September 2002: What is the Corvette Action Center?
What is the Corvette Action Center?While I was in Carlisle this past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet several members of the Corvette Action Center Community as well as several non-members. Everyone complimented on the design of the site and the quality of the information provided. Many folks have found the site to be extremely beneficial to them and that's good news. It indicates to me that the goals established for the Corvette Action Center are being met.
I wanted to take this time to address some of the questions I received. Many of the questions were from our members and I wanted to try and clarify them.
The Original Corvette Action Center
The original Corvette Action Center was started by retired Corvette Chief Engineer, Dave McLellan back in the early 1990's. It consisted of a small office at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant and was staffed by Gordon Killebrew, Jerry Watts, and Sonny Kilgo. There may have been others, but I am not aware of their names at this time. A toll free phone number was set up and Chevrolet dealers, GM Tech Center and private Corvette owners could call the Corvette Action Center and speak to one of these gentlemen for help and technical information regarding C4 Corvettes. The Corvette Action Center was a major source of reliable technical information that was otherwise hard to acquire. In essence, it was a source of help to those in need.
To my knowledge, these gentlemen volunteered their time to staff the Corvette Action Center above and beyond their regular job duties at the plant.
In the mid-1990's, the Corvette Action Center was shut down. I'm not sure of the actual reasons, but Gordon Killebrew was retiring and Jerry Watts retired shortly after him.
What is *this* Corvette Action Center?
The Corvette Action Center web site started out as a small New Hampshire based Corvette web site covering the local New England Corvette circuit. It had very little technical information and was an extremely small site. The original name of this site was "CorvetteNH.com" since it was based in New Hampshire.
It went live on the web on Sunday, April 2, 2000. In September of 2000, we started these forums, and in December of 2000, we changed the name and address of the site to the Corvette Action Center.
Since I did a career change and moved down to Virginia, CorvetteNH.com was no longer focusing on just the New England Corvette community. I wanted to build a site devoted to Corvettes that would be just as helpful to owners and enthusiasts as the original Corvette Action Center was back in the 1990's.
I do want to stress: The Corvette Action Center web site and this community is not, in any matter, shape or form, sponsored or supported by General Motors, Chevrolet or any of their affiliates.
This web site started out of my pocket. It was financed by myself and a couple others who shared my vision for what it was to become. It was also supported by donations made by some of our members as well as advertisers.
It was not designed to be an online money maker. It is a free web site and there is NO CHARGE for accessing the information provided here. Some sections are restricted to members only. They are restricted simply because I feel that our forum members should have some benefits for taking the time to participate and contribute to the overall growth of this community.
The other reason is bandwidth issues. Most people don't realize that text and images on a web page are all data that needs to be sent across "wires". Someone has to pay for that data transmission and the person that pays is the person that owns the web site.
Who Are You?
I should probably share a little bit about myself. I got into Corvettes after I got out of college in 1992. I wanted to reward myself with something for all the hard work I put in. I looked at Mazda RX7s, Mustangs, Firebirds etc. Then one day, someone said to me...."what about a Vette"? I had never really considered a Corvette since I always considered them to be out of my price range. Admittedly, I knew nothing about them. I went to the local library and started picking through Road and Track and Car and Driver magazines. I decided which generation I wanted (C4, although the C3, was running a close second) and from there, I started researching each model year. I realized, that vast improvements were made with each successive model year and it wasn't long until I realized, I wanted the latest and greatest....a 1992 LT1 with Z07 and a 6-speed. I just couldn't afford it. So....I set out to work for it.
I have a degree in biotechnology and after college, I worked for 5 years in nutritional immunology. I did a lot of testing for clinical studies that involved testing various nutrients on the immune systems of healthy elderly populations. I picked up a second part time job and worked two jobs for three years just to be able to afford the down payment on my Vette. During this time, I joined the VetteNet (an online Corvette email listserv group) and met several local owners. I got involved with a local Corvette club and started going with members to local shows even though I didn't own a Vette. After Corvettes at Carlisle in August of 1994, I came home and started calling Corvette dealers to see what they had in stock. A month later, I took possession of my current Corvette. The rest is history.
