Minutes of NCR-SCCA Monthly Board of Directors Meeting
January 12, 2020
Present: John Bodnar, Heather Clark, Anna Crissman, Ericka Deffenbaugh, Justin Deffenbaugh, Nikki Edwards, Jeff Eng, Sam Fouse, Al Heatwole, Fred McKinney, Mark Senior, Chris Schimmel, Chris Severt, Elizabeth Severt, James Shanks, Ben Tyler, Megan Tyler, and Kit Williams, attended in person; and via conference call, Bruce Dover and Stephen Miller. Rex Deffenbaugh and Heather Powers did not attend.
- The NCR BoD meeting was called to order by RE Anna Crissman at 10:05 AM, on Sunday, January 12th 2020, in the Palm Room of the Shell Island Resort, 2700 North Lumina Avenue, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480.
- Heather Clark, John Bodnar, Ericka Deffenbaugh, Jeff Eng, Fred McKinney, Chris Schimmel, Chris Severt, Elizabeth Severt, Ben Tyler, and Megan Tyler, all attended as guests in person.
- Motion to approve the December minutes, as posted on the Google drive (Shanks / Fouse). Passed.
Order of items below reflects the order of discussion, as nearly as possible; not necessarily as they appeared on the published agenda.
None. Treasurer Heather Powers was unable to attend, and Sam had addressed the Region’s financial health in his recent RE Report and remarks at last night’s Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner.
- Welcome of New Officers. Newly-elected RE Anna Crissman opened the meeting by welcoming the other new officers, Members-at-Large Justin Deffenbaugh and Stephen Miller. James Shanks was returning as Secretary as he ran unopposed. Anna said we would deal with now vacant Assistant RE position before the close of this meeting.
- Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner Debrief. The consensus of the Board and the guests assembled was that the Shell Island Resort venue was an excellent one. The rooms were a bit pricier than normal, but the large suites themselves were excellent, and we were right on the beach. Everyone seemed to praise the food as well, both at the dinner, and at the hotel restaurant. Elizabeth reported that the banquet room and catering costs at Shell Island were the lowest she had ever managed to secure in Wilmington area to date. James was concerned however, that we were subsidizing this event too much, since only about 60 people attended. He felt that it might be time to end this event, and break it up into multiple award ceremonies, one to be held at VIR for the racers, and another in conjunction with the Solo awards. Others disagreed, saying that the timing was off. Many felt that if the event were moved to late November or early December, and held in conjunction with the Solo awards, that the attendance would be much higher. By the time January rolled around, they said, nobody cared any more about last season. It was also observed that our January schedule has become too tight, since we always lose some drivers who might attend to the Majors at Sebring that same weekend and that the SCCA Annual Convention is the following weekend. Indeed, the reason for scheduling this meeting immediately following the dinner last night was because those Board members attending the Convention would be leaving on Wednesday, just three days away. Bruce observed that the announcement of new officers by the chair of the Elections Committee at the Annual Meeting, as required by the Bylaws, would be affected if we moved the date, but the consensus was that we should probably revisit that anyway and change the Bylaws. We would have almost a year to do that. Motion to move the Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner to a weekend in late November or early December (Fouse / J. Deffenbaugh). Passed unanimously. Elizabeth will begin negotiations with the Shell Island Resort for a return there. It was also suggested that we could do a survey using MSR and find out what the membership thought about moving the meeting and what would make them more likely to attend.
