When he was growing up in Pittsburgh, Scott Shrader was “absolutely obsessed” with “The Transformers.” And even at 42 years old, the Palm Beach Gardens resident’s face beams like it must have all those years ago when he recalls the toy cars he used to play with.
Shrader’s obsession evolved into a passion for real cars, and from March 16 to 18, he will take his first turn in the proverbial driver’s seat as president of the fourth annual The Palm Event.
Vintage sporting car enthusiasts and connoisseurs from all over the area—and the world—will gather to celebrate motorsports while raising funds to benefit Wheels for Kids Inc. The non-profit provides customized wheelchairs for Palm Beach County children who don’t qualify for other funding. “The Palm Event not only surrounds me with something I’ve always loved, but I get to be a part of helping kids too,” Schrader says.
His road to The Palm Event was seemingly predetermined.
“One of my first Transformers was a Porsche,” he says, “and even though I was just a regular kid growing up in a working- class family, I was determined to have a real Porsche someday.”
Shrader, who is now a tax professional, CFP and owner of Vault Financial Services, bought his 1987 Porsche 944 when he was just 18 years old through the earnings he saved up from high school jobs (including washing cars) and some savvy building-block transactions.
Shortly thereafter, while studying finance and international business at Penn State, Shrader returned to the parking garage where he’d parked his car one day to find an invitation to join a Porsche Club on his windshield. “I had college stuff to do and beers to drink; I tossed it without a second thought,” he says.
Two decades passed and in 2014, Shrader was on to his seventh year living in South Florida. He attended a Palm Beach Driving Club event and was paired with another car enthusiast, Kevin Ream, to take a Rolls-Royce for a spin around the Palm Beach International Raceway track.
As the two strangers began talking, they realized that they had much in common: Both were transplanted Pennsylvanians, Penn State alumni and Porsche owners. Within minutes, they had deduced that Ream had been the Porsche Club president who left the invitation on Shrader’s windshield some 20 years earlier. Ream was about to launch the inaugural The Palm Event, to which he invited Shrader.
“The cars were amazing, and so was the way people’s excitement about automobile design seemed to connect them,” Shrader recalls. “The entire ambiance made The Palm Event special: the award-winning food, the world-class wines, the breathtaking Palm Beach County venues.”
The following year, Shrader helped Ream with the event. The third year, he became a 50-percent partner. And when Ream moved, Shrader agreed to take the wheel.
“I had to,” he says. “The Palm Event is not only among the best of its kind, but it helps kids. And that’s everything.”