From there, I tried my hand at commercial real estate and quickly left that. I'm not a salesman. I refuse to look someone in the eye and pretend to sell someone the Golden Gate Bridge when in fact, it's nothing more than an outhouse. That's just who I am. From there, I worked for a few months at a Chevrolet dealership as a parts runner. As boring as the job was, it was exciting since I was able to actually work at a Chevrolet dealership and see how one operates. I also got to check out many of the Corvettes that came in for service. Even though it bored me, I still enjoyed it and when it came time to leave, the Parts Department manager offered me a full time position at their counter helping customers. I had actually considered it because in some ways, I felt a sense of home there. Alas, it was not in the cards. Biotechnology and the possibility of running my own research laboratory was too enticing.
To make a long story short, I worked two more biotechnology jobs after that and quickly reached my fill of it. It was time for another change. At that time, I was just learning about the web and its vast information and future potential. I decided to pursue web development. I took a few courses and landed a job down here in VA. Web Development is what I do now.
What made you start this Corvette Action Center
Believe it or not, CorvetteNH.com started out as a course project for one of my web development classes. I decided to take it just a notch further. Basically, I wanted to take the ultimate passion in my life - Corvettes and combine it with something that would tie into my career. Therefore, I was able to build something I was passionate about using skills that I needed for my career. Both work hand in hand. That which I learn at my job is applied here in the structure of the site and that which I learn by running and building this site, I take with me to my job.
Above and beyond all of this, the main reason for me starting this site was simply that I wanted to build an online technical resource where Corvette owners and enthusiasts could come and learn about the Corvette. They could find the answers to their questions and have a respectable level of confidence in the quality and reliability of the information they would receive from here. That is not to say that the information provided here is 100% accurate. It is not. I have never made any claims that the information we provide here is 100% accurate nor would I ever. What I have said, and will continue to say is that I will do the best I can to insure that the information provided here is reliable. In most cases, you will see what the source of the information is that is provided in various parts of this site. In some cases, the information will come from GM: for example, from Media releases, GM Powertrain, etc. The Knowledgebase linked above is a good example of this.
I also wanted an online community where owners and enthusiasts could come and hang out and feel comfortable asking questions about the Corvette; regardless of how simple those questions may be.
This weekend, one member pointed out to me that he feels extremely comfortable coming here and asking what may seem to be the dumbest, most basic of automotive questions. However, he knows that he'll get quality responses to his questions and not get flamed or insulted for his lack of knowledge. Let's face it, we are not all automotive technicians. We all come from various backgrounds and have experienced different paths in life. Not everyone grew up with a wrench in one hand and a screwdriver in the other. If that were the case, Corvette mechanics would be out of work because we'd all be doing our own Corvette repairs.
Before I started the Corvette Action Center, I researched other Corvette web sites on the web. I examined other online communities and based upon what I saw, I decided to start my own online Corvette forums to compliment the rest of the Corvette Action Center site. It is my belief that factual information provided from reliable sources combined with the experiences of Corvette owners and enthusiasts makes for a well-rounded source of information for everyone.
Who *is* the Corvette Action Center?
The Corvette Action Center web site is owned and operated by me. The concept, design and layout has come from me in addition to the feedback I have received from members and non-members. A good friend of mine helps me do a lot of the back end hardware maintenance and configuration.....in essence, that which runs the Corvette Action Center.
In addition to myself and my friend, there are the community administrators (moderators) here within the forums. They have been chosen by me to help run the forums and insure that they operate smoothly, efficiently and within the guidelines established. (See the FAQ section linked above.) They also help me test out various pre-production parts of the site. I often consult them for advice and guidance in terms of what direction the site should go in and how certain parts of the site should be structured. For all intents and purposes, I have 100% trust in them and their ability to help run this site. They are not paid for what they do. They do not have salaries here and the time they spend here is volunteered by them.
Unlike other online forums, our forum administrators conduct themselves maturely and professionally. They are knowledgeable, friendly and courteous to all members of the community and they have a complete understanding of how I would like the site and the forums to operate. Actually, I probably should rephrase that. The Community Administrators and I are usually within complete agreement on how the forums and site should operate. We are essentially, a "Roundtable" and interact with one another in that fashion.
What is the purpose of the Corvette Action Center?
The best way to describe the purpose of the Corvette Action Center is to cite that which is listed on our "About Us" page:
The prime directive of the Corvette Action Center is to promote the awareness, preservation and enjoyment of the Chevrolet Corvette and help educate owners and enthusiasts by providing a professional and reliable online source of Corvette news and information.
We consider the Corvette Action Center to be a major informational repository and in a "continuous state of improvement". The information contained within is constantly being updated in order to insure that it is reliable and consistent. The engineering of the site is also under a constant state of development in order to make room for future additions and to insure that site navigation and informational access is quick and intuitive.
