- Bountiful Mazda in Bountiful, Utah, held its first annual Pinewood Derby event, inviting employees and their kids to build the little handmade racers and compete.
- The same local person who sets up Pinewood Derby events for the Boy Scouts ensured Bountiful Mazda's event followed all the same rules and parameters.
- Operations Manager M.J. MacDonald says it was so popular, next year's derby is expected to get 100 percent employee participation.
BOUNTIFUL, Utah — The 48-employee staff at Bountiful Mazda in this town just north of Salt Lake City had summer fun together that went beyond a traditional employee barbecue. On August 20, the dealership closed early and employees and their families participated in a Pinewood Derby event in the service department.
Of course, the owners did cook barbecue for everyone before the race started, adding to the fun.
A Pinewood Derby is an event in which homemade cars that follow specific size and component regulations can face off on a short track. It's usually associated with the Boy Scouts of America. The same local person who sets up the Boy Scouts' Pinewood Derby races also set up the track and ran the event for Bountiful Mazda.
M.J. MacDonald, operations manager, said the event started at the company's Orem, Utah, dealership, which has 45 employees and has been doing Pinewood Derbys for four years now. MacDonald told Edmunds it's meant to be "a complete summer event in appreciation of our employees."
Participation, he said, is "completely up to them," but he said the first event at the Bountiful dealership got 90 percent participation "and we expect 100 percent next year."
To participate, employees turn in a request to enter, and while most employees work alongside their children — or let the kids do their own — they can turn in their own personal car as well.
"You can definitely tell the ones the kids participated in making," MacDonald said.
His two-year-old twin girls entered a pair of Pinewood Derby racers, with the girls' participation limited to adding stickers because of their age — and playing with the cars, of course.
First, 2nd, and 3rd place and Best Design awards were issued, and a Facebook album was posted.
Nicole Johnson, the dealership's media director, took Best Design for her "Everything Is Awesome" car inspired by The Lego Movie.
First place was taken by advisor Sergio Perez for what MacDonald described as a Chevrolet Corvette-style design.
"It's good to spend time with everyone's families," said MacDonald, adding that the inclusion of children in a dealership event was a good way to increase the family feeling among the staffers.
Edmunds says: Happy employees mean happy customers.