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Terry Kiwala

President’s Message – Terry Kiwala

The Spirit of MBCA

As most of the country has been trudging through yet another miserable winter, I am happy to report that the spirit of the MBCA is doing anything but hibernating this winter. During the past few months, the leadership of our Sections has remained strong and many good things are in store for club members this summer.

In late January, I joined the Wichita Section for its annual planning meeting and saw, first-hand, the energy that the section’s board has with a commitment to engage many new members who are joining by way of MBCA’s partnership with Scholfield Motors, which provides a one-year club membership for every new Mercedes-Benz car buyer. All board members, led by Kirk Fibley, are enthusiastic, innovative and committed to fostering retention among new members by hosting a variety of events aimed at different membership interests. I had a wonderful time in Wichita. And because there was a blizzard in Chicago that Super Bowl Sunday, I didn’t have such a wonderful time leaving Wichita, but that’s another story.

At Amelia Island, a committed group of people showed their SLs at Cars & Coffee the day before the Concours d’Elegance. We were thrilled at the level of the cars’ preparation. Peter Lesler led the judging and did an amazing job of recognizing a variety of SLs for their uniqueness and excellence in presentation. I was honored to meet a leader in Mercedes-Benz performance, Sir Stirling Moss, at the event – talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

In late March, I traveled to San Diego to participate in the Southwest Regional’s Tequila Rose, a historic driving event in the desert. San Diego Section President Michael Cooper and his team were excellent hosts: Michael was constantly “on,” ensuring that MBCA members from the entire region had a good time. Steve and Carol Ross organized a day of driving events through the desert – no one got lost … well, not permanently lost. Carol and I gave each other a run for our money in the fun gymkhana; she ended up winning first place later that night. I also did the rallye with Walt Anderson and realized that this was the first time I had ridden in his SL without holding the door handle – white knuckled – for dear life. 

Between having fun with members, I’ve worked with many dedicated leaders behind the scenes on various MBCA events. Pamela Zelman and Peter Emslander, co-chairs of StarTech 2015 to be held in Cincinnati, are leading a wonderful group of organizers and putting the final touches on what promises to be an excellent enthusiast weekend scheduled June 12-14. With the right mix of technical, social and concours events, this national event promises to follow in the tradition of informative and enjoyable StarTechs. I guarantee you will learn from the speakers and see phenomenal examples of Mercedes-Benz heritage at the Ault Park Concours. Make sure you register for StarTech: I’ll see you there.

Mary Alice and Frank Cozza, together with Western Reserve Section President Jim Tullis are leading the charge for Gemütlichkeit 2015 events in Pittsburgh. This performance-driving and concours weekend – August 20-22 – will be a well-run and safe event that showcases the recently reopened and extended Pittsburgh International Race Complex. I will be there with my track tires and helmet, ready to run. Buy a raffle ticket: If you are lucky enough to win that AMG GT, you may get to run it on the raceway. You never know …

As the calendar fills up, I am excited to spend even more time with members this summer. In every area of the country, MBCA leaders are working tirelessly to make sure that you enjoy yourself as the weather warms. I hope you join us for the best MBCA summer yet.