By Kathleen Wong, UCR Vice-President, Photos by UCR Photographer Michael A. Coates (from Provinz January 2015 page 14)
The 2014 UCR Awards Banquet was held at Riviera Parque on Saturday, November 22, 2014. We had an attendance of about 90 people at the banquet. A new 911 Targa 4S stood guard in the foyer (courtesy of Porsche Cars Canada). Alexander Pollich, President & CEO of Porsche Cars Canada, was the keynote speaker at our banquet.
The banquet began with opening remarks by Walter Murray, outgoing UCR President. Walter thanked all the volunteers who provided their time and selfless efforts and contributed to record participation at almost every single UCR event in 2014. We had 900 participants at our Drivers Education (“DE”) events, 400 participants in 12 Fun Runs, record sellout at all Autocross events, 80+ attendees at a number of Socials, a record attendance of 300 participants at “Shift into Spring” in April, and 69 cars at the Concours in September, and another successful Targa in the scenic Prince Edward County in October.
The two most heart-warming events in 2014 were the “Driven to Smile” event, organized by Jill Clements- Bartmann and then-UCR director Del Bruce. About 40 UCR instructors and members gave rides to 400 physically challenged children and their families at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (“CTMP”) in June.
The second event was organized in support of The “Hearth Place for Cancer Support in Durham” by Carolyn Hoar (volunteer and family support coordinator), Dave Osborne (Chair of DE program) and David Forbes (Fun Run Chair). At three separate Saturday DE events, UCR members provided lunchtime rides to young children with cancer at CTMP.
Walter thanked the Board for the great work during the past year, and especially the four Board members who have served with distinction for many years but they have to step down due to term limits, namely Del Bruce, Mario Marello, Arthur Quinlan and Sheri Whitlock.
The new Board of UCR took office effective December 1, 2014. Walter introduced the following five Board members who were present at the Banquet: Mike Bryan will be the new President and was Vice President in 2013-2014 and a Director in 2011- 2012; Kathleen Wong will be the new Vice President and was Director and Co-Chair of Socials in 2014; Mick Oliveira is a returning Director and chair of the Club Race; Sencer Erkaya will be a new Board member; and Hazel de Burgh will also be a new Board member.
Walter acknowledged Ken Jensen, who is our webmaster supreme, membership retention and an advisor to both the President and PCA on its membership database upgrade; and John Adam, who is the Historian of UCR and the advisor and coach to the President during the past few years.
UCR received a number of very special rewards from Porsche Club of America (“PCA”) in 2014:
- Provinz magazine won “The Betty Jo Turner Award for Newsletter Excellence (Best Overall Newsletter)”, which recognizes the best newsletter in the entire Porsche Club, for the first time in our history. We thank Emily Atkins, Provinz Editor, who earned this award.
- UCR was the first runner-up for “The Ferry Porsche Trophy – PCA Region of the Year” award.
- The UCR website also received honourable mention as one of the best in its regional category.
UCR is the second largest region among the 141 regions in PCA, with 2,278 primary members (plus 1,185 affiliated members for a total of 3,463 members) at the end of October 2014. The number of primary members had increased by 823 or 57 percent from five years ago. The significant growth in members was driven by Downtown Porsche and Porsche of London, which give a free UCR membership to all customers buying a Porsche from them. Walter acknowledged the dealer principals from Downtown Porsche who were present at the banquet, Helen Ching- Kircher and Peter Kircher, and thanked them for the continued support of UCR.
Walter introduced Manny Alban, the National President of PCA, who flew from the States to attend our banquet. Mr. Alban has an amazing credential with PCA. He became the President of the Chesapeake Region at the age of 27 in 1993, earned his PCA Club Racing license in 1998 and became a DE instructor in 1999. He was elected to National Secretary in 2005, National Vice President in 2009 and National President in 2011 at the age of 45. He currently drives a 1990 911 C2 and owns over 3,000 Porsche diecast models.
Alban told us the top issue that keeps him awake at night is: what he can do to motivate and retain volunteers. PCA is a member owned non-profit organization, therefore, the growth of the club is purely attributable to the efforts of volunteers.
PCA was founded in 1955 and it has grown to 115,000 members (primary and affiliated) today. PCA is the largest single marque car club in the world. PCA will be celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2015 and Alban said there will be a surprise announcement in January 2015. Stay tuned! Walter thanked Alban for his speech and gave him a toque with the word “CANADA” on it.
