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Board of Directors: Candidates (2015)

Phil Ackley

I am one of your 2015 candidates vying for your vote to represent you in one of the vacant BoD positions. My deep roots in SCCA energizes my reasons to seek election. It started years ago when I started racing in New England (NER) and had the thrill of joining Paul (PL) Newman's campfire after races provided. I brought him a cold Coors for him and others at the campfire like Roger Penske, Bob Tullius and other notables. I also had the honor of being invited to attend the Mark Donohue Advanced Drivers Clinic at Lime Rock! Fast forward to the WDCR events I joined 15 years ago. I have had the opportunity to get to know tracks, people and the leadership of our Club from a more realistic perspective.

So I have seen the "Golden Years" of SCCA.  Our Club seems to be well-run and continues its effort to drive this “Jumbo Region” of 2,400 members through the challenges facing automotive clubs these days. I have grown to know many of you in our Club, and will expand into other sectors to understand the complexity of the many demands in operating our Club. I offer leadership knowledge from my Army experience, growing a successful Commercial Real Estate Company, and understanding the effort to lead - whether it is coaching racecraft, winning races, or solving a difficult problem. Please vote for me to achieve positive, creative, dedicated leadership to safely steer the Club toward its apex of continued success.
Brian Garfield

As a Washington D.C. Region SCCA Member since 2000, I have been devoted to the club since first joining the SCCA for the discipline of Solo (autocross).  I joined the WDCR Solo Committee in 2001 and immediately began to tackle the need for schools to educate new drivers and bring in new members. I have organized, taught, and run over one hundred schools to date, with as many as 20+ in a season.

My entire family has also been actively involved over this same time period with my father, Craig Garfield, having served as the Solo Region Chairman for 10 years, in addition to my mother Jane, wife Lisa, and now older son Julian having served on the region's Solo committee.   Currently, Julian and I are the Novice Coordinators for the region and Craig and Lisa actively remain on the committee as well.  In 2011, Julian began Club Racing at the age of 13 with the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) where I crewed for him and learned about the environment of a major competing organization.  In 2013, we spent an equal amount of time Club Racing with the SCCA.  During those Club Racing years, my family and I still participated in SCCA Solo with the Washington D.C. Region.
During the last 15 years, my family has traveled the Eastern half of the country for National level SCCA events, including 14 Solo National Championships, one of which saw six Garfield family members compete (Craig, Jane, Lisa, Brian, Julian and his younger brother Carson).  I have also served on an SCCA Solo National Advisory Committee for several years to help make rules, rule changes, and solve issues within some of the classes.

At 43 years of age, I consider myself a traditionalist at heart but know that the younger generation is what will continue to be important to a growing program.  I see the need for each of the SCCA disciplines, and appreciate the connections that can be made to help each program thrive and grow.
Steve Salisbury
- Incumbent -

I have been a frequent Solo competitor in several classes and cars since 2003, and an SCCA and WDCR member since 2004. I joined the WDCR Solo Committee in late 2004. After learning the art from Greg Olsen, I designed several autocross courses per season from 2006 through 2011. I have proven (to myself, at least) that the course designer has absolutely no advantage whatsoever over other competitors.  I managed to win my first autocross in 2006 on a course that Sam Strano designed, that happened to (greatly) favor my 2005 STi. I'm still not quite sure how that happened, but I have the trophy, and I'm keeping it. 

I have attended two SCCA conventions as a WDCR representative, and have a very good understanding of how the Club works. Since 2011 I have been a volunteer for the Region at the Grand Prix of Baltimore supporting the track marshals.   

I've been a motorsports fan since my teens, first motorcycles (AMA and GP racing), then CART/Indycar. I currently follow any racing that is on 2 or 4 wheels, on any surface, and is timed, not judged. I've been racing on computers since early 90's starting with Indycar 1.0, and I currently race on iRacing.  

Outside of the club:

I am married to Evanthe Athena Irene Sophocleus Salisbury, and I have no earthly idea why sometimes people can't pronounce her name. We have two great kids, DJ and Elektra. DJ is just starting to drive an electric kart, and I am using my course design skills on our driveway.

I spent 8+ years in the US Navy in the late 80's and early 90's, and that started me on my Information Technology career. I have been in IT for 20 years, and working for a large local bank for 13 years. My team's area of responsibility is networking, security, and infrastructure. 

How I can help the club: 

My day job is in an industry that has a problem defining its core product. I observe the daily struggles of a very conservative industry fight for relevance and fail to understand what customers really want. Today's business culture and climate impart a constant drive to add "features" and "technology" to anything and everything, no matter result or relevance of the change. Many industries and companies fall into the trap of trying to provide an endless stream of new products and services, and in doing so, lose focus on the core value they provide to customers.   

The SCCA and the regional clubs have a good core product. Several, if you want to count each discipline separately. While considering new technologies, changes to the rulesets, or entirely new business plans, we must remember to always focus on the core product that we are providing, and make sure any changes serve the customers of our core product first and foremost. I can help the Region by bringing clear vision of how to use (or avoid) technology and change to serve the customer and improve the core product, because I want to go fast, and I want to have a place to do it*.