Due to the nature of this site, I would like to ask that forum members try and insure that the information they post publicly here in the forums is, to the best of their knowledge, accurate and reliable. I am not fond of posts such as "Guess what I saw on the floor at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant today...." etc. While it may seem like exciting information, in most cases, it's 100% completely inaccurate and causes rumors to start. It goes against what this site stands for. Certain information and future plans for Corvette development are classified by GM and they are classified for a reason. I would appreciate it if members respect GM's desire to keep certain information confidential.
Hopefully, I have pretty much addressed everyone's questions about what *this* Corvette Action Center is and how it started. If you have any questions, or any suggestions, please feel free to post them. I think most of you know by now that I'm always looking for feedback on how to improve things here.
Thank You Rob.
I must admit that to me, this site is more than just a digital program etched into the fabric of the world wide web. To me, this place is ALIVE. Yes, ALIVE. The members of this site make it what it is. I get the sense of community when I cruise the pages and interact with others here.
One of the best parts of this site, is I feel free to be myself. No putting on, no stress, no fear of attack from others. You can also feel comfortable to let your 7 year old child cruise this site.
I will tell you guys a quick story. Last year I was having a very serious conversation with Nikki. The truth is I was feeling rather down about many things, mostly my hobby. You see, I have always been into tinkering with my own projects. Often I get so involved in what I am doing there is little to no time at all to interact with others (ie, local clubs, social events, etc). My 69 project was at the lowest possible point (cut into a million pieces and not looking like it was ever going back together). I was lost, frustrated, and quite frankly feeling all alone. She supports me in every way possible, but I was fed up, and tired of practicing my hobby in a vacuum, never having time to get out with it and reap the rewards of a finished driveable car.
During this serious conversation I was having with her, I was contemplating getting rid of what was left of the car, and taking up a new hobby. Feeling alone, tired, frustrated, broke, I had nowhere to turn for a refreshing start. I had nobody to share my stories, feelings, and in some cases technical knowledge of the hobby. We have some great local clubs, and I had visited with them, but I was not finding that "one" thing--ie, that sense of absolute community centered on the love of these fine automobiles.
Then, CAC came along. In fact, it was in that same week. I had been surfing other Corvette sites, and was a member of some other car forums. I did not find any satisfaction there. No sense of community, no sense of care or concern. I can't remember exactly how I stumbled upon this site, but I knew within a few minutes I was finally at home. So, do I still frequent other sites? Yes. There is much to be learned and shared everywhere. Do I get the feeling of home anywhere else? No. Why? I don't know, but I think it has everything to do with Rob's sense of vision.
Sorry for writing a book here about my feelings. You guys have been great, and actually I credit your support with the positive vibes that helped me finish my project. I love to see this site grow, and I especially love to see it grow with quality.
See many of you soon!
Thanks again Rob!
Well spoken Chris and Guy.
Guy brought up an interesting point about the fact that it doesn't matter what you drive. I got an interesting email from a member here in response to the email I sent out last week letting everyone know that we would be getting together at Carlisle and Bowling Green this week. Here's his response:
This really bothered me. Now, I don't want to turn this thread into a direction of the pros and cons of Carlisle because that's not why I posted this, but what bothered me were his remarks about what he observed among other Corvette owners.
I went to Carlisle in Penn two years and I have never been more unhappy about going to to a meet than Carlisle. The people that I met were just there for the money, nothing more. There was nothing friendly about any of them.. I will never go to a swap meet that is strictly money as it is at Carlisle, PENNNSYLVANIA. I would think that anyone that goes knows they are going to screw them out of something. Friendly didn't even come close. Pate Mueum of Transportation)(Fort Worth,, Texas) at the original swap meet was fantastic. Everyone was friendly and happy to be there.
The folks from mostly PEn (state) were unfriendly and I will never come back. There were seven of us last time and we all agreed. Unless the people start treating us like regular people rather than $$$$$ we will not come back.
Hey maybe we don't have enough money to hobknob with you guys. PS my 62 runs real hard as does my 70 SS and my son's Z06 in his 82 S10.
As within any society, a natural stratification is going to take place. You're going to find various socio-economic groups or cliches form. It's inevitable. I'm not saying I agree with it....all I'm saying is, it's a natural progression of human society.
