Five years ago, if you would have told me I would be sitting in this role as NASA Florida’s Regional Director, I would have laughed. But now, that dream has become reality. Ask yourself, how many of us during our lifetime have the opportunity to pursue something we have a passion for, and also to work alongside such a fantastic group of people dedicated to a common idea or sport?
I have big plans for the future of the Florida Region, and I am counting on our members to help make them possible. To understand my direction for the future of the Florida Region, you should probably know a little about my background. So humor me while I give you a brief summary.
As most Florida members know, I am a driver and a racer. It all started 15 years ago driving in HPDE events in the Northeast. One weekend, while attending a vintage roadracing event at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, I won a two-day introduction-to-racing course. Well, one thing led to the next and before you know it, I was racing at every venue up and down the East Coast. Not an easy task while still working full-time in commercial real estate in New York City and raising a family.
Over the next 10 years, I drove or attended events with various motorsport organizations, including NASA. I spoke with a lot of drivers, observed and learned what was needed to put on a successful event. Clearly the ideas, philosophy, professionalism and goals offered by NASA were superior to every other driving platform available.
In late 2010, after working 30 years at my full-time office position, I decided it was time to pursue this passion. As a result, I retired and moved to Florida. Over the next five years, I spent all my time driving and racing anything with four wheels and becoming more involved in the Florida motorsports scene. I still wanted more, but what?
Late in 2015, an opportunity presented itself, and the next thing I know, I am the Florida Regional Director. So much for a peaceful retirement of just racing, playing golf, boating and fishing.
Being a Regional Director and hosting an event comes naturally to me, but figuring out the mechanics of a successful event, was a learning process. NASA is one big family, and I am thankful for all the assistance provided by the National Office, other directors and the local staff supporting me.
Our biggest challenge is that Florida is a highly competitive region, with a total of seven major driving organizations putting on events at four major tracks, 12 months a year. We all compete for the same driver base in one way or another. Hence, we need to be special — and the best — so I’ve combined my past motorsports experience and business/marketing skills to deliver the best motorsport events in Florida, for drivers and families alike. I knew it would take time, but it seems to be paying off already as is evident from our past events.
So where are we heading here in the Sunshine State in 2017? We’ll continue to build on our 2016 season with more events at more tracks, bringing in new members, and new event activities while expanding on the past accomplishments of the region. Like the famous movie quote says, “If you build it they will come.” The groundwork is now in place for the future.
I will continue to listen, race alongside and interact with the members and strive to host the best and most exciting motorsports events possible in Florida. This will be NASA’s key to the continued success in the Sunshine State. Sure it is going to be hard work with challenges, but who doesn’t love a little competition? It’s the only way we become the best. I look forward to a sunny future for NASA Florida.