James Watkins - Treasurer
My fellow MMers,

For those of you who do not know me or have not met me, I’ll start off with just a bit about myself. My name is James Watkins and I am 22 years old. As many navy brats do, I grew up in the 757 (Chesapeake, Virginia for those of you who know where that is). At JMU, I am an engineering major with a minor in music. Next year will be my fifth year in Harrisonburg, and my fourth with Madison Motorsports.

My initial interest in cars was kicked off in high school after my parents helped me buy my first car, a shitty 99 Eclipse (non-turbo). I knew nothing about cars at this time and wanted it because it looked cool. But I took pride in taking it from the busted up piece it started as to the decently nice car it was when I sold it (two engine changes and one trans swap later, DSM lyfe yo!) Last summer, inspired by MM members and alumni to become more active in motorsports, I picked up my 99 Miata, which I have been actively driving the wheels off of since.

I joined MM in my sophomore year, and have been an active member for the last three years. I have been a part of most of what we have offered, going to track days, karting, attending meetings, club dinners, being active on the group chat (and forums to a lesser extent, mostly creepin :wink: ), helping with the car show, driving in autocross, and even setting up a cruise or two. This club has succeeded in doing exactly what it says on the box and gotten me involved in and excited about motorsports, by offering me opportunities that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. As a bonus, I’ve made some awesome friends along the way with both students and alumni. I want to give back for all the good MM has done for me, and to help this club continue to succeed in its mission, which is why I am running for the office of treasurer!

The last year has been my favorite as part of MM. I think that we did a whole lot of things right, and this next year we will be even better as we continue to refine what has been done. As always, there are still some problem areas we face as a club, and the one I am going to emphasize here is member retention and participation. I think that a possible underlying cause of this issue may be the fact that we students are just not a very close group of friends as a whole. We have parties and cruises maybe once a month as essentially our only (club supplied) opportunity to hang out outside of a classroom or a big event like karting. If the club can provide more opportunities for members to have time to connect with each other, it may improve member retention and participation. To do this, we don’t need more big events or parties, but more casual hang-outs/wrench days/club dinners (heck, maybe even some ice breakers), particularly early in the semester to get new members connected while they are still exploring various clubs and deciding what they want to stay invested in. If we can improve our cohesiveness as a club, perhaps people will look forward to things like spending a weekend at the track with a bunch of their close friends.

Another issue that has been nagging me is how the club has gone about conflict resolution, particularly with alumni. From what I have seen there tends to be a lot of unnecessary hostility thrown around when officer decisions conflict with alumni opinions. Now I know that both sides of these issues do not hold grudges due to these exchanges, and I am definitely not trying to cast blame anywhere, but there are much more constructive ways to re-frame these conflicts and learn from them, rather than having back and forth banter. I hope that I might play a role in facilitating these exchanges to make life easier and threads shorter for everyone. (There may be some other factors at play here, but that's an issue for another time)

As treasurer, my main responsibilities will be with managing the club’s money, and all that comes along with that. I have experience with this as I manage my engineering capstone team’s rather large grant. I will also have the responsibility to be on top of apparel, karting, and all other club expenses. I can guarantee that those tasks will be dealt with promptly and efficiently. I don’t really know what else to say about this besides that I won’t let the club go broke! :thumbup:

Thanks for reading, and officer or not, I look forward to my last year as a student with Madison Motorsports, it’s going to be a great one.

James Watkins
So, how would you like to bring students together for an evening? Any ideas for an ice breaker yet?

I like that you're already a track person. I'd say that's valuable, we know you'll come so that's at least one officer which is good. You can be a familiar face for students. Any ideas how to bring some more students to the track regularly? Even autox?
2013 Honda Fit, 1991 Mazda Miata, Princess Blanca, Mystery, 1993 Volvo 940 - sold, 2003 Mazda Protoge5 - carmax'd, 1996 BMW 328is - sold, 1996 Honda Accord - sold
So with the issues we have with participation, a large part of it comes down to trying to make sure that people really feel like a part of the club, and that means hitting the social side of things pretty hard early in the fall semester. Motorsports is what brings us all together in the first place, but its the friendships formed that are going to keep new members invested. I think the reason a lot of people don't go to the track is that they would be going for a full weekend with people they do not know well. My first trip to the track was just like that and it was pretty nerve racking. In the end, I was glad I did it, but putting myself out there for the opportunity was difficult.

As far as specifics go for an ice breaker or method for bringing students together for an evening, I won't say that I've fully thought through those plans, because, well, I haven't. :dunno: I'm not too concerned with making specific plans now that would just change come fall, so those are just ideas that could be fully fleshed out between the officers closer to the date.
I love everything about this. What is your class load like next year? If you have the money, you need to be flexible and able to drop everything to go write a check or pick up shirts from Moxie.

Also, how willing would you be to have an online google doc spreadsheet for the officers to be aware of how much money we have at any given time?

What are your plans for the apparel order. This year it was a great order, but the timing was off. Any remedy for this situation?

If elected, will you let me have your Miata? If so, how many votes should I stuff in the box?
2011 F150 Platinum | 1995 BMW 325i 1983 BMW 320i  The MMoped | 2008 BMW 128i
1996 Toyota Tacoma: | 1992 Mazda Miata | 2002 BMW 325i |
2003 Toyota Tacoma | 1995 Miata M Edition | 1997 Subaru Outback |
1992 Mazda Miata | 1990 BMW 325i  | 2007 Toyota 4Runner | 
1995 Ford Windstar 1987 BMW 325i | 1987 BMW 325 | 1990 BMW 325i Vert |
2018 VW GTI | 1990 Mazda Miata | 
1989 BMW 325i Vert 2015 Fiesta ST | 1983 BMW 320i parts car
Class load is relatively light, 15 credits. Shouldn't be an issue.

Google Sheet would be simple enough to set up and maintain.

For the apparel order, I would most definitely move it up the timeline. I would like people to be placing orders at meetings and on the forums as early as the first few weeks of November so that there is ample time to ensure everyone has ordered what they want. I would then place the order over winter break (I normally don't leave right away and come back early from break, so it wouldn't be an issue) so that it comes in during the first few weeks we are back in January and is ready to dish out to eager, cold MMers.

As a thought, there's also the possibility of adding a second order that would happen over spring break for a different shirt design or anyone having regrets over missing the first one. :thumbup:

Sure thing, it will be 10,000 votes and they all have to be $1 bills :mrgreen:
Senor_Taylor Wrote:Also, how willing would you be to have an online google doc spreadsheet for the officers to be aware of how much money we have at any given time?
This, please. It is long overdue. Also, please reach out to the alumni for donations - it has been done in the past with great success.
Why do people just post what they are thinking? Without thinking.

2012 Ford Mustang
1995 BMW 540i/A
1990 Eagle Talon TSI AWD
ViPER1313 Wrote:
Senor_Taylor Wrote:Also, how willing would you be to have an online google doc spreadsheet for the officers to be aware of how much money we have at any given time?
This, please. It is long overdue. Also, please reach out to the alumni for donations - it has been done in the past with great success.

Honestly I'm surprised that it hasn't already been done. Not a very hard thing to do and it would be a great aid to communication between the officers to make sure everyone is on the same page. Donations sound like a great idea as well, we've got a forum and a paypal so why not make use of them :thumbup: Maybe we could look at putting together some sort of recognition system for alumni who donate.

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