|By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, July 14, 2001 - 10:20 am: Edit Post|
Question 4 -- Do we need a new CEO?: Who is Nick Craw and what does he do?
Question 4 -- Do we need a new CEO?: Who is Nick Craw and what does he do?
Question 4 -- Do we need a new CEO?: Who is Nick Craw and what does he do?
Questions & Answers
As a Director, Pete gets asked some pretty specific questions of interest only to individual members. But Pete also gets a number of general questions that are probably on the minds of a much larger percentage of the membership. In the past, Pete's answers have only gone to the people who asked the questions. From now on, Pete intends to make the responses to the most pertinent questions more available to the membership here on his website along with emailing them to the Area 4 Editors and Regional Executives.
Question 1 -- SCCA's New CEO:
Where did SCCA's newly selected CEO come from and how was he selected by the Board of Directors?
The process to select a new President and CEO of SCCA was begun long before my recent election to the BoD. The Board began nearly two years ago by forming a Search Committee that consisted of Chuck Shapiro, Roger Eandi, and Dan Sherrod who were all on the BoD at that time. This committee worked with an executive search firm to solicit and evaluate candidates. Based on criteria that they developed and reviewed with last year's Board, the Search Committee narrowed the field to a handful of candidates who were presented to this year's Board in May. As a new Director, that was the first time that I really became involved in the process. At the May BoD meeting the candidates were ranked pending background checks and contract discussions. Since that time there have been many serious discussions held between the Directors regarding what we needed in a CEO and who could best provide it. As with any discussion of this magnitude, there were a variety of opinions, viewpoints and concerns expressed by different Directors. Ultimately the Board voted to offer an employment contract to Mr. Steve Johnson.
Steve Johnson was most recently a Vice President for the National Hot Rod Association. This gave him exposure to the only other US sanctioning body that is primarily member based, with both amateur and professional arms. Prior to that he was involved in various facets of management and marketing for several major firms.
Each of the twelve Directors formed their own opinions regarding the important aspects of the job and how they should best be met. The only thing we agreed completely on was that once the man for the job was selected, we were all going to do our utmost to help him in his new job. Now 55,000 members get to form and express their opinions. That in itself should be an interesting introduction to the SCCA for Mr. Johnson. However, he vows that he is up for the challenge and excited about moving into the job. I urge you all to do as I plan to do. Offer him a warm welcome, and get him off to a good start in this job that is so important to all of us.
Question 2 -- SCCA Bylaws:
What are the merits of the proposed bylaws change which the membership has been asked to vote on?
Most of what is proposed in the new bylaws revision is merely a clean up of things which are out of date. Our operations have changed somewhat in the past few years and most of the changes just bring our bylaws into line with the direction our club operation is headed.
The one substantive change involves the creation of two new Areas to give increased representation to the Southeast and Northern Pacific divisions. The under representation of these portions of the country was an issue during my previous time on the BoD (1991-1996). Several redistricting proposals were initiated during those years but none got past the BoD to become a ballot to the membership. This proposal makes the needed changes without any impact to Central Division, which was a point of contention in several earlier plans.
I support the new bylaws and urge you to vote for them.
Question 3 -- Club Overhead Expenses:
I was just reading over some material where you said you had never found anything that could be considered dishonest or duplicitous in the managing of SCCA's finances. That is, the allegations that often surface that the "books were cooked" were groundless. As a statement of the legality of the bookkeeping, and even of the current practice being an accepted and proper one, I agree and accept that. But in my view, the "books are cooked" in this manner: When expenses such as the overhead for operating the SCCA headquarters are divided among the various club activities according to the percentages of checkmarks on membership renewal forms, this is cooking the books. If X% of the membership checks "Solo II" and Y% of the membership checks "road racing" and then X% of the mortgage payment or the light bill or the water bill or the cost of a new roof or whatever is allocated to Solo and Y% is allocated to Club Racing, that is cooking the books. Likewise, Mr. Craw's salary should be an Administration expense, not to be borne Y% by Club Racing and X% by Solo, etc. Neither Solo nor Racing, nor any other club activity really has any control over those expenses. And when we get year-end reports that Solo is losing money and autocrossers, who have some concept of what the expenses of their sport are, hear such statements, they are just not credible.
