A group of concerned citizens from the automotive community filed paperwork in the State of Michigan to form, what one member said was: "An organization that will become a powerful force in the state to make the auto industry's history a revitalization tool for Michigan's communities."
Willis Dennis, Society President, a longtime employee of General Motors and a car history buff further explained: "Our history has the ability to draw tourism, attract customers - and even interest potential students toward becoming future technicians, workers and professionals in the auto industry."
Jeff Farber, Flint resident and Secretary of the Society, offered: "It has been proven here in Flint that the past achievements of the auto industry can be used to arouse curiosity, generate travel, and encouraged hobbyists to visit Flint. Last year, Our Back to the Bricks festival attracted over 25,000 participants and 250,000 spectators visited Flint."
"If it works in Flint, why not throughout the State?" Kurt Shubert, Society Vice President added; "I live in Ohio, and I am a car nut, but it is historical records and museum pieces that I come to Michigan to see. Auto history and Michigan are synonymous - you can't have one without the other."
Society President Dennis commented, "We feel that the auto industry's history can encourage tourism - and as such positively impact local business."
Jeff Farber added: "Except in some small instances, no one has seen that the industry's history is the lynchpin to many other revitalization projects - and worse, the industry itself has failed to capitalize on its history as the public relations tool many know it is."
Robert Gerometta, former Archivist of the City of New York and the Society's historical records consultant, explained: "There is a wealth of automotive historical information in the State - it may be one of its most significant resources, but attempts to save or preserve Michigan's automotive history, to date, have been either piecemeal, fragmented or too little too late. We intend to change that." The Society sees itself as a "global spokesperson" for the preservation of auto history - collecting the diverse voices and approaches under one roof.
The group would like to help coordinate and consolidate planning and approach to ensure that little "falls between the cracks" and that all concerned parties get the best "bang for the buck".
Mr. Dennis said: "Little effort has been made to weld together a public interest group that uses community revitalization and economic development, education, tourism, the auto historian and car enthusiasts into a positive force for the State."
Thus, the Society has begun work to build an organization made up of auto enthusiasts, historians, and educators that can not only assist the State's historians and the auto industry in policy-making, but develop projects, provide volunteers, assist in the acquisition grants money and help source in-kind donations.
People interested in supporting the Society should send an e-mail to email@example.com or call 517-974-5379. For more information, you may visit the Society's web site at www.ahpsoc.org.