Meet the Audi Club North America Board of Directors Candidates

Each year, three of the nine National Board of Director positions are up for election. Directors serve a 3-year term and are eligible to run for a second 3-year term. For the term 2018-2020 ending in December, director seats for Troy Sicotte, Gordon Varney, and Christine Lemley are expiring.

The Audi Club North America Board of Directors and the Nominating Committee has confirmed seven candidates running for the three open positions. Here are the candidates (in alphabetical order):

Jason Cupp, Audi Club Kansas City

I have been an Audi enthusiast my entire life, buying my first Audi, a 1986 Coupe GT from a family friend while in high school. The love for Audi started at a young age, but not until the last six years have again owning an Audi been a reality. My current daily driver is an SQ5, and even my dad drives a Q5.

In January of this year, I went to Germany and Austria with other Audi Club North America members to attend an Audi Driving Experience on the ice. It was amazing to spend a week with other enthusiasts, talk about the brand, our history, our stories, and bond over the shared experiences of a love for cars and a love for Audi. I knew my passion was to connect with other car lovers, help create memorable experiences with them, and develop lifelong friendships at a national, international and local level. I’m lucky to call many of those on that trip friends.

At about the same time, my local chapter asked me to help serve in leadership. I was very excited as I love our local Audi Club Chapter, its members, the events, and the community it was creating. I immediately jumped in and helped our chapter walk through some of the steps necessary by ACNA in February regarding bylaws, financials, compliance, and also the COVID mandates. All the while, we maintained, along with my fellow chapter leaders, amazing relationships with our chapter members. Although this year has been challenging, the KC Chapter leadership has worked tirelessly to maintain normalcy and safety despite numerous events being canceled.

My history of helping to lead and strategize in non-profit dates back almost 20 years, when I began to volunteer serve for an industry trade association. Just a few short years later, I was named the youngest President and CEO of that organization. During my 12 year tenure in leadership of the association, I helped facilitate numerous initiatives, including membership drives, certification and accreditation, financial benchmarking and budgeting, marketing and retention, large event planning, and most notably – a cohesive focus on building lifelong relationships amongst members – many of whom today are friends and clients today – and many of whom have bought Audi’s because of my desire to be a brand ambassador.

I’m grateful for this opportunity and nomination in further leadership with ACNA, and was recently named the Committee Chair of the ACNA Membership Committee. I’m excited to work with my co-leaders on that committee to facilitate change and growth in all things touching membership. I’m also proud to continue to serve at the local level – and look forward to any contribution I can make in leadership at the National Level as well.

John Gonter, Audi Club Carolinas

I have been an Audi Club member since 2015. Having transplanted from Ohio about two months before the first event, my family and I needed something to do, so we joined the Club and attended the first Carolinas meet. The thing I tell everyone about Audi Club is the people make it great. I put in all of the effort that I do towards the Carolinas Chapter because I feel that I owe it to the club, since I have met most of my current friends through it and the events. The club has become an extended family for me, especially with my wife, two daughters, and my mother all joining in quite often, and usually insisting on driving themselves in their own Audi. 

When I learned that the Charlotte area director position was open, I willingly volunteered to help out. Since that time, one of my biggest missions has been to create a greater online and social media presence for the Carolinas Chapter. In doing so, the club has grown in both memberships and sponsorships. With the help of both new and old dedicated regional directors that donate their time and energy into creating great new events for our members, the chapter only continues to grow. New members always say how welcomed they feel, which is one of the key drivers that I hope to push at a National level. 

My vision for us going forward is two-fold: focusing on the value of membership, not monetarily, but in experiences, and creating beneficial business partnerships. Value is not about the membership cost, but what they are getting for the money spent. We have the magazine and discounts, but we need to bring more enthusiasm to events and focus more towards sharing places, venues, driving events, or track days together as an Audi family. Building stronger relationships with our local shops, dealerships, or other venues help pave the way for potential sponsorships down the road, we have a very focused club of enthusiasts and for some companies this is the ideal target market. Marketing dollars spent towards sponsorship may yield a higher return for local or national businesses. Building these relationships and showcasing this value is what we need locally and nationally. 

Don Istook, Audi Club Lone Star

When I look at the beginnings of the Audi Club NA, I immediately think of the late Frank Bedor and his considerable contribution and commitment to start the Club. His legacy is still among us. I also look back to the real beginnings with August Horch, and of what is today, Audi. August Horch had a vision. Yes, it was about building quality automobiles, but it was much more than that.. was about passion.

As an Audi Club member, I am among our large group of enthusiasts that know the meaning of the word. We drive our Audi’s, and are Club members, because of that, that passion for quality, performance, superior engineering, as well as the past history that makes our cars …an Audi.

