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Motors Revved Up for Heels & Wheels

Gale Curcio
By Gale Curcio
Posted on Sep 12,2012
Filed Under News , Community,


Photo by Gale Curcio
NASCAR rep prepares to rev up the motor.

ALEXANDRIA, VA. - It started out with a simple conversation during one of the monthly meetings of the newly formed Alexandria Chamber Professional Women’s Association.

What can we do that’s new and exciting?

Courtesy Photo
Melinda Sigal, Lauren O'’Brien, Gale Curcio, Lana
Manitta, Gin Kinneman, Serena Corby celebrate the
success of the Heels & Wheels event.

While several ideas were tossed around, when Gin Kinneman, owner of Kinneman Insurance, mentioned that she could bring in NASCAR, that seemed to click with the group and the conversation turned towards doing an automotive-related event.

And as the wheels started turning - literally - the launch of the first Heels & Wheels was born.
It would be geared towards the education of women – and men – about car maintenance and would be a fun and interactive event.

In addition to bringing in one of the NASCAR cars, she said that she could also bring in the truck with the NASCAR simulator.

Then the committee discussed a likely location. While one was pinned down early in the search, they decided that it would not work as planned and they started contacting auto dealers and repair shops.

When Lana Manitta and Barbara Greenwald stopped by the Duke Street Speedy Lube, they quickly discovered that they have an ally in owner Connie Hart. She said that she had wanted to do an event like this for a long time. She spoke about her vision for how it would be laid out, what she would provide, how she could demonstrate car maintenance, and much more.

Courtesy Photo
Gin Kinneman and her colleagues from
Nationwide Insurance.

In addition, they found a very willing and accommodating neighbor – Mike Anderson of Mango Mike’s. When approached about the idea of a cooperative event, he was all in. Anderson agreed to provide the food for the event as well as the parking.

The Heels and Wheels committee, comprised of Gin Kinneman, Kinneman Insurance; Serena Corby, Safelite Glass; Lana Manitta, Rich Rosenthal Brincefield Manitta Dzubin & Kroeger, LLP; Lauren O’Brien, Wells Fargo Advisors; Gale Curcio; Curcio Communications and Melinda Sigal, The Sales & Marketing Connection met throughout the summer, developing the new event as they went along. They got even more fuel for the event when the new Chamber director, John Long, enthusiastically endorsed and supported the event.

With Nationwide Insurance locked in as a sponsor, the group started looking for automotive dealers. While they were disappointed initially that they didn’t get any automotive dealers as major sponsors, they were pleased that Safelite Auto Glass agreed to be a major sponsor. Jay Thomas of Alphagrahics agreed to print the posters and the NASCAR-style badges.

They also started signing up table sponsors, among them Alexandria Hyundai, Bonnie Rivkin/Coldwell Banker, Commonwealth One, Curcio Law, Hadeed Carpets, Mercedes-Benz, Radiance, Wells Fargo Advisors and Wilson Bridge Half-Marathon.

Photo by Gale Curcio
Tom Curcio, at the Curcio Law table, talks to John
Renner and Jay Thomas.

The City of Alexandria Police Department agreed to participate in the event and table sponsors had games and give-aways.

Door prizes were donated by Crowne Plaza, Mango Mikes, Duke Street Speedy Lube, Curcio Communications, Bucket List Boutique and Six Flags.

The morning of the event was rainy and didn’t bode well for the event that was totally outside with no rain date. However, as the evening neared, the weather cleared – and while hot and humid, there was no rain.

“Heels & Wheels was a unique, interactive event that spot lighted local businesses with a focus on cars," Kinneman said. "We were very excited to be able to bring the Nationwide NASCAR car and race simulator.”

The NASCAR rolled in, as did the truck with the NASCAR truck with the simulator. It was very exciting and gratifying to a group of women who had

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in Heels and Wheels, from the planning, to our wonderful sponsors, and everyone who attended for helping make this a fun and exciting event for a variety of different types of business people and in fact the entire community," Manitta said. "It was especially nice to see children at a there and watch their eyes light up when that NASCAR engine roared.”

Photo by Gale Curcio
Lora Palacios and colleague man the Hadeed table.
Photo by Gale Curcio
Serena Corby and her staff from Safelite sponsor a table and do demonstrations.
Photo by Gale Curcio
Karen Day and Bonnie Rivkin at the Bonnie Rivkin Realtor table.
Photo by Gale Curcio
Steve Nearman, coordinator of the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon.

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