What I Learned in Kansas City
By Jeff Zurschmeide, Area 13 Director
The first thing I noticed when I was elected to represent SCCA’s Area 13 members on the national Board of Directors is that many SCCA members don’t know what the board actually does.
Here’s a short primer - we’re not the bosses of the REs, the stewards, the CRB or the SEB, or any specialty. In fact, the board is only sort of the boss of one person: the President of SCCA, Mike Cobb. I say “sort of” because it’s not like I can call him up and give him orders, either. The board gives big-picture direction and goals to the President, and then evaluates him on his performance.
Similarly, we may ratify the decisions of the CRB, SEB and every other competition board, but we don’t write the rules for your class. In fact, I think we meddle a little too much with the people who have stepped up to manage the rules of our competition venues.
I’m not an expert in the competitiveness of various cars within any class, be it GT-1 or F500, E-stock or A-Mod. The people who volunteer to sit on the CRB/SEB and the individual class advisory committees are the experts, and as a rule I plan to respect their wisdom.
Okay, so that’s all the stuff we don’t do. Here’s what we actually do:
1) We keep an eye on the bottom line for the national organization. Being on the board involves a lot of spreadsheets that detail the financial operation of the club. This is the unglamorous work that is absolutely critical to the mission of SCCA. If we run out of money, we’re out of business.
2) We evaluate new opportunities for the club, whether that’s sponsorship deals, Pro racing series, and new venues like TNIA and Time Trials.
3) We sit in on the meetings of the committees of the club we’re tasked to monitor. I am the board liaison to the Road Rally Board and the Time Trials Advisory Committee. My job is not to run those meetings, but rather to answer board-related questions and bring the point of view of the committee back to the board.
4) We form subcommittees of the board to handle the details of various issues. I have been appointed to the Strategic Planning and Governance committees.
Strategic Planning is where we look at new opportunities like Time Trials, and try to offer ideas and guidance to the SCCA staff and committees on how we might capitalize on those ideas and open new lines of business.
Governance is more prosaic, being concerned primarily with keeping the Club’s bylaws up to date. At 75 years strong, the bylaws don’t generally need a lot of work these days.
Coming out of my first three-day marathon board meeting, here’s what I know:
1) The SCCA board is composed of people from all parts of the club. We’ve got Solo folks, Club Racers, Rallyists, Officials, and racing business owners. We’ve got a member who has a PhD in Economics and several members who get their hands dirty for a living. It’s a good group of smart people.
2) The major challenge facing the club is Pro Racing, and 2019 will be a pivotal year. Formula 3 and Formula 4 have been launched, and need to prove out to repay the investment made.
3) The regional solo racer and road racer is the economic backbone of the club. That’s where we make our money. I already figured that, but it’s nice to see it proven in numbers.
I’ll know more next month after the convention. We’ve got another two-day meeting scheduled there. I’ll report in again at that time.
By Jeff Zurschmeide
Area 13 Director,