In addition to my and my family’s Audi ownership, which covers about 25 vehicles through the years, I have actively been involved in the Audi Sport Customer Racing program with the RS 3 LMS, and built and raced many Audis over the last two decades in professional racing. I have instructed at many drive education programs. Being behind the wheel of an Audi at speed on a race track is a thrill we all should experience.

I feel my past 45 years of association with the brand, my 40+ years of service industry history and Audi racing background, my technical assistance on various Audi related forums, my certification as an Audi Brand Specialist and Audi Sport Ambassador have helped prepare me for a role in helping determine the future and direction of our club.

As a potential Board member, I would like to work to further the growth of individual Audi dealerships role in our club. I think it is paramount to impress upon them the commitment that a close relationship they make with our club chapters will reap them greater financial rewards down the line. At the same time, it can increase the customer base within the Club. It is important work to make sure our members understand what this relationship can mean to them.

Part of my commitment would not just be to add additional members to the club, but to strengthen the ties within the club of our existing members. My wife and I attended the fantastic Audi National event in 2019. A goal would be to increase awareness and attendance of our members at our largest gathering of the year. Gathering together as a voice can also be very beneficial when it comes to dealing with Audi of America about what future offerings may be coming to the U.S. I know, as I have had a part in that with the TT RS.

In closing, “yeah.” ..I am a true Audi guy. I would relish the opportunity to take my total 45+ years of Audi experience and share it with fellow club members as a member of the Audi Club North America Board of Directors.

Leanne Kopras, Audi Club Arizona

My passion for Audi began four years ago when my husband and I purchased a 2014 Audi R8 STāSIS Challenge Extreme.  We fell in love with it and we started looking for a car club to be a part of, eventually finding the Audi Club North America website.  Being an extrovert, I was excited for the opportunity to meet new people with a mutual interest.

After attending our first event, we knew we had found a great group of people. Everyone we talked to reiterated how much fun they’ve had with the club telling stories of all the drives and weekend trips they’ve done with the club.  In the weeks that followed, we waited and waited for announcements for these amazing drives & trips and… those announcements never came.  I started attending the monthly meetings and discovered there was a dire need for volunteers.

The more we learned about the club from its most active members, the more we discovered the chapter needed a serious kick-start and I was eager to help.  After attending many meetings with as little as 3 members in attendance, I began talking to members, Kelly Batton and Randy Nelson, who shared the excitement for the club and desired to see it grow into something huge.

I spoke with the former Audi Club Arizona President, Gerry Dale, and determined that my social media skills would give the chapter a much-needed boost. Everyone agreed that action was needed to take place and the club appointed board members that were willing to do the work.  Soon I was voted into the Social Media Director role.

The core of ACAZ was reinvigorated and we’ve put new life back into the Arizona Chapter. I’m proud to be doing my part as a member of the local board and my love and enthusiasm for the Audi brand has grown along with it.  Being on the board as the Social Media Director and now Chairwoman, has introduced me to an enormous car community and has given me the opportunity to grow our following and, most importantly, attract and encourage new members.

It’s exciting to be a part of a group that has worked together to increase our chapter membership 49% YOY for 2019.  Through research of other clubs and ACNA Chapters, I’ve helped redevelop a club here in Arizona that has a fun and inclusive vibe about it.  I take joy in reaching out and connecting with car meet organizers, other club organizers and small business owners to find ways to cross promote.  I welcome the challenge of creating new initiatives and activities for our members to interact with each other and love how it has elevated enthusiasm for the Audi brand.

The heart I’ve put into our growing group was recognized this past year as I was nominated by fellow board members for the 2019 National Member of the Year and… what do you know? I won! I can’t fully explain my appreciation and happiness for such an honor and those who have put their trust in me to grow our chapter. That honor and national recognition has brought more of a spotlight to the Arizona Chapter which is exciting to see and has helped with my relationships with other car clubs in Arizona and throughout the United States.  Which brings me into what I’d like to do if elected to the ACNA Board.

If elected, I would bring my enthusiasm and dedicated personality into the position. I’d connect with other non-ACNA Audi Clubs in North America touting the benefits of joining us, encouraging overall growth with a focus on bringing a new generation of Audi enthusiasts into the fold.  I’d help guide these clubs into making a smooth transition to becoming a part of the ACNA Family.  One of my goals would be to help non-active Chapters with membership and providing them with ideas and tactics to help put life back into their clubs just as I have helped accomplish for the Arizona Chapter.  I’d like to introduce new programs and provide guidance to chapters to make the most of their social media presence, helping them to grow their membership while reinvigorating their members.  I’ve seen what it takes to take a great club to greater heights, and I want to do the same on a national level.

Audi is a phenomenal brand and I would love to see Audi Club North America continue to evolve and bring more joy to Audi owners.  I’m excited at the prospect of being a part of that growth and enthusiasm.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Safe travels!

