FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Thank You Thursday - Joe Mazur

Mazur 01Joe Mazur

In July of 2011 a local newspaper reporter interviewed International Soap Box Derby President & CEO Joe Mazur for a preview of the 74th running of the All-American Soap Box Derby. "Three years from now, people will look back and marvel at the changes," said Mazur during that interview.

Nearly six years to the day he was hired Mazur stepped down as the leader of the Derby this past Friday.

“Joe has played an instrumental part of our organization’s turnaround” said Derby Chair Kevin Thomas. “We owe him a debt of gratitude for what he has accomplished and for his passion and commitment to growing and strengthening our portfolio of programs and offerings, stabilizing our base beyond our signature FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby racing program, as well as positioning us for exciting opportunities to significantly expand our STEM and education outreach.”

When Mazur was hired in March, 2011, the Derby was beginning to emerge from a period of declining participation and financial uncertainty. 

“Under Joe’s leadership and the Board’s guidance, the organization has become financially stable and organizationally sound,” Thomas said.

The Derby’s STEM-based education has grown to include the Gravity Racing Challenge STEM Team Competition, a Soap Box Derby Mini Car Program, STEM Summer Camps and the newly released education curriculum.

In addition, more events were added to the world famous Derby Downs facility, including Senior Day presented by Cleveland Clinic Akron General, Family Day presented by The City of Akron, Inclusion Day presented by the GPD Group Employees’ Foundation and Kids Day presented by Move It Now!

The Hall of Fame and Museum expanded to include more than 100 world championship cars and is now housed at Topside at Derby Downs. The President’s Youth Leadership Award was established to recognize volunteers under the age of 21 who have made a positive impact on the Soap Box Derby through their leadership on the local or national level. For the first time in its 80-plus year history, the Derby implemented a formal strategic plan in 2014 and enhanced its mission.

The Derby would like to say THANK YOU to Joe Mazur 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 25th 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. 

Kevin Thomas Kelly Speeg Joe MazurLeft to right: Derby Board Chair Kevin Thomas, Kelly Speeg and Derby President & CEO Joe Mazur at the 2016 FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby welcoming parade.


Over The Edge 22 Practice
Joe Mazur at the annual champ Rock
The Rec event on the campus of The
University of Akron.

 Joe And Deb
Debbie and Joe Mazur 

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