UCR joined PCA when it received its charter in 1976. In 2014, there are 235 members who have been part of the UCR family for five, 10, 15, 20, and every five years thereafter. Walter presented certificates of appreciation to the following long-time UCR members who were present at the banquet:
- 5th anniversary: Brad Usherwood
- 10th anniversary: Pam and Mike Bryan
- 15th anniversary: Don Lewtas and Barbara Mitton
- 15th anniversary: Clive and Eunice Van Wert
- 20th anniversary: Syed and Natasha Ali
- 20th anniversary: Peter and Carol Helston
- 20th anniversary: Delis and Christina Lus
- 35th anniversary: Dave and Susan Sommerville (absent from the banquet).
Walter also recognized Mario Marello, who is stepping down after spending six years on the Board. Mario was a Director for two years, President for two years and Past President for two years. Mario will continue to be the chair of Autocross. Walter presented a “Certificate of Appreciation” to Mario Marello and his son, Paul, who may be considered as the successor of the Autocross chair some time in the future.
Walter announced the Socials co-chairs, Laurel Ward and Kathleen Wong, won 2014 “Enthusiast of the Year” award due to the record attendance at a number of socials. The award was sponsored by Porsche Cars Canada. Alexander Pollich, the President and CEO of Porsche Cars Canada, presented a 960-page anniversary book celebrating 50 years of the Porsche 911 to each of the co-chairs. The massive book (weighing eight lbs) covers seven generations of the 911, starting with the original 901 prototype unveiled in 1963.
Mike Bryan, the incoming President of UCR, delivered a short speech thanking Walter for the mentoring and guidance during the past two years and gave him a 911 Turbo diecast model as a gift of appreciation.
Walter introduced Alexander Pollich as the keynote speaker of the banquet. Mr. Pollich also brought his two colleagues to the banquet: Alexander Schildt (Director of Marketing), and Ben Badenoch, who is a master organizer and a Camp 4S workhorse. Pollich has over 20 years of automotive experience. He joined Porsche AG in 2001 as the head of the Strategy Projects Department. In September 2013, Pollich became President & CEO of Porsche Cars Canada.
Pollich began his speech with the history of Porsche. Dr. Ferry Porsche was the father of the Porsche 911 and he said, “In the beginning I looked around and could not quite find the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself.” This was how the Porsche 911 was born.
Porsche has demonstrated strong growth in Canada compared to its competitors. Since the economic crisis in 2008/2009, Porsche new vehicle sales in Canada had more than doubled to 3,680 in 2013. For the first 10 months ending October 31, 2014, Porsche new vehicle sales increased by 34 percent, to a record 4,171. New vehicle deliveries were particularly strong from June to August due to the successful launch of the Macan. There are currently 15 Porsche centres (six in the west, four in Ontario, four in Quebec and one in the east) operating in Canada with plans to open two additional Porsche centres in Western Canada during the next two years.
Porsche Cars Canada continues to have a strong focus on customer events and motorsport during 2014. For instance, there were 240 participants at the Camp 4/Camp 4S program in February and March 2014; 900 participants at Macan Grand Tour from May 23 to June 8; 32 participants at Performance Tour West in October 2014; and the Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin had 20 drivers participating in 10 races at CTMP, Calabogie, Toronto Indy and Trois-Rivieres during five separate weekends. Camp 4 is returning to Canada in 2015 with Camp 4 on Feb. 3-12, Camp 4S on Feb. 11-15 and Camp 4RS on Feb. 20-27 at the Mecaglisse track in Québec.
Walter thanked Mr. Pollich for his speech and gave him a toque with the word “CANADA” on it.
The evening wrapped up with four hired musicians singing Christmas carols. Walter asked each table to designate a caroler to sing a Christmas song and we found quite a few talented singers at UCR—UCR’s Got Talent! John Adam gave a closing blessing prayer and wished everyone a safe drive home and a wonderful holiday season.
We sincerely thank the following volunteers for making the banquet another success: Walter Murray for organizing the banquet; John and Rosemary Adam for putting together a menu, which offered a multi-course dinner with wine pairings; Mario Marello for taking care of the registration and visual equipment; Michael Coates (UCR photographer) for putting together the slide show in the banquet room and taking pictures throughout the evening.