The National Corvette Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of its board officers for the 2024-2026 term. These board members are essential to the success of the organization and help to lead the overall mission and vision of the Museum.
According to Sharon Brawner, President and CEO of the National Corvette Museum, “Our board has been instrumental in setting the direction of the Museum and ensuring our continued success,” explained Sharon Brawner, President and CEO of the National Corvette Museum. “As we look to the future and continue our important mission, we’re excited to welcome Kaye Wagner as our new Chair, along with our new board officers.”
Officers appointed for this term include:
Board Chair – Kaye Wagner
Kaye is a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist for Sanford Health in South Dakota. When Kaye is not tending to her patients, or serving as Department Chairman, Division Director, and Associate Program Director for Sanford USD Pediatric Residency Program, she is in the classroom as an Assistant Professor for the Department of Pediatrics at the Sanford USD School of Medicine. She also serves as the Camp Director and Medical Director for Camp Bring It On, a summer camp for children with cancer. Kaye is a member of the Sioux Falls Corvette Club and has served on the NCM Board of Directors since 2019, most recently serving as the Board Chair-Elect for 2022-2023.
Immediate Past Chair – Kai Spande
Kai is a seasoned General Motors executive with a distinguished career that includes manufacturing, management, and leadership roles. After 32 years with General Motors, including serving as the Plant Director for the General Motors Bowling Green Assembly Plant for the past eight years, he announced his retirement in 2023. Kai has served on the Museum’s Board of Directors for over eight years, most recently as the Chairperson from 2021 to 2023. Kai has vast experience in both manufacturing and manufacturing engineering within General Motors. During his tenure with General Motors, Kai held leadership positions in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and New York, along with multiple international assignments including a U.S. Department of Commerce Fellowship in Japan, along with a director role in the GM/OPEL European Powertrain Engineering staff. Kai has been responsible for many large-scale projects in his career including the complicated production changes needed to support the introduction of the 2020 Stingray and subsequent models. Kai will continue to serve on the Board of Directors until his term limit is met in 2027.
Chair-Elect – Michael LaRocca
Michael is a talented business owner and serves as the CEO of Ready Computing, Ready Motorsports, and Ready Cares. At Ready Computing, Michael leads an enthusiastic group of technologists focused on creating and implementing interoperable software products that optimize business operations in various sectors including health care, social care, financial services, supply chain, and logistics. With a true passion for automobiles, in 2015 Michael started Ready Motorsports which is dedicated to vehicle finance, brokerage, and rental, as well as marketing, sponsorship, and event planning within the automotive and motorsports sectors. In 2022, Michael founded Ready Cares, a not-for-profit foundation focused on the elevation of underserved communities in the United States. Since January 1, 2020, Michael has proudly served on the Board of Directors of the National Corvette Museum, and currently serves as the Chair Elect as well as Chair of the Business Operations committee. In addition to serving on the Museum board, Michael also serves on NCM Motorsports Park’s Strategic Planning committee.
Treasurer – Neil Watanabe
Neil currently serves as CFO for Loop Media Inc. NYSE, a premier content streaming company providing video and music media content to businesses. Before Loop Media, Inc., Neil served as Chief Financial Officer for Car Parts.com from March 2014 through April 2019. He has also served as Chief Operating Officer for National Stores, a discount department store chain that operated more than 300 locations from June 2014 to March of 2015. From June 2006 to June 2014, he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Anna’s Linens, a national textiles and home goods store that operated more than 300 locations. As a veteran financial and operational executive, Neil has also served as the Chief Financial Officer for PetSmart, Shoe Pavilion, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas, and Mac Frugal Bargain Closeouts. Neil serves as Chairman of the Board for Reality Ventures International, a consumer product innovator since April of 2021. Neil has been serving on the NCM Board of Directors since 2020 on the Executive Committee, and Chairman for both the Finance and Compensation Committee.
