Michigan Turn Marshals Newsletter
Apr - Aug 2001

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State of the MTM Address

 I was asked to write a column that would represent sort of a “State of” MTM. Many members, and non-members, aren’t quite sure where we’re going with the organization. Last October a general meeting was called and a few of us showed up to map out a plan.

Many things have changed in the way we “do business” over the past 10 years and it was time to either put together some new direction or call it quits.

   First a quick history lesson on what we were. In the late 1960s the three racing regions in Michigan, Detroit, Saginaw Valley, and Western Michigan, could never come up with enough workers and equipment to safely operate their Flagging and Communication programs. So, it was decided to create an organization for the F&C workers that would organize the equipment and workers to help insure each region was covered when they hosted a race.   The organization grew quickly. First the majority of the member came from the West Side of the state. Then the Detroit Grand Prix came along and the East Side membership grew and surpassed the West Side. Then SCCA required F&C workers to be members at a time that the largest share of MTM members were not SCCA. The requirement of SCCA membership saw some members doing that, but many dropped out because of the costs. The number of active MTM members fell of in the 80’s and early 90’s. In the last few years the interest in F & C and MTM has begun to grow again. It is time for MTM to change to help cultivate that growth.

   At the meeting in October things were put into action that would help MTM encourage that growth.

To begin with, Debbie Martens volunteered to be our recruitment chairperson. This is an area that we really fell behind on in the 80’s and 90’s. Debbie has some great ideas on getting and keeping new members. With Debbie in the lead everyone should do their part to bring more people into world of F & C. If you have some ideas contact Debbie and let her know or just call her and ask how you can help her with recruitment.

   Growth is good, but one item that has been missing over the last few years has been formal training. We used to have an early spring training school. It would begin with a general membership meeting and follow with instructions for new members and updates for current members. Once and awhile we were able to even have a fire school as part of the training.  We changed our training to be part of the early drivers' school. This was good for new F & C workers, but those of us returning never got to refresh our minds or be updated on changes. We are working on a plan to change that. Vern Wandell has volunteered to coordinate a training program for MTM members. He will work with our local SCCA regions and help set up locations and cost sharing. The GCR requires formal training and fire schools so it’s in the works to make these schools happen. We can’t guarantee that you’ll see a school this spring, it takes a lot of coordination to get them done, but hopefully before the year is over we’ll have one and get on track to have one ready for early spring of 2002. The hope for MTM is that any school will be a good place for new and current members to learn and refresh and give us an opportunity to meet and maybe have a party. Please contact Verne if you ideas on training or can him put it together.



  When you join MTM your life time membership includes several “Trash & Trinket” items. I didn’t realize until our October meeting that several new members have never received these items. Tom Allen and Scott Whitehead have volunteered to correct that problem. The coordination of their efforts has been slow at getting going, but my hope is that this will be a problem of the past. Tom and Scott will also be the contacts for all member to update those decals, patches, T-shirts, etc. Tom said he’d like to add additional items to our current list of “Trash & Trinket”. If MTM is going to continue to grow we can all help by wearing our “colors” wherever we go. A lot of us have been looking to purchase more items, but like many things over the past few years, we didn’t really know whom to contact. I hope that Tom and Scott can expand their program and have “Trash & Trinket” items available for purchase through our newsletter and web site. By the way, Tom has also volunteered to be our Social Coordinator. So, if you have some good party ideas contact Tom.  

  We also made changes in how the future leadership of MTM will be structured.  I have just completed rewriting our bylaws to except those changes and I’m waiting for our Executive Committee to approve them. Two groups, the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors will govern MTM. The Executive Committee will be made up of the officers of MTM and an F & C representative from Detroit Region, Waterford Hills, and WMR. The Executive Committee will vote on and execute all policies of MTM. The Board of Directors will include the Executive Committee members plus a person appointed to the board by each racing organization that uses MTM’s services. The Board of Directors will advise the Executive Committee on the affairs of MTM and recommend policy and changes.  On the Executive Board there are four officers, President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary. For 2001 this office were filled with the members who have been holding them for a long time. These members agreed to continue for this year, but want to be replaced for the future. MTM will need to elect new officers this year. The new bylaws have made it so the election must be concluded by October 1st so that the new officers can start their 2-year term on November 1. Our hope is that they’re a several of you out there that would like to move into one of these positions or have someone you could nominate.  We will produce a ballot in the newsletter by August or September, so anyone interested please contact a member of the Board of Directors.

   All these changes will help Michigan Turn Marshals to continue to into the future promoting and improving the specialty of Flagging and Communications at motorsport events through out Michigan. Remember this is your organization and it takes everyone to make MTM a useful organization for all of us. Let’s all pitch in and help out by working with the members who have volunteered to head up our different departments. When you make your decision on what events to work this year look at MTM events first. When you travel show off those MTM “Colors”. When you need information or have questions on F & C, or racing in general, look to the members and resources of MTM. Think about running for one of the Executive Committee office this Fall. Just get yourself and others involved in this sport we all enjoy so much.


Let’s all have a safe and fun racing season.
See You at the Races!


Gordy “President” Ensing

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