*Note: This by no means indicates that I actually CAN go fast; refer to the last 10 years of Solo results for confirmation. 

Chuck Edmondson   
- Incumbent -

I am a retired submarine officer, and a civilian faculty member at the Naval Academy.  I attended my first SCCA club race at Laguna Seca more than 30 years ago.

I have been a member of the WDCR Board of Directors for the past 6 years.     I club race a Honda in ITA.  I am a member of the region PDX/Time Trials organizing committee and not very long ago I was a participant in both the region Solo program and Autocrossers Incorporated.  I am also lucky that, the SCCA is a family activity that involves my son and daughter, as well as my wife.  Once your kids reach their twenties, it’s hard to find common activities. 

While I consider club racing to be the corner stone of the SCCA, I believe that the SCCA Solo program is the strongest motorsports activity in the country.  I consider PDX to be the crossroads of the Club Racing and the Solo programs.  Many of the PDX students come from Solo seeking their first high-speed track experience.  Without the selfless contributions of members of the club racing organization to instruct, and work the events, PDX and Time Trials would not exist.  I am fortunate to have this opportunity to work with such great folks.  I also strongly believe that a driver that works his way up to solo driving status in our PDX program will be a far safer and successful driver at a club racing drivers’ school. 

As a club we are entering interesting times.  We survived the great recession, mostly because the club has worked for 40 years to establish a substantial war chest to fall back on if the operating fund ever became depleted.  This allowed the BOD to act boldly establishing both the PDX and Rallycross programs that operated at a loss for several years.  Contributions from these programs to the club’s operating fund now apply directly to the margin of excellence for all parts of the club.   It allowed the BOD to maintain a robust racing program, refurbish the tech shed, replace vehicles and to contribute substantially to improving safety at Summit Point.  These bold actions have allowed the club to grow in the face of ever increasing competition.

It is tempting to declare victory and rest on our laurels. But of course things are as complicated as ever. How should we respond to the new track, Dominion Raceway? How do we secure our position at Summit Point?  How do we find new venues for Rally Cross and Solo? With your approval I would like to continue on the BOD and contribute to finding answers to these questions.
William Mercurio   

I am a Maryland-based Club racer and PDX instructor and running for a Board seat for the first time.

As a relative newcomer to the sport – I had never even sat in a competition car or kart until 2007 – I can’t offer much in the way of institutional knowledge or historical context regarding Club activities; I’ll let you decide whether this factor will help or hinder my effectiveness as a Board member. 

My professional life has been in business - helping companies grow their franchise, optimize their processes, understand industry trends as well as their operating and financial data, and reduce expenses.  I approach business matters with a forward-thinking view that focuses on maximizing the lifetime value of a customer; industry best practices; data-driven and technology-oriented solutions; and a conviction that regularly testing new programs, pricing strategies and distribution methods will make an organization better informed and more responsive.

Thank you for your consideration.

Eric Wallgren   

I’ve been active with the DC Region since 2008 when I began competing in STU class in the solo series at FedEx Field and with Autocrossers, Inc., as well as doing track events with the PDX program. The next year I was instructing PDX events and doing time trials, and in 2011 took the double competition licensing school and leapt into club racing in a D Sports racer. I can’t entirely blame the SCCA and WDCR for this slippery slope; I grew up in a family with a couple old Jaguars and an aptitude for fixing and making things. I’ve raced bicycles, motorcycles, karts, RC cars…show me a nice, relaxing pastime and I’ll start racing it; generally not successfully, but enthusiastically. 

In 2011 I converted the DSR to a CSR and I learned all about the turn 8 tire wall at Summit the last weekend of 2012. After acquiring a set of body molds I rebuilt the car and set a goal of the 2013 MARRS CSR season championship, the last before the sports racer classes would be restructured for 2014. Achieving this will remain one of the hardest and most rewarding accomplishments of my life. I continue to campaign the #51 P2 car at MARRS and NEdiv events. I set a P2 lap record at Pocono on my birthday – another great SCCA/MARRS memory.

What else do I do? I’m a laboratory instrumentation and automation designer/fabricator for NCATS, an institute of the NIH. I live with my wife/crew chief Abigail Grossman and our cats Isetta and Angus in Maryland near NW DC where I have a machine and fab shop where I make stuff for robots and race cars and enjoy cycling, rowing, cars and food. I spend a lot of time that should be spent renovating our midcentury house on maintaining the race car…

If elected to the BOD I’d like to represent the interests of the owner/driver/crew privateers that make up the majority of the paddock, and are The Club’s primary (and I’d say most important) customers. I’ve had a tremendous time participating in Solo, PDX, TT, and Club Racing and it’s been very rewarding giving back by instructing with the PDX Program and with the open wheel group of the Competition Licensing School. I’m open, direct, and always look for the best solution that makes the most of what’s on hand while simplifying the process if at all possible. I’m absolutely amenable to structure and rules, but prefer to eliminate bureaucracy that doesn’t make things easier whenever I can. The DC Region has provided me an arena in which to compete and many friendships; opportunities and challenges and the experiences which make life more meaningful. I hope to lend a hand to the WDCR to enable it to continue to do this for all its participants in every specialty.