- Website Issues. Webmaster Jeff Eng passed around a sheet with some statistics and graphics portraying the amount of traffic to our website. It remains at about 55K to 56K hits annually, little changed from last year, despite the profusion of social media. Many of those who are active on social media observed that most of the postings about events there direct the reader to the website to sign up, and that is where the results are too. Jeff concurred and indicated that the results pages get a huge number of hits annually. But his concern is that our website is rapidly becoming outdated. It is based on a version of WordPress which is more than three years old, and it could benefit from an upgrade. The upgrade, which would involve building a new server on a new site and copying the existing data over to it, would be more secure, and probably faster, as well as offering more features and better ease-of-use. He was looking for permission to go ahead with pursuing the upgrade. James said that, as defacto Region historian, he was very concerned about the loss of any of our data, particularly old news items. Since we went electronic in 2010, we have no other copies of those pages, except what is on the website. In addition, the historical Region newsletters, the copies of the Bulletin that he and Bruce had scanned and put out there, would be almost impossible to recreate, as the paper originals were crumbling and being lost every day. Jeff said he was confident that our server was being backed up redundantly every night, but James requested that he copy everything to a solid state drive before beginning the project, and he provided a 1-terabyte solid state drive for Jeff to use for that purpose, Jeff agreed to do that, and by consensus the Board agreed that he should pursue his plans for an upgrade. We would absorb the costs of doing it. Along the way, it was suggested that the new website get additional pages which listed the award winners from each year, so that anyone could see who had been honored in the past, without trying to deep dive into the archives.
- Conflicting Time Trial and Solo Dates. This issue popped up during the foregoing website discussion. The problem is that there is no single calendar for Time Trials, nor for Solo events, like there is for racing events, on the SEDIV calendar. Different people in different Regions keep their own calendars and there is no coordination, no single place to go for an authoritative list, which results in many overlapping events. Our August Time Trial at NCCAR, for example, conflicts with at least two others we know of. Anna and Sam vowed to try to address this issue at the upcoming SEDIV convention.
- 2020 VIR Contract and Rental Rates. Sam reiterated what he said before, that VIR has raised their base rate about three percent, and now that we had a contract, which we had just received the previous Wednesday, a mere four days ago, it appears that most of the extras had stayed the same, although possible new fees for water spigots in the paddock were notable exceptions. Also the rate for the newly-paved skidpad was now $1000 per day. As a result, while we may pay for water, we would probably decline to use the skidpad. Sam noted that security would cost more as well. And the fee for “self-catering”, or providing for your own food, was now to be negotiated on a per event basis, as there was a new catering service managing VIR’s food service. In any case, Anna would sign the contract and get it to Bruce, along with our check for the deposit. Sam signed that check at the meeting, since Anna did not yet have signature authority on our accounts. The check is for $40,366, which represents twenty-five percent of our projected base track rental for 2020. Bruce will deliver the signed contract and the check next week. A meeting with Kerrigan and the VIR staff is being scheduled for January 27th or 28th, and we want them to have the deposit beforehand, because that makes negotiations more pleasant. Sam added that the new contract calls for at least $5M in liability coverage by the renter, and that he had contacted the SCCA National Office, who assured him that we are covered under a $15M ‘blanket’ policy.
- Radio Headset Bags. Ben Tyler circulated a padded radio headset bag for the Board members to evaluate. He said that our headsets are suffering from wear and tear and that much of this comes from them being dumped into big totes where they get tangled up. Since a headset, plus cable, costs about $290 per set, and the double channel ones are $700, it only makes sense to protect our investment, which is now about $2300 all told. Ben is proposing to buy at least 70 of these bags, or ones similar to them, to help prevent that damage. These retail for $18 apiece but can be had for $13 each, plus shipping, if purchased in bulk. Anna is opposed to paying shipping and she wants to keep looking for a better, or cheaper, alternative. Motion to purchase 80 bags at up to $1200 (Senior / Shanks) Passed. This has to happen rather quickly, since we really need these by the March event, which is a mere 68 days out.
- Regional Supps. Anna reported that the Supplemental Regulations (Supps) for our Regional races, including March, are with the Stewards and should be approved shortly.
- Vacant Assistant RE Position. Anna’s election to Regional Executive left her position as Assistant RE vacant for the remainder of her term, which did not expire until the end of 2020. As the new RE, it is her duty to appoint someone to fill that position, with a confirming vote by the Board of Directors, as provided in the Bylaws. She appointed Heather Clark, whose term as Member-at-Large had recently expired. Heather accepted and was confirmed by the Board.
Chapter and Committee Reports: As of this writing, there were no Chapter or Committee reports for December 2019 posted on the Google drive.
Motion to adjourn at 11:14 AM (J. Deffenbaugh / Clark). Passed.
Submitted by Secretary, James Shanks.