October 19, 2014
Washburn native’s talent in sales and marketing net him a unique career.
Over the next several months I will attempt to tell the stories of several talented individuals from Northern Maine who have made there mark in the motorsports industry despite their up bringing in the “remote” part of Maine. One such individual is Steve Doody from Washburn.
Doody grew up in the small town in Aroostook County better known for its winning high school basketball, soccer, and cross-country teams and potatoes. The little town of 1000 or so residents is not known as the hot bed of racing.
As a young man Doody considered himself a racing fan known for his salesmanship and pleasant manner. He followed the racing at Spud Speedway from the front of the pack serving as the pace car driver in the early 70’s. His favorite drivers were the Mars Hill bunch, Dick Wheeler in the Snoopy car, Eddie Gilman in the Red Baron car and future Maine Motorsports Hall of Fame member, Bobby Alexander.
The son of George and Velva Doody of Washburn. Doody graduated from Washburn District High School in 1969 and headed off to the University of Maine at Orono where he got his Biology degree in the College of Agriculture and Life Science.
After graduating with his B.S. degree in 1973, Doody decided to pursue a career in sales and marketing with Agway. This desire was fueled by summers between years at college spent in retail sales at the Maine Potato Growers (MPG) Farmstore in Presque Isle.
His job title at the Skowhegan Agway was manager trainee. The time in Skowhegan was very beneficial to his career and his personal life when he met his wife-to-be Rebecca McElrath of Skowhegan.
In 1974 he transferred to the Brewer Agway as the Assistant Manager. When a transfer to the Westbrook store was in the works Doody married Becky in July of 1976.
After 4 years in Westbrook, Doody served one year back in Skowhegan before being asked to manage the Caribou Agway store and return to the County. He managed the Caribou store until 1992 when he took over the helm at the MPG Farmstore in 1992 to 2003.
While at MPG he made several inquires about the utilization of the Texaco Havoline mobile display race car as well as making contacts at various conventions and trade shows. Sponsorship by True Value hardware in the International Race of Champions (IROC) series placed him at several events where he rubbed shoulders with drivers and marketing personnel. At one event he mentioned to the Mobile Display manager that, “When I retire I would like to get a job taking this IROC car around”.
Wouldn’t you know it a couple of years later in 2004 he got a phone call from TSMGI Marketing to act as their Mobile Display manager for the #17 Matt Kenseth USG race car. This would involve 9 months of travel to customer focused events at dealer’s lots for their top-notch customers. Doody’s favorite visits were to the plants where sheetrock was produced as well as the gypsum mines in Iowa.
Since USG was the title sponsor at Chicagoland and Charlotte Motor Speedway Doody was responsible for explaining the car and the USG products to race fans as well as posing for and taking photos of countless Kenseth Fans.
Doody also did pit tours at Charlotte as well “meet and greets” at Bristol. At Texas Speedway he brought the USG VIP contest winners on pit tours as well as meeting with Kenseth.
Doody was with the USG mobile display from 2004 to 2008. When the housing market fell apart in 2008 USG pulled in the reins on marketing connections with Roush and TSMGI Marketing. Doody took a Mobile Marketing job with Pierce Promotions in Portland, Maine with the Roush DeWalt car. The display unit included the myriad variety of products produced and sold by DeWalt.
The mobile units were actual race cars fabricated at the Roush race shop in Concord, North Carolina. The cars were either obsolete or damaged and no longer competitive in the Sprint Cup series. A detuned engine was installed and a sponsor wrap made to current sponsor specifications was featured on the car. Doody would pick up his mobile display car at the Roush shops as he and the car began their nine month journey together.
The 2010 and 2011 season found Doody again working for TSMGI Marketing representing USG Sheetrock only with out the racecar. He was in charge of mobile displays of USG lightweight synthetic gypsum products primarily visiting Home Depot stores.
In 2012 Doody came back home to become a department manager of hardware at the Presque Isle Lowe’s until he once again got the call to go on the road, only this time in the Indy Car side of mobile displays. Marketing Werks of Chicago wanted Doody to be their Mobile Marketing Manager on the Verizon Penske,Dallara Indy Car driven by Will Power.
Verizon had also signed on as the title sponsor with Indy Car Series in addition to their sponsorship of the #2 Penske Racing Dallara DW 12 Chevrolet. Power went on to win the series championship. As the series champion Power has the right to wear #1 on his race car in 2015 which he will do.
What does a typical day look like for a Mobile Marketing Manager with the Verizon Penske show car? “When we do a typical race track we have to be there at 6:00 in the morning to get everything in place. We get our tent set up and be ready before 8:00” said Doody. “Fan Village opened about eight in the morning so we start working at eight. Fan Village stays open until five at night.”
“If it was the last day for Fan Village after the race you had to tear everything down and go find your trailer which was parked a couple of miles away. You would bring that in, load everything into the trailer and get out of there and move on to the next city.”
“Race weekends were long days. A typical non-race event would be nine-to-four. Race days were much longer. You had so many people who wanted to get through the area.”
Doody was asked about his career and how he got started. “I always liked motorsports whether it was helping to race snowmobiles on a frozen lake up in Canada when I was younger”, said Doody looking back in time. “It kinda developed from there.”
“It was meeting the right people and having them get comfortable with who you are as a person and what you are capable of doing for them. Once you got the job for a year or two, your name got out there so you were a know quantity.”
He continued saying, “The biggest thing was dependability. They were looking for good people since these tours were six to nine months you have got to commit to that time period. You may be home once or twice during that time period…maybe not. You need to have the commitment to see the job through.”
His thoughts about Indy Car Series champion Will Power, “He is a great guy. He is a very quiet guy. Similar to what Matt (Kenseth) was. He speaks on the race track. He is not a polished speaker like team-mate Helio Casroneves.”
“He is not as good a dancer as Helio but he does play a mean set of drums. At a stop in Chicago we were waiting and Will went over and started playing the drums which kind of surprised everyone since many did not know he possessed that talent.”
When asked what next year 2015 holds Doody said,” That is undetermined right now. There are more options coming up next year than last year. The grandkids are getting a little older and are nice to be around. It is kind of double-edged sword as to whether they are going to let me go another year or not. In February we will start making decisions.”
No matter what the decisions Steve Doody has truly a unique job that he loves where he can make a living in motorsports yet still maintain his home in Northern Maine.
Let Go Racing!
Soli Deo Gloria