words: Bud Dannemiller
Editor’s note: This article originally ran in the Q1 2019 issue of quattro magazine.
Greetings from your Audi Club National Board of Directors. It’s hard to believe 2018 has gone by as quickly as it has. “How could this have happened?’ you might ask. The answer is pretty simple to me. It’s because of all of the activities you and your chapters have hosted across the depth and breadth of the Audi Club. For this, you all have the heartfelt thanks of the National Board.
This past year the club has continued to take the idea of “engagement” to heart. This happened in many ways. In some cases, chapters hosted activities at local dealerships or aftermarket tuners. In other cases, members participated in High-Performance Driving Events and driving schools. In still other cases, enthusiasts gathered to share their passion for all things automotive and specifically for the Audi brand. Many of these events took on the form of the familiar Show-and-Shine, while others were simply getting together for simple social gatherings. Regardless of the venue or purpose, the idea and impact were all about engaging both members and non-members.
During the springtime face-to-face meeting of the National Board, club directors laid out a plan designed to support the idea of engaging members and non-members at all levels,; identifying four separate initiatives designed to enhance the idea of “engagement”. These initiatives are: The national website with chapter websites supported by the national organization, and also our social media presence, merchandising, event management, and membership. The general summary of each at year’s end is as follows:
National Website– The national website and all 26 of the supported chapter websites transitioned to the new WordPress platform. This affords more flexibility in sharing information with members. Tied to that is a vast foray into the world of Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter (in some chapters).
Merchandise – Over and above the offerings found on TeePublic launched in 2017, the club added its own Audi Club-specific merchandise line. While limited in its current offering, the opportunity to expand the collection here is great.
Event Management– From the National perspective the board signed on to support ten regional and national events during the course of the year. In reality, we ended up supporting fourteen separate events…some big and some not so big during the year.
Membership– This includes engaging current members and potential members, as well as former members. For those members who have been around for the last 5 or 10 years, Audi Club had been on a decline in membership for the last few years since reaching a peak of 12,000. Now at 10,000 strong, that decline appears to have leveled off and is turning back towards growth; thanks to a considerably re-energized operation across many of the parameters outlined above.
Regional Directors– This is still a work in progress. I am happy to inform you that Gordon Varney (National Secretary and a principal in the revitalization of the Eastern Canada Chapter) has laid a framework that the board believes can be used by other chapters. This includes those that are successful on their own, as well as those that are looking for a bit of assistance.
I hope you can see that the Club as a whole has improved its engagement. We’ve done a lot and we still have plenty to do in 2019. I hope that each and every one of you will do all you can to continue to support your chapters in these endeavors. The board and your chapter leaders will welcome any ideas you have for new events or even improving current events. Their contact information is also found in these pages (p. 92 and p.95) so please do not hesitate to reach out.
So what else has happened in 2018? A little over year ago, we welcomed Paul Truess as our new Executive Director. Paul has done a stellar job with the club. We are also pleased to announce that Joanne Angeli recently joined the National Office staff as the new Officer Manager. Joanne brings a depth of experience in the not-for-profit world that would be hard to match. These two, teamed with Sally Schliewe (Administrative Assistant), Bill Cho (Event and Communication Manager) and George Achorn (quattro magazine Editor-in-Chief), along with the chapter leaders, form a powerful team for the organization. I know that each and every one of them stand ready to assist the organization at all levels and in every way possible.
Finally, as 2018 closes, we must say goodbye to Marcel Velazquez, Gregg Gumbinger, and Ted Dannemiller whose three-year terms on the board end with the beginning of the New Year. They performed stellar service for Audi Club over the past years. Marcel as a dedicated photographer who has contributed to our magazine, and a co-sponsor from the Board on the Drivers’ Education committee; Gregg as a co-sponsor of our Membership Initiative/Committee and both Secretary and Treasurer; and Ted as the other co-sponsor from the board to the Drivers’ Education Committee and also serving as the National Vice President for the 2018 year. None of the Club’s successes at the National level would have been possible without their dedicated service. While we hate to see these three go, four new candidates, plus Ted, have been nominated for the next Board of Directors three-year terms. The new nominees include: Ryan Compton (Potomac- Chesapeake), Dan Garber (Northwest), Pat O’Neal (Golden Gate), and Talia Spain (Georgia). Regardless of who is ultimately elected, we will all be winners as we step into 2019.
In closing, let me express my thanks to our members and our Chapter Leaders for the support you have shown the National Board and me as your President. What a great year this has been!