Jacob Lauck, Audi Club Kansas City

I became an Audi brand enthusiast in 2009 when I purchased my first A6 Avant. At the time of my purchase there wasn’t an active Kansas City Audi chapter. So, I decided to try and revive the 5 year dormant Kansas City chapter. In 2015 I became Chapter President, CEO, CFO, COO and any other title that the club needed me to be and then got to work. When I began building the club, it had around 120 nearly inactive members with no online presence. Events were rare and there was no real form of communication outside of an out-of-date webpage. 

Since that time the club has expanded digitally, via Facebook, Instagram , YouTube and in-person with some pretty spectacular events! There are now about 100 active members at our events and over 800 in our digital space. I love to build relationships with other enthusiasts, and am proud to have helped build an Audi organization here in Kansas City that promotes the brand and the drivers who love their cars!

With the Kansas City chapter well on its way, it is now time to help the National Club grow to the next level.

Michael Majdalany, Audi Club Golden Gate

For the past 22 years, as a partner in a small association management company, I have been helping boards of membership-based associations with their governance, management, and operations. I have been a Certified Association Executive (through the American Society of Association Executives) for over 16 years, and have taken on roles from Executive Director to Board Officer.

I was also a volunteer/associate director for the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) for the past 15 years, serving during race weekends at what is now WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

It is now time for me to give back and bring that professional experience to my passion for outstanding cars. I have always been a fan of Audi and own more than 30 of them (OK, most are miniature models). I hope to bring the wealth of knowledge I have accumulated to help the Audi Club North America tackle the challenges the organization will face in the “new normal” that was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Member, Audi Club NA and Golden Gate Chapter since 2017
Audis owned (in reverse chronological order)
– 2018 Audi TT-RS
– 2000 Audi A4
– 1982 Audi Fox
and I drove my dad's Audis as a teenager:
– 1970 Audi 100 LS
– 1968 Audi 90

Melisa Wilcox, Audi Club Florida

It is an honor to accept the nomination to serve on Audi Club North America Board of Directors. If elected I hope to help in getting the Club to be financially responsible, grow membership in new and exciting ways and assist new chapters and regions get going and be self-maintained.

Being fairly new to the Club, I bring an unbiased opinion and a fresh set of eyes that might offer a different perspective. I have great organizational skills, love process improvement projects and finding ways to spark member interest. I have intense passion for driving that carries over to the Audi brand, the Club, and members.

My introduction to Audi was in 2018 with my husband Brad’s purchase of an Ibis White A4 Ultra after I suggested we go check out the fairly new Audi dealership in Pensacola. We started learning about the brand and the A4 was quickly replaced by a 2018 Mythos Black SQ5. We currently have the SQ5, my rare spec 2015 B8.5 RS 5, and a newly acquired mint 2005 B6 S4 Avant in our stable.

My Audi Club journey began after we found ACNA online and deciding to attend Quattro de Mayo for the first time in 2019 as our wedding anniversary trip. Locally, I had already formed a close relationship with many at the Audi dealership and started meeting like minded Audi enthusiasts in our area. The RS 5 fell victim to bad gas on our first day at QDM. Little did I know it ended up being a blessing in disguise as I was able to meet so many great people that were willing to help me on this journey that I probably would not of met otherwise.

After returning, having the blessing of ACFL President, the Emerald Coast Region – ACFL was reenergized and I hit the ground running. I organized 19 events from May to the end of 2019 including luncheons, local and regional cars and coffee attendance, fund raisers for charity, cruises, and events at the dealership like Car Clinic’s and an e-tron driving experience. I revamped our FaceBook page and went from 17 members to 248 with steadily growing membership, while keeping the page private and free of drama. I had no presence on social media before the Club and after attending ACNA National’s in October and speaking with members at the National level, I realized the value Instagram would have for our region and formed a group of contributors of our local active members. We got started in December of 2019 and currently have 338 followers with upticks daily.

During the week, I have served our community in the medical field for 17 years and have been at my current high paced family practice as a Clinical Manager for 14 of those. I’ve initiated and implemented many Process improvement initiatives including most recently implementing tele-health so we can care for our community safely during these trying COVID times.

I’ve attended every ACNA leadership call since becoming ECR lead and have immersed myself in learning everything I possibly can about the organization. I found out last ACNA election year that I was not able to vote because I am registered as a family member. I decided to become more involved at the National level and joined the Policy & Procedure Committee which I currently serve.

Our region is still going strong and I’m blessed to have such a great group of Audi enthusiasts locally and nationally that I consider to be the best Audi family anyone could ever ask for. I seek a seat on the BoD to serve and give back to those very members and the greater Club.