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Wil Cooksey to Receive Prestigious Lee Iacocca Award
For Immediate Release
Gunnison, Colorado – March 24, 2010 – Wil Cooksey, former manager of the world’s only Corvette assembly plant and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Corvette Museum, will receive the prestigious Lee Iacocca Award August 21, 2010 at the “Cool Cars, Cool Mountains” Car Show in Gunnison, Colorado. Only 25 car clubs in the United States are designated annually by Mr. Iacocca to select recipients for the award that bears his name. 2010 marks the third year he has chosen the Gunnison Car Club, host of the nation’s first carbon neutral car show.
The Iacocca Award was created in 2006 by automobile industry legend and best selling author Lee Iacocca to honor, in his words, “some of the world's most committed classic-car collectors and their passion for maintaining an American tradition.” Even more importantly, the award raises funds for The Iacocca Foundation. That foundation, created by Mr. Iacocca and his daughters after his wife died from diabetes, supports research toward finding a cure for the disease. To date more than $26 million in research has been funded by the Foundation.
Mike Callihan, president of the Gunnison Car Club, says the choice of Wil Cooksey for the Iacocca Award was a natural one. “Wil is simply an incredible individual. Whether in the car business, on the boards of non-profit community organizations or on the race track he never gives less than his all out best. It doesn’t hurt that’s he’s a car nut from head to toe, either.”
A Distinguished Graduate of the Officer’s Training School, Cooksey served as an executive officer in the U.S. Army Artillery, 1st Lieutenant. His last assignment was a year in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star.
Cooksey's General Motors career is the epitome of achievement beginning with his first job as an assistant professor in industrial engineering at GMI in Flint, Michigan. In 1976 he transferred to the St. Louis plant where he held several positions before being transferred to the Doraville plant in Atlanta. After working at various superintendent positions at Doraville, he was named the production manager at the Fairfax plant, the position he held until his current assignment.
Cooksey takes an active role in the community. He currently serves on the boards of the United Way of Bowling Green, First American Bank, Greenview Hospital, the Kentucky Museum, Western Kentucky University School of Business Advisory Board, Drug Abuse Resistance Education Advisory Council and Advancing Minorities' Interest in Engineering Executive Advisory Board.
In 1997 Cooksey received the "Black Engineer of the Year President's Award." Also in 1997, Austin Peay University named him "Achiever of the Year" in their Focus Program. This year Cooksey received a Presidential Citation from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education in recognition of exemplary experience that honors Tennessee State University. Dollars & Sense Magazine honored Cooksey in their 1998 "Salute to America's Best & Brightest Business and Professional Men and Women." Cooksey is featured on the cover of African Americans on Wheels magazine as they named the Corvette the "Best Urban Car of the Year." He has been honored as an Outstanding Graduate of Tennessee State and named a "Black Achiever in the Industry" by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In his free time, Cooksey likes excitement. His hobbies include drag racing and flying airplanes. He resides in Bowling Green with his wife, Elizabeth, a teacher at Western Kentucky University. They have two children, David and Crissy.
Sam Memmolo of TV's Shadetree Mechanic, Crank and Chrome, My Classic Car, Two Guys Garage, and Sam’s Garage Radio, received the Iacocca Award from the Gunnison Car Club in 2008. In 2009, the club honored Alex "Axle" Idzardi of Riverside, California for his contributions to the car hobby as a well known car show promoter and the driving force behind the Shifters Car Club Car Show at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, the Suede Palace section of the Grand National Roadster Show, and the Suede Pavilion at the Sacramento Autorama.
Wil Cooksey will receive his Lee Iacocca Award at the Gunnison, Colorado Car Club’s 23rd annual “Cool Cars, Cool Mountains Open Car Show” which runs August 20-22. More information about the club and its award winning car show can be found at its website: Gunnison Car Club. For information about the Iacocca Foundation visit its website: Iacocca Family Foundation - Home.
Contact: Mike Callihan
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