This month we’re highlighting Amy Smith from the Sports Car Club of America’s (“SCCA”) Atlanta Region Solo program. Amy has been autocrossing since 2006 and took over the region’s Registrar duties in 2008. But the bulk of her day is spent surrounded by kindergarteners- she’s been teaching for 18 years! And with the little time she has left over, she enjoys gardening, hanging out with her family and travelling. We recently caught up with her to learn the secrets to running a successful program.
MSR: Amy, the Atlanta Region is a very active region of the SCCA. Please tell us what kinds of events you run and what makes your region unique.
Amy: We offer Autocross (“SOLO”), club racing, Track and Time Trials, and PDX. If you have ever been to one of our local events or even better, a National level SCCA event, you will know who the Atlanta Region people are. I frequently tell people who are considering trying autocross that the people in the Atlanta Region are some of the friendliest people around. We like to work hard, play hard, and all have a common thread: driving in parking lots! I take so much pride in our region because we don't see ourselves as an exclusive group where you must drive a certain type of car or have a particular career to be a part of us. Our events are 'come as you are and have a great time'. And the camaraderie doesn't end when the cones have been picked up or the trailer has left the site. We can easily be found hanging out together at a restaurant after atuocrossing is finished or even celebrating big life events like marriages and births of children.
MSR: What lessons have you learned about running successful events?
Amy: In the Atlanta Region, our events are not operated by just one or two people; Team SOLO makes it happen. We all have our jobs to do, and we work and plan together to make our events run smoothly. While I may have the most communication with our participants out of anyone on Team SOLO, I am just the messenger of information when it comes to how our events run. On actual event days, our Region Chair, Op and Safety Stewards, Timing/Scoring folks, On-site Registration team, Equipment managers, and Worker Chiefs all work together to make it happen. Every year we look back at the previous year and make any necessary changes to keep moving forward and keep our region one of the best.
MSR: With your busy schedule, why do you keep doing what you’re doing? What motivates you?
Amy: Sometimes the emails with questions and registration issues can seem never ending, but I am really passionate about making sure everyone gets an answer or knows what to do for each event. I truly believe in 'customer service'. Often I am the first contact people have when deciding to autocross for the first time. They may not see me face-to-face, but the information or assistance I provide can be the positive first impression they get from our region. The genuine appreciation I get from people after I have helped them set up an account on MotorsportReg.com (“MSR”) or even just change their number or class in the system is a great feeling. So many times, people with whom I have communicated via email will come up to me at the events and thank me in person. Just knowing that the small things I do reflect positively for our region motivates me to do this every year.
MSR: What kind of event promotion has been successful for you?
Amy: I feel our best event promotion happens through MSR. While we also use MailChimp, Youtube, and Facebook to get the word out about what's happening in the Atlanta Region, our best means of communication is through the email blast I use in MotorsportReg.com. We have so many people who travel to our events from out of state and with such a large database of participants, I know I am always reaching everyone who has ever autocrossed with us. It's very easy to send out a reminder a couple days before registration closes or notify people of any changes pertaining to the events.
MSR: Any favorite MotorsportReg.com features?
Amy: I really love the weekend membership function! In the old days, we made all SCCA non-members fill out the paper version of the weekend membership while at the event, then they had to be mailed to the National Office. Now that MSR has given us the capability to just send all of the info electronically, I am not making a trip to the post office after every event. Another great function is the ability to verify SCCA memberships. While we ask people to bring their cards to the event, active memberships can be verified online and people pay the appropriate registration fees. I also love being able to issue credits to folks who are unable to attend the events after signing up. We always ask people to cancel before we charge cards if they know they cannot attend but having the option to issue credits and be able to keep track of who has or hasn't used them is very nice.
MSR: Amy thanks so much for your time!
Amy: You’re welcome!To learn more about the SCCA Atlanta Region and how you can get involved, check out their website. You can also see them in action on their YouTube Channel. Or better yet, sign up for one of their upcoming autocrosses now open for registration and check out their new timing trailer donated by Haldast Home Services.