In 1970 Diane Fitzgerald purchased her first car, a not-so-pretty Volkswagen Bug, for $600. “I wanted to learn how to drive a stick so I bought it and fixed it up myself,” she says. So began her love affair with all things automotive. Since then, the car enthusiast has owned numerous VW’s and is a collector of micro-cars as well as vintage motorcycles. Couple this enthusiasm with a background in education, marketing and fundraising, and it’s no surprise that Fitzgerald was selected to be the national director of the Hagerty Education Program at LeMay – America’s Car Museum in Tacoma. “I am over the moon excited and honored to take this program to the next level,” says Fitzgerald.
As residents of Chicago, Fitzgerald and her husband were the first members of the ACM board of directors from outside Tacoma. When they joined the board in 2002, they brought with them a passion to help preserve the automotive industry. In 2012 Fitzgerald began serving as national Club Auto director at ACM, responsible for the implementation of events and programs to help increase membership.
The Hagerty Education Program awards grants and scholarships to young adults seeking careers in automotive preservation and restoration. To protect the history of the automotive industry, Fitzgerald says, it is critical to train and educate the next generation as well as protect the hobby of car collecting in America. Hagerty, an insurance provider for classic vehicles, partnered with ACM in January 2014 and has since committed $1.75 million to the program. Fitzgerald says that the opportunity to be the national director of a program focused on education means having a direct impact on the next generation of car enthusiasts and hobbyists alike, particularly here in the South Sound. “I think this is going to impact Tacoma in interesting ways that we cannot predict yet,” says Fitzgerald.
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