Secretary – Dale Ledbetter
Dale Ledbetter is an American automotive executive, entrepreneur and consultant. Dale is best known for his involvement with classic and collectible car acquisition, vehicle restoration and business management for Hendrick Motorsports Performance Group. A proud member of a career U.S. Navy family, Dale learned at an early age to adapt to different situations quickly. His over 30-years of automotive experience began as a teenager, where prior to receiving his drivers’ license, he undertook the task of restoring his first car, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS. His exceptional technical skills helped launch his career as an accomplished automotive specialist and eventually evolved into becoming a world-class restoration authentication expert and respected classic car consultant. In addition to serving as an automotive technician and repair shop owner, Dale has also served as a Honda ASE and Master Technician, and classic and collectible car dealership owner. Dale was hired by automotive group owner Rick Hendrick and serves as the General Manager of Hendrick Performance, overseeing The Hendrick Heritage Center Collection as well as the supervision of classic car renovation builds and special late-model OEM projects. Dale has also served as the Hendrick Performance Driving School Director, and Curator of The Hendrick Heritage Center. Dale is an NCRS member were he has served as a judge for over 20 years. He is the recipient of multiple awards through NCRS.
In addition to the new board appointments, The National Corvette Museum is also pleased to welcome four new individuals to its Board of Directors.
“As the National Corvette Museum evolves, expands, and works to meet the needs of our growing organization, we’re excited to welcome a new class of successful professionals to our board,” added Brawner. “The passion and desire to lend their expertise to the National Corvette Museum is clearly evident.”
Members appointed for this term include:
Dan has been a public school educator for 30 years. Throughout his career, he has held various roles including high school agriculture educator, middle school assistant principal, and elementary principal. Currently, he serves as the General Education Services Director at the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative (GRREC) in Bowling Green, Kentucky. In this role, Dan provides support to grant and program directors, oversees leadership networks, promotes Career and Technical Education, and leads partnerships with the Kentucky Department of Education and Western Kentucky University. He works with a team of experienced and highly skilled educators at GRREC to offer professional growth opportunities and support to 46 public school districts in central and western Kentucky. Beginning January 1, 2024, he will embark on a new role as the superintendent of Logan County (Kentucky) Public Schools, a district of approximately 3,500 students. Dan earned his Doctor of Educational Leadership from Western Kentucky University, where he also serves as an adjunct professor. He also leads school accreditations and diagnostic reviews in multiple states for Cognia. Dan resides in Bowling Green with his wife and two children.
Tim is the CEO and President of a large family-owned site development company and the managing partner of several real estate holding companies. He has served on various boards for over 20 years, including the school board, Gypsum town council, planning commission, economic development, and recreation council to name a few. During his tenure on the school board, he helped develop the first ever pay-for-performance school district in the nation. During his term on the Gypsum town Council, he helped to build and implement a full-use, family-friendly recreation center, upgrade and build local ball fields and parks and to purchase a local, defunct golf course helping them become revenue-generating, and a resort-class golf course. Tim is extremely family-oriented and believes in helping to educate all children with the belief that every child has a gift and that we play a role in helping them identify and develop their passion. He believes that the American-built Corvette is one avenue to help drive that vision.
A graduate of the Missouri School of Science and Technology, Mark began his career at General Motors as a summer intern on the Camero/Firebird team supporting showroom stock racing. His personal background in performance cars and racing furthered his success at General Motors, with increasing leadership positions in engineering along with the GM Motorsports division. During this same time, Mark had his first personal car featured in Hot Rod and Car Craft and continued to compete in track events. Mark was later selected Director of Motorsports Competition Engineering at GM, where he blends his personal interest in high performance vehicles with his professional role, allowing him to apply lessons in both spaces: setting goals, understanding how to get things done with limited time and resources, managing complex problems, and winning.
Ray Theriault became Plant Director of General Motors Bowling Green Assembly in June 2023. Having grown up in Milford, MI, Ray had the opportunity to listen as Corvettes would race around the Proving Grounds and always desired to be a part of the long and successful history of such an impactful vehicle. He grew up to receive a BS in Electrical Engineering from Lawrence Tech University and a Masters in Automotive Engineering from the University of Michigan. Ray has more than 27 years with General Motors, with a background in Global Propulsion Systems and Vehicle Assembly for both cars and trucks. He spent 5 years with GM International Operations in China where he was responsible for all GM manufacturing quality and quality assurance in Asia, Africa, and Australia. Ray has held titles including but not limited to Quality Manager, Quality Operations Director, Assistant Plant Manager and Assistant Plant Director during his tenure with the company. He was an integral part of the successful launch of heavy-duty pickup trucks in Flint, Mich., and the brands he has worked with have received various accolades including a number of JD Power awards and other prestigious quality and production honors.
To view the complete list of the NCM Board of Directors, visit our website here.