I have a couple of problems with your question. First off, as long as the public uses the term "cooked the books" to imply that illegal, immoral, or inappropriate practices have been followed, then I will continue to take offense to the use of that term with regards to the SCCA books. While I may disagree with decisions that have been made regarding SCCA finances, I have never found any indication of impropriety.
Secondly, every organization has to have some formula for allocating overhead expenses. My company has one formula, my wife's has another, my church has yet another. But in all cases, the overhead expenses of the organization are expensed to individual activities within the organization. If the Solo Department did not exist, their floor space and office equipment would not have to exist. We would not pay rent for the floor space, we would not have to own and maintain the equipment, and we would not have to pay to keep the lights on in that part of the building. Since they do exist, we have to pay for those things. To say that they should not be charged back to the department makes little sense to me.
We could debate the formula. Currently the overhead is distributed on the basis of participation as determined by the check-off boxes you mentioned. This assumes that our activities are distributed roughly along the percentages that our members wish to be involved in them. Not completely accurate, but not an unreasonable formula. Frankly, it is not that different than the one my company uses. On the other hand, my wife's company distributes overhead on the basis of head count per department. Again, not perfectly accurate, but not an unreasonable formula either. If there was one clear cut obvious formula for such distribution, everyone would use it. There isn't, so different companies use different formulas. But they all have to distribute those overhead expenses somehow.
As for Nick Craw, his salary is not allocated as overhead to the departments. Neither is the financial VP and part of the clerical staff. They appear as expenses in the Administration Department. When you look at the SCCA financial summary, you will see that Administration has it's own income and expenses. The income includes things like royalties and interest, which come to the organization as a whole, not to individual departments. Likewise the Administration expenses include the salaries of those I just mentioned. Therefore, these salaries are not buried in the individual departments, as you seem to imply, and as such, do not affect the bottom line of those departmental activities.
Question 4 -- Do we need a new CEO?:
Who is Nick Craw and what does he do? Is his salary reasonable? I'm not of the mind that just because Nick leaves he should be replaced at all. We have people hired to run separate divisions why do we need a duplication of effort? I guess I want to know if a CEO is really necessary?
Who is Nick Craw? A very successful racer, first in SCCA Formula B, then (after SCCA black-flagged him out of a potential Runoffs win) in IMSA with the Miller-Norburn BMW team in the RS sedan series. Professionally he worked in Washington D.C a lot with the most recognizable position being at the head of the Peace Corps for a number of years. Since being SCCA President, he has been head of the National Motorsports Council which involves all major US sanctioning bodies, and he has developed a significant relationship with the movers and shakers, notably Andrew Craig (CART), the France Family, Don Panoz, etc.
What does he do? What does any corporate CEO do? He coordinates the various activities of the organization (Club Racing, Rally/Solo, Financial, Administrative, Enterprises, Pro Racing, SCCA Foundation, ACCUS participation, National Motorsports Council participation, SportsCar magazine, etc.) at a fairly high level. Perhaps it does not appear he does much because the lower level staff members do most of the work that is seen at the grass roots. By comparison, the President of my company is not frequently seen by the first couple levels of staff, or the corresponding lower levels of customer staff, or for that matter by the stockholders. Nonetheless, he works with the upper levels of customer management and vendor management, with the union, and with the executive team that oversees corporate strategy. I never see him working. But that doesn't mean he isn't. Nor does it mean that the company could get by with no one in that position. To consider that any company including SCCA could function effectively with no one in the lead role strikes me as not very well thought out.
Having served six years on the BoD in the past, I would say that there is no way I would consider running the club without a President, and a strong one at that. If we tried to manage this club with merely a string of subordinate players and the volunteer BoD (all of whom have real jobs elsewhere) attempting to coordinate, we would be begging for disaster.