I have always operated this site and these forums with "the door is always open" attitude. You DO NOT have to own a Corvette to be a member of this community. You do not have to be a Doctor, Lawyer, CEO pulling in a 6-7 figure income to be a member of this community. If all you can afford is a Dodge Dart (and I'm not picking on Dart owners), who cares!?
The only requirement I do have for joining this community is the desire to learn more about the Corvette and help/learn from each other when the need arises.
I think those of you that have met me, know that I'm a very up front type of guy. I'm not a wine/cheese and crumpets type of guy. Give me a cold bottle of dark ale and a grilled chicken sandwich over Caviar and Crown Royal any day. I would like to think that I run this community in the same casual manner as I do my own life.
I would like to think that this community and our members are open and inviting to everyone. Based upon past gatherings that our members have attended, I haven't seen anything that even remotely hints at the contrary.
Thanks for the info Rob. When I happen on to a site like this I often wonder who takes the time and spends the money necessary to keep a site like this going. It did not take me long to figure out that it was your site, but then the quesiton always comes to paying the bills. I understand too well that bandwidth costs money. I would like to think you are getting some assistance in some way to pay for the bandwidth that can be taken for granted on a site this size. You even allow members to upload pics to be stored on your servers. Granted you limit the size, but it all adds up to storage space and bandwidth.
Aside from that, now you have the added expense of hardware to maintain. Do you build and maintain the hardware yourself? All this adds up to a large amount of time and money that I think many don't realize. For a site this size to respond as quickly as it does when reading forums, changing pages, posting messages, etc. I believe you have a good combination of fast hardware and a solid internet connection to this hardware.
Now that being said, what makes this site truly great is its people. The site is where it is today due to Rob's vision and the moderators. But I don't want to take anything away from its members either. There is a ton of knowledge here between all the members and I keep seeing more and more people join in the short time that I've been here. And on the rare occassion that tempers flare, there is always a moderator on the scene quickly to cool things down. Another good quality of the members is their respect for Rob and the moderators. A single sentence post is all that is needed to get the thread back on track. That makes their jobs so much easier.
Keep up the good work guys. In the month and half I've been here I have learned quite a bit about my car and I hope to be able to contribute when I gain some more knowledge.
Rob, how do you find time for the car with the time you put in here?
Thank you for the kind words and feedback.
I don't control the hardware that runs the site. The site is on its own server so that it does not fall victim to some of the drawbacks of being on a virtually shared server with other sites on it. At the beginning of this year, we were in that situation and we were having numerous problems with site performance. I have a deal worked out with the company that owns the server. Obviously, nothing comes for free and someone has to pay. I pay via my time and not my money, so I have an ideal situation worked out.
Yes, you are right....it does take a lot of time to run this site. It is large, and there is a ton of information within. That's one of the reasons why sometimes, it takes me a little while to respond back to private emails. Between working a full time job, running the Corvette Action Center which is another full time job and trying to have some kind of private life outside of Corvettes (is there really such a thing?), my plate is usually always full. Basically, I spend the amount of time that I do on the site because for me....it's a passion. I love Corvettes....I love building web sites and by combining both of them into one, I have something that addresses both. Do I ever get sick of it....absolutely. There are many nights I have to walk away from here and go do something else. There is always some part of the site that needs to be updated or added to. It's a non-stop progression. I came back from Carlisle with a fair amount of new documentation - information that can be added to the Corvette Action Center. It's all a matter of time....the keyword here.
The hardware and connection we have to the internet are top quality so we are able to benefit from that. The other benefit is that I have re-engineered some parts of the forum software to run more efficiently than it normally would out of the box.
I have cut out a lot of the unnecessary graphics which would normally slow down the speed of the forums, and replaced them with simple text. I've also placed restrictions on signature sizes for members. If it's one thing I can't stand, it's going to a site and seeing a post that contains one smiley as a response and this enormous signature with huge pictures of the owner's Corvette and all these flashing banners. It's a waste. My feeling is, if you want to showcase your Corvette, you have the Members' Gallery here to do that. The forums are for the exchange of information and comraderie....not how many posts someone has or "lets see if my signature can take up the whole computer monitor...". As I've always stated...."quality....not quantity."
As for member photo galleries, etc., there is a tradeoff with that. I do have the Members Gallery restricted to forum members only. Forum members can view the full images (hence download them), but non-members cannot. That is just one way that I try and keep bandwidth down. As for storage space....I keep an eye on it and it's always a delicate balance.
