“I share a deep understanding of the road ahead for people in this modern world who wish to choose a path that includes the concepts of STEM. To me, it sounds courageous. The future: here we are, let’s make this work! Let’s win this race! ARE YOU IN?”
Racing is one of those activities that, once you’re infected, you carry it with you for life. This is certainly true with Athena Racing board adviser Gary Clasen.
Gary got his start in both racing and business at the tender age of 11 when he convinced his parents to finance his first quarter midget car over three years based on the earnings from his paper route. From there it was half midgets, TQ midgets, and a number of other classes.
However, his career truly began with AAA. He started in the stock room and ended up in charge of Member Insurance Services & Government Affairs in San Diego. Without the benefit of a college degree, he believes his racing history was what kept him in the winner’s circle. As a AAA manager, his team won many corporate awards and more proclamations than he can count.
Over the past couple of decades, he and his wife Denise have worked together to create one of the most successful catering and event businesses in San Diego, Continental Catering. Again, learning from teamwork and believing in a purpose.
His other fundraising and philanthropic endeavors include local high schools, community colleges, and hospitals. Gary is a firm believer in the value turning a wrench can have, and it is why he has tirelessly advocated for shop programs in local schools. Gary is an indefatigable champion of extracurricular activities that cement character in our young people. And Athena Racing is just such a program.
In racing everyone had the same rules, the same size track, and the same number of laps in order to win or lose. It taught me to have a plan and goals; and, most importantly a desire to always give it your very best.
I also learned that it takes a team to win. We had great teams and won hundreds of trophies and track records. Most importantly racing is won or lost in the reactions on the track. Same with the team. Life lessons. Our team won hundreds of trophies and set many records because we ALL had the same mission.