Nick Craw's salary is a matter of public record as is required by law for the major officers of an IRS registered not-for-profit organization. In fact, it was much tossed about three years ago during his last contract negotiation by a group who wanted him canned and someone hired for 1/4 the money. A consultant firm was hired to compare salaries, and they came back saying that for the skill set required and compared to other sanctioning bodies and also other organizations of our size, he was not overpaid. I do not have a copy of his current contract in hand (it was signed while I was off the BoD). But I understand he had a personal conversation from home one evening with one of our Area 4 members who inquired. And the summary of the conversation is supposedly posted on the Production Car web page.
Question 5 -- Petitions versus Letters:
I would like you to look into an issue that concerns many of us. It has been the policy of the Competition Board to treat petitions and duplicated letters, no matter how many people support the principal expressed therein, as if it were only one "vote" on the matter. I am asking you in your capacity as a member of the Board of Directors to make it the unquestioned policy of SCCA to count each member signature individually.
When I was on the BoD before, there was no standard policy that said how a petition would be handled relative to an individual letter. Some Directors clearly did not put as much weight on petitions. My personal approach was to value a petition on the magnitude of support it represented, but to value a letter on the well reasoned content it presented. But with no standard policy, it was up to Directors to do what they felt best.
I checked with the current BoD and Competition Board, and it was confirmed that there still is no set policy either place. Each board member handles such petitions as they see fit. Frankly, given the strong willed personalities of many of the people involved, a policy would probably have no effect. The individual board members would continue to treat things in the way they personally felt was most appropriate just as they did when I served before.
Question 6 -- Fuel Testing:
Does the new fuel testing policy mean that I have to run race gas in my car, even if my engine is low compression and doesnít need it? This is going to raise my costs quite a bit.
This issue really came along before I rejoined the BoD. Iíve talked to the members of the BoD and Competition Board. It appears that forcing everyone in the pure race classes to run race fuel is one of the unfortunate consequences of having a fuel rule with integrity and one that disposes of the problems which have been found rampant in some classes. If use of pump fuel is continued in those classes, the use of illegal and potentially harmful fuel additives is free to continue. Pump fuel provides a "mask" for most of the truly bad compounds that we are trying to eliminate for both health and competition reasons.
Question 7 -- Club Racing Insurance:
I didnít understand your explanation of the change in the club racing insurance "cap" in your last Directorís Desk. Could you explain it?
People who have organized races will recognize the cap and subsidy issues I referred to. Sorry it wasn't clear to you. Every race pays an insurance premium. Previously, the premium was a per car fee except that there was a cap (i.e., a maximum). This essentially meant that if you had more cars than the cap, you didn't pay any insurance premium on them. This benefited the larger races (those with more cars than the cap) at the expense of the smaller races. Essentially, the smaller races subsidized the larger ones on insurance cost. This will no longer be true.
|By J. Dean (126.96.36.199) on Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 6:19 pm: Edit Post|
Please I am trying to locate KRISTIN NORSTAD - we were friends in Fontainebleau, France in the 50's. I realize Mr. Craw has remarried several times BUT if he could help me locate Kristin I'd sure appreciate this. Thanks in advance. J Dean
|By J. Dean (188.8.131.52) on Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 6:26 pm: Edit Post|
Nick Craw - I do not know you but at one time you married Kristin Norstad - that was a long time ago I realize. If today you can recall any way I would have to get ahold of her I'd sure appreciate this...my father was Air Force with NATO as well and Kristin & I were friends during this time...spent Xmas am with Gen Eisenhower & Mamie in Lauris Norstad's home that am...so I am not just some nut - there is history. She was at my 13th B-Day party!!! Any info surely appreciated. Thank you
|By J. Dean (184.108.40.206) on Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 6:36 pm: Edit Post|
I am aware of SCCA racing but actually a member of the Southern California Timing Association - as you might realize this is a long standing amateur assoc. Trophies only. When Kristin & I were friends we were more into "horses" when we were younger. I realize you are older now as we all are - but for me to bring back some fun memories in France is a plus. So help as you can. I sure would appreciate your efforts Mr. Craw. Thanks