings had the opportunity to take a ride down Derby Downs track in a ride-along Soap Box Derby car.

“The GPD Employees' Foundation is proud to support Inclusion Day which embodies our mission – to make a difference in the lives of children," said GPD Group President Darrin Kotecki.

The Derby would like to say THANK YOU to the GPD Group and the GPD Group Employees’ Foundation 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 17th 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.

Inclusion Day 2016
Pilot and Co-Pilot ready to race at Inclusion Day presented by the GPD Group Employees' Foundation.

Gpd Group Volunteers
GPD Group volunteers at Inclusion Day presented by the GPD Group Employees' Foundation. 

National Lampoon Van 300
GPD Group's entry into the
2015 United Way Corporate
Derby Challenge - Cousin 
Eddie's Winnebago from the
movie Christmas Vacation.

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