Unfortunately today, with how things are on the internet/web, everyone wants something for nothing. The concept of the web is supposed to be...."everything is free for the taking", when in reality, that isn't the case. It does cost money to keep the hardware running and the infrastructure in place. Someone has to pay that money and usually it's the person that owns the actual web site and/or hardware that makes up part of that "web".
That's one of the reasons why over the next couple of months, I will be restricting various parts of the site to forum members only. There won't be a charge for access....but membership is a requirement and as all of you know, there is no charge for membership here. It's really a simple concept.....if you want access to the information, join the community and become part of a great thing. If not, you're welcome to try and locate it somewhere else on the web.
My God Rob, I knew you were smart. Kind of strayed off the beaten path didn't you
CAC HISTORY/EDITORIAL by ROB
Rob let me start off by saying I asked for a little history on how CAC got started, got directed to this thread by 67 Heaven, printed it and read it completely through and it is an absolutly awesome story and history of the site is incredible! I have never met you but feel like I have after reading your editorial, and would love to meet you sometime, maybe this years CAC Cruise Fest in BG if your going to be there. At anyrate this forum has become very adictive to me to say the least. The members, moderators are the best on the net for sure. You have created a CORVETTE WORLD to be very, very, proud of. So does the Support Memberships, and donations support this, and do you have vendor paticipation? What I am getting at here is other than being a supporting member could we be do something else to help you? I love CORVETTES and love CORVETTE ACTION CENTER.
Originally Posted by Rob
Again it sounds like your life has been very full, and to create a site like this that has grown into what it is today is nothing short of GENIUS!!!!!
Very Loyal Supporting Member,
2000C-5 Black Coupe Owner
^^^^ Thanks Bill. Again, I appreciate the kind words and I'm glad you enjoy the site. It's hard to believe that April of 2005 will be our 5 year anniversary on the web. Time really does fly!
The site is supported by members like you, "Supporting Members" as well as Supporting Vendors, Supporting Dealers and Sponsors. You will see various members in the forums posting that have a green Supporting Vendor or Supporting Dealer title under their username as well as the name of the company they represent. Sponsors pay only to have their ad banner appear in the upper right hand corner of all the site pages. They all pay to advertise here.
We also have affiliate partnerships set up with various companies like CarFax, Amazon.com, TireRack, etc. Affiliate partnerships work in such a way that if a user clicks on one of their links on this site, and purchases something, we get a very tiny percentage of the sale because it was the link on our site that sent the customer to the company web site.
Supporting Vendors and Sponsors are our bread and butter followed by Affiliate partnerships and then Supporting Memberships. To see a complete list of the Supporting Vendors and Dealers, just click on the Sponsors button in the upper right hand corner of the site navigation system.
That is how the site is financed. Over the first 3 to 3 1/2 years, the site was mostly financed out of my pocket. We're now at a point where the site pays for itself (which is really what I want), and once in a while, there is enough money left over to use to put back into the site - upgrade hardware, software, etc.
How else can you help? The only way I can think of that you and everybody else can help, is to visit that Sponsors page and visit the companies that are linked there. If possible, give them your business. They're good companies with good reputations and they've been supporting us now for quite some time.
My life has more or less been full between working multiple jobs at once and building and maintaining the Corvette Action Center. It's been a lot of fun, and sometimes not so fun. It's a lot of work, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. The best part of building this site is that I've met a lot of great people along the way and based upon feedback that I've received, the site has been extremely helpful to a lot of people across the globe.
A couple years ago, I was standing in line at Corvettes at Carlisle waiting to get an autograph from Corvette Chief Engineers Dave McLellan, and Dave Hill. A couple people behind me started talking and suddenly I heard the Corvette Action Center mentioned and how they loved the site and found it helpful. I just sort of stood their and smiled to myself. That was the greatest praise I could have ever received and it made me quite proud of what we have here.
These forums may not be the biggest and may not be the busiest, but they are the best.
Thanks Martin! Glad you enjoy the site.
Originally Posted by aizanvette89
Rob, I found this site because I had heard of the original CAC and I typed it into my browser as a blind fishing expedition. This is my "home" on the web now, and I will not admit how much time I spend in here. Lets just say, "lots".
Warning! Thread hijacking possible.
Originally Posted by Rob
I am curious. What kind of nutrients? Did you have any interesting findings?
Save the Wave!
Originally Posted by DRTH VTR
We did research on Vitamin E, Fish Oil, and Black Currant Seed Oil and their effects on the immune systems of healthy elderly people. We saw the greatest effects with Vitamin E - 400IU daily.
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