Presidential Ramblings (April 2017)

As I flew into Calgary for the annual PCA Zone Six Presidents’ Meeting, the flight attendant handed out the Canadian customs declaration forms that we would need to submit to clear customs.  No problem, I thought, the calendars in my luggage should not be considered as contraband.  But then I came to where I had to check whether the purpose of my visit was business or if it was for pleasure.  After spending a few minutes thinking about the more philosophical aspects of whether a policy meeting about a subject that you enjoyed would best be considered as a business meeting or as pleasurable, and having heard that checking business if you are coming to the US can lead to some serious complications, I checked pleasure and promptly forgot about the form.

Calgary airport is a large and very modern facility that was built to handle the large influx of international visitors for the 1988 Winter Olympics.  After picking up my bag in the mammoth customs hall, I began my exit through customs, approaching a young man in a blue customs uniform who asked me for my customs form.  After a moment looking at my form, he asked:  “How long will you be in Canada?”

I responded: ”Three days, I am returning to the US on Sunday.”

He then asked:  “Are you here for pleasure or for business?”

To which I responded:  “For pleasure.”

And then he asked:  “What are you going to be doing in Calgary?”

I tried to explain to him that I was the president of a Porsche club in the Northwest, and that we were meeting in Calgary.

Sounding a bit irritated, he asked:  “But what are you going to be doing at this meeting?”

I responded:  “We meet once each year to discuss common policies and new procedures from the larger PCA organization.”

Unsmilingly he said:  “That sounds like business!”

Becoming rather exasperated by this time I said:  “Look, I am a volunteer and I don’t get paid anything for being the club president!  It takes a lot of time, but it is not a business to me.”

To which he finally smiled and said:  “Well, I guess that means it’s a pleasure trip, you can go now.”

My steps became lighter as I passed out of the customs hall and into the brisk late winter of Alberta, and headed for the hotel, where I had a pleasant surprise — the exchange rate — $.75US = $1.00CAN.  Plan a Canadian vacation today.

The tradition at the annual presidents’ meeting is to meet informally the afternoon and evening of the Friday preceding the meetings, and the Wild Rose region had great plans for us.   Porsche Centre Calgary had opened a new 70,000 s.f. facility only a week earlier, and closed early on Friday so that they could tour us through all phases of their operations. Since our dealership will be opening a similarly designed facility later in April, I took a few photos to give an idea of the flavor of the new design.

Up close and personal with a 919 as you come through the front door

I took this photo because the sales person had an uncanny resemblance to Jim Heinrich!

For Mike Simmons – Two track cars in for work.  The one on the right had been sideswiped on the street and was having the damage assessed.  Left shock mount displaced by 2mm and estimate already up to $150kCAN!  Note the ceramic tile floor.

Porsche Centre Calgary markets throughout a very large area.  This is a special photo stage that is being completed to facilitate the assembly of photo packages for each car in inventory.  The gray circle is a platform that rotates on ball bearings, allowing a car to be placed once, the rotated through 360 degrees to obtain optimum photo angles.  For the technically inclined all of the junctures between walls are being coved to limit reflections.  Note Tim Hagner giving some scale to the room.

Moving on to the presidents’ meeting, which was held on Saturday morning, we had a very full agenda.  Much that was covered had to do with PCA operational processes and details, but there were also lots of opportunities, both in the context of the meeting and in informal networking, to discuss common issues with other presidents.  I found that HDR has much to be proud of and among the items that spring to mind are:

Tours/drives.  PCA will be issuing a set of rules for Tours very soon.  All driving other than closed course falls under the tour category, and we reviewed the draft rules, which are quite comprehensive.  I could have sworn that Bob Stark was on the committee as he anticipated over 95% of the material in his development of rules and policies for HDR.  We will have very few issues in adapting to the new rules.

Four-Door Membership.  Most regions in PCA are having difficulty attracting owners of Cayennes, Macans and Panameras to membership in PCA.  In our case, Porsche of Bend has graciously had a policy of signing up every purchaser of a Porsche and paying the dues for the first year of membership in PCA, which is not the standard in all regions.  We seem to be unique, however, in our efforts to include the four-door cars in all of our activities.  Those of us who have Cayennes and Macans already realize that these automobiles perform in the best tradition of Porsche and, with the new Panamera Hybrid going from 0-60mph in less than 3 seconds, what’s not to like!

Charitable Activity.  Most of the Zone 6 regions were interested in our PCA award for charitable work, and I was happy to brag about our membership and its willingness to spread goodwill through our communities.  The regions were intrigued by the idea that our efforts were grass roots affairs driven by the membership and that such activities needed to be responses to need, rather than more formal approaches, in order to insure that the region not dilute its primary role as a “car club”.  I noted that we raised most of our funds in conjunction with our annual holiday party where we gather to celebrate the year’s activities and present awards to the members who have been instrumental in our progress.

Note that the six eastern regions in Zone Six have been spun off into a new Zone Fourteen.  The change was made by the PCA Board recently and affects primarily the ease with which the Zone Reps can conduct their business within the Zones.

Parade.  The National Tour Chairman for PCA discussed the upcoming Parade, increasing everyone’s excitement for the event.  We had two special guests from Alaska at the meeting, Mike and Teri Holtzclaw.  Other than being a very engaging down to earth couple, the Holtzclaws have been the distance award winners for the last eight parades in their 1985 911 Carerra Coupe known fondly in “Parade circles” as the blue tape special.