Nick Baggarly – Happy Birthday Polar Traverse Vehicles Event Speech – June 24, 2014

How ironic that the first time the vehicles drive in snow would be June!

Thank you everyone for taking your time to support this day. What WE have done is great. What WE are about to do is greater. And you are all part of that in some way.

We set our intention today to bring together the entire ZERO SOUTH team. …but, like our projects, we start these things off with something great in mind, and then watch them become greater.

Somehow the planets have aligned because all the stakeholders are here. Tonight. We welcome,

Phil Segal and members of his team from Original Productions.

Mike Sharp representing Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions.

Our vehicle integration team is here

Our production team is here

Several members of the expedition team are here

Our sponsors, K&N Engineering and Honeywell are here.

Our Board of Directors

And our courageous donors, advocates and advisors

My mom is here!

I like to tell the team that this is a charmed project. And every now and then there’s a moment where we can all see it. That’s today.

We built these vehicles to become symbols. They’re more than just vehicles. Soon they’ll be characters in a television series–Part of Drive Around the World’s greatest relevant adventure.

Our programs have four variables. The cause we drive for, the cars we drive, the place we go and the people who go. With each event, these things change, and every expedition is for a different cause. People ask me, what’s the cause with ZERO SOUTH and I say…

WE ARE DRIVING FOR ZERO FOSSIL FUELS!

 

THE FIRST HYBRID VEHICLE TO REACH THE SOUTH POLE WILL BE A HUMMER AND IT WILL GET THERE WITHOUT A SINGLE DROP OF OIL!

 

And, when we get there, in a segment I call ‘FEATS OF STRENGTH’, we’re going to show you what new technology can do. If I told you some of the things happening on the way to the South Pole you wouldn’t believe me. But we’ll save it for the show. And these things are important. Because if we want people to select new technology, they need to see what it can do for them that their old tech cannot do. We will tell the fascinating story of how we built these vehicles, because when people understand they get excited and when they get excited they make new choices.

 

You’ve all made decisions in some way to get involved. You’ve put your money where your mouth is, with contributions of time, funding, expertise–to each according to his or her ability. There are people here tonight who have swooped during uncertain times–and many of you will never know the extent of what your support allowed us to do, but just look at these vehicles. Look at these people. You helped make all of this show up!

You all saw the film, Field of Dreams–if you build it they will come. That’s the Drive Around the World mantra.

I’d like to thank Phil Segal and his team from Original. Phil, we are honored and beyond excited to be working with you. ZERO SOUTH is a futuristic Monster Garage, on an ice road (truckers), in close quarters like the ships on Deadliest Catch. This partnership just works.

And we wouldn’t be here without Steve Rogers and his dedicated team at K&N Engineering–our main sponsor since the very beginning. Talk about unwavering support.

QUICK COMMERCIAL: A K&N filter is a perfect example of a Henry Heinz product. He said, “take something everyone uses and make it better.”  You put one of their lifetime-reusable cotton filters in your car, and it keeps disposable filters out of landfills. It delivers cleaner air to your engine and more of it. …And talk about a visionary company: We’re not NASCAR, we’re not Indy Car, we’re not Trophy Truck. Yet K&N decided to put many times what they might throw into these other events into a small non-profit who also cares about cleaning the air. Now that’s cool.

 

We are very fortunate tonight to have some people here whose brave decisions have become the cornerstone of this organization. These are people who got us here like our friend, Bill Baker. When he was the Vice President of PR at Land Rover North America, Bill made our last expedition dream come true. We also have Maria Marill, Vice President of Sony who, for two years, practically gave us the keys to a massive movie studio–and we’re here today because of her. Let’s take a moment to thank them for the chances they took for us.

 

I hope y’all will take a moment tonight to meet a few members of our team. Nearly everyone has nicknames, Brock is Heartbeat, Pat is Capcom, Charlie is Superman. There’s Young Money and Old Money. T-REX is just T-Rex (cuz that’s really his real name–seriously, his birth certificate says Tyranasaurus Rex) Sean Stuart is HTTP–our Hyper-Talented Terrific Producer.  I like things to be colorful so they gave me Rainbow Brite. Checkout our 12-foot whiteboard to see the others. Some of these guys have been on this project for 5 plus years. Others are new like our student interns from Wyotech technical school here in Long Beach. I am blessed to have the greatest team a guy could ask for. So thank you for everything you do.

A special thanks to Maren Domzalski and Sean O’Connor for coordinating much of what you see here today . These two are a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!

I’m sure you can imagine, getting to Antarctica and away safely is an enormous undertaking, Mike Sharp is here from Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions and he and his team do this for dozens of expeditions every season. I’m confident this is the right group to help us get ‘er done.

Tom Wagner and Lora Koenig are here tonight. They are cryosphere scientists from NASA–helping to supply a few light field-science experiments for the expedition and this is important because… adventurers might bring along token science but scientists and explores contribute to the human record. And these experiments will get the team out of the vehicles , which makes our show more interesting.  And I just like the idea of doing climate science out of the back of a hummer. It’s funny. Laura brought along a solar ice drill–check it out. And Tom has been fanning the flames of this project for years so let’s hear it for these two.

And, even I know it’s kind of weird to thank a vehicle, but I want to do that. The blue vehicle was built by volunteers who showed up on Tuesday nights for five years, so, we named it TUESDAY. The orange vehicle, BUDDY 1, is a year old today. Be sure to sit in them, and when you see the show, you can tell your friends, I was in that!

Once they return from Pole, and our show airs, they’ll be artifacts– part of public consciousness. They’ll get cool upgrades like the Mach 5. Maybe one day a button on the steering wheel will launch a LIDAR scanning drone to survey a nearby ice shelf. Why not? Then, they’ll go on to other missions. Maybe they’ll do science and exploration in Greenland or Alaska or Iceland or Siberia. In between gigs they’ll travel to schools and museums and inspire kids to get into science and engineering and go out there and use new technology to get us some answers. This is the legacy of this project, and you are all helping bring it to life!

This project is important and special, and we want it to become your project.  If you do that, please, give it what it needs to be successful. In expedition leader school they tell us to bring your best self to the mission–always. Even when it’s more than you bargained for, because most things worth doing are. We are all on this expedition together and when it’s done I assure you, you’ll forever be glad you made the effort.

Many of you may be familiar with a great Henry Ford quote. He said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right!” I used to tell people that before they came in here. But when we moved in, I thought, maybe I can come up with something that inspires people. So now I’m saying, Be excited about what you are doing right now.Whatever you are doing, find a way to be excited about it. I painted this floor with Keith last week. It was exciting!

Finally I want everyone to know, the word, ‘drive’ in Drive Around the World is about cars, because we love ’em, but it’s also about inspiring our collective drive for human advancement, and the notion that persistence and determination are the main ingredients in our ability to improve our conditions across the world.

So let’s all have fun tonight and then let’s press on and get ‘er done!!

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