MPG kicks off 2015 with Town Hall Meeting at The Proud Bird

Q&A Session at February Town Hall MeetingTuesday, February 24, 2015 — The Motor Press Guild held a Town Hall Meeting at the Proud Bird Restaurant and approximately 70 MPG members were in attendance. President Jason Fogelson delivered his “State of the MPG” address, and the Board of Directors shared plans for 2015 and beyond. A spirited Q&A session followed the presentation, and members were invited to sign up for committee and other volunteering opportunities after the meeting.

Jim Dvorak from Mothers Polishes and Waxes generously provided gift buckets full of cleaning supplies as raffle prizes, and each table had a Mothers centerpiece of samples, which were also given away. Ford supplied some Ford Focus hats, which were handed out to members at random during the meeting, along with Track Days polo shirts and MPG lanyards.

In addition to Fogelson, MPG Board members Shad Balch, Aaron Gold, Joni Gray, Darryll Harrison, Deb Pollack, Brandy Schaffels and Doug Stokes sat in front of the room and fielded questions from the members. Board members Russell Datz, Michael Harley and Chris Woodyard were unable to attend due to conflicting professional commitments.  Staff members Pete Evanow (Media Guide Editor and Business Operations Manager) and Carrie Kim (Web/Communications Manager) were both introduced.

Jason Fogelson gives the "State of the MPG" Presidential AddressFogelson’s address recapped the MPG’s 2014, and addressed the goals of 2015. Three goals were specifically addressed:

  • A complete redesign and relaunch of the MPG website and member interface.
  • The launch of educational programming, and the reclassification of the MPG as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
  • Coordinated fundraising effort for all events and programming, rather than piecemeal (event-by-event) efforts.

MPG Treasurer Darryll Harrison then gave a brief outline of the MPG’s financial standing. The organization ran at a deficit in 2014, with a planned dip into cash reserves covering the loss. The budget for 2015 is still in process, with a goal of flat cash flow (no surplus/no deficit) for the year. The MPG budget and financial statements will be available for inspection on the new website.

A review of MPG events followed. Aaron Gold, Chairman of the Droptops & Dirt Committee, reported on planning for 2015. Fogelson reported on the MPG Invitational, the event at the LA Auto Show. Track Days Committee Chairman Russell Datz was not present, so Fogelson gave a brief recap of 2014 and stated that 2015 is subject to review. Dean Batchelor Award Banquet Chair Joni Gray reported on the 2014 event, and discussed our plan to return to the Petersen Automotive Museum for our 2015 event, pending the completion of the museum’s renovation.

Committee chairs and staff each gave a report, where applicable.

  • Michael Harley, MPG’s Vice-President and Chairman of the Membership Committee, was not present, so Fogelson gave a brief account of Membership’s close examination of applicants’ qualifications.
  • Joni Gray gave a preview of upcoming events planned by the Speakers Committee. Dean Case was introduced as the Chair of the Special Events Committee.
  • Gray gave a report for the Education Committee, a new committee designed to pursue the goal of implementing an educational program for aspiring automotive journalists.
  • Gray also gave a report on behalf of the Web/Communications Committee, with a brief rundown on the new website. Three bids were received for the creation of a new website, and the Board has accepted a bid and negotiated a contract with the winning bidder. Work has begun on the new website, which should be in beta within two months.
  • The MPG doesn’t currently have a Publicity Committee Chair, a vacancy that must be addressed quickly.
    The MPG Vice President has traditionally chaired the Elections Committee, but there hasn’t been an assignment (or need) yet.
  • Fogelson gave a report for the Dean Batchelor Awards Judging Committee. Last year’s expansion of categories will be reexamined again this year, and further refined.
  • Evanow gave his report on the Media Guide from 2014/15 and the new Media Guide for 2015/16. Deadline for members information changes to be incorporated into the book is March 31, 2015, the same date as the ad deadline. Honda will cover the new book printing, and another manufacturer is on the verge of committing to paying for postage. The 2015/16 MPG Media Guide will be in the mail in June 2015.

Board Members field questions at February Town Hall MeetingFrom L-R: Board Members Doug Stokes, Aaron Gold, Berandy Schaffels, Darryll Harrison, Joni Gray, Shad Balch.

After the reports and a brief wrap up, the floor was open to member questions. Questions and comments covered Track Days, Dean Batchelor Awards Judging, job placement and mediation, among other topics. Before the Q&A was over, the Mothers raffle winners were selected, and table centerpieces were also awarded.

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