May 3, 2001
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Former racer and strident AMA critic Ken Vreeke is advising AMA Pro Racing on a new public relations strategy.<BR><BR>Vreeke, who now owns Vreeke & Associates Advertising, wrote a 1984 expose of AMA racing activities that was published in Cycle magazine. The piece so enraged AMA Trustees that they threatened to sue the magazine and full-time staffer Vreeke.<BR><BR>Now, nearly 20 years later, Vreeke hosted an April 30 conference call with AMA staff members to discuss the association's current public relations problems and to suggest solutions.<BR><BR>The biggest public relations problem the AMA faces is that it often does a poor job of communicating with members and media representatives, and often fails to get the word out when it does something right or improves its racing programs. Word is also hard to get as to how and why various AMA decisions are made.<BR><BR>The fact that little or no attention is paid to AMA success stories has frustrated association staffers. And what press releases do come out of the association are often issued in reaction to outside criticism or forces instead of proactively addressing problems or announcing pending programs or improvements.<BR><BR>Recently, AMA Pro Racing has expanded its staff, hiring John Farris as Vice President, Commercial Development; Chris Bradley as Associate Director, Commercial Development; and Michele Rossi as Financial Analyst. But exactly why they were hired and what they are going to do remains a mystery to most "stakeholders", which is what AMA Pro Racing likes to call AMA members involved in AMA professional competition. For that matter, there have been no press releases explaining why AMA Pro Racing, which is owned by the non-profit AMA, needs anyone working on "commercial development" in the first place.<BR><BR>Stay tuned.