Jens von Holten grew up in Cape town, South Africa during apartheid. While this was pretty difficult, it did open his eyes to understanding how other people experience the world. He received his Mechanic Engineering degree from the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town and had aspirations of becoming an engineer for a racing related company. His first position at a race team was the humbling job of sweeping the floor! Jens was willing to do anything to prove himself so he set out to be the best floor cleaner ever. This quickly materialized into promotions within the team and he traveled with the race car all over the country.
To add to his love of racing cars, Jens also enjoy sailing. He and a friend actually sailed from Cape Town to Brazil. They continued on through the Caribbean and then ran out of money when they reached Ft Lauderdale. They stayed for a while and then Jens collected enough money to return to Cape Town to finish his college degree. He then took a position with a Jackie Stewart’s team in England. He got to work on some really cool projects with the Formula 2000 cars (1 step below Formula 1). Things came full circle when Jens hopped on another sailboat and returned to the US. He was offered a warehouse job by his original sailing partner who stayed in the US. He worked in that business for several years and took a break from the racing scene.
Years went by and a friend turned Jens on to an injector company that was up for sale. It was appealing to him because the product was physically small, the time requirement for the business wasn’t too large, and the price was right. So Jens decided to buy the company and enter the injector market in 2007. This company was called Fuel Injector Clinic. He has grown the company to 9 employees over this time and still enjoys working in the industry. This growth did not come without struggle, though. Jens had a lot of trouble with the original owner not understanding the non-compete clause written into the purchase contract. This led to a lot of headaches and litigations that ended up going nowhere.
Fuel Injector Clinic has teamed up with ASNU in an attempt to create the volume needed to be taken seriously by the injector manufacturers as far as scale goes. FIC has also partnered with Holley to help match their injectors for all the newly EFI controlled Pro Mod cars. JKens believe that the company should work for you, not the other way around. He values his work/life balance and tries to not work crazy hours all the time.
Looking forward, Jens is excited about direct injection and is looking for possible partnerships with pump companies. And he sees a rejuvenation of the port injection with all of the issues being seen with direct only injection engines, mainly dirty valves. This provides another avenue to sell aftermarket injectors.
Ryan grew up in Monterey, CA and enjoyed the car scene of that area. His really got into cars was with a Honda CRX back in 1999 and began doing modifications and even engine swaps. He moved to San Jose for college and continued working on his passion for the CRX’s. He started a small wiring business out of his apartment during college to makes small looms and sub-harnesses. This started to grow and Ryan decided to leave college to devote his time to the wiring business. He moved into a house with some friends and turned the place to his own personal wiring shop! But he quickly realized that he needed a more legitimate space to work. So he moved back down to Southern California and rented a shop to grow the business.
Since moving, he has continued to grow the business to a 2200 sq ft facility and has hired a couple employees. And he still has a partner, Peter, who has been with him from the start. They have accumulated quite the inventory of connectors, plugs, and wires that are needed for the many harnesses they produce.
The bulk of their business comes from ready-made harnesses that are kept in stock. But they do still work on custom projects and customer cars to bring more awareness to the company. And Ryan also teaches a Wiring 101 class for High Performance Academy.
Brain is a self-proclaimed geek who spent most of his early years at Radio Shack. He was very interested in electronics and building model rockets. Never did he imagine that he would be programming machines to port heads for some of the fastest cars out there.
When Brian turned 18, he joined the Navy and bought a Z28 Camaro. This sent him down the path of performance cars. In 1993, he started Total Engine Airflow and started porting heads. He then began working for Holley Performance doing product development. He didn’t last long at this job due to disagreements with the management. So he left the job and restarted Total Engine Airflow in 1996. He really stepped things up in 2001 when he bought a 5-axis CNC machine building heads for some really big name shops. He was approached by Trikflow who ended up buying his business in 2004 to join the Summit team.
All of this leads to him starting Brian Tooley Racing around 2010. His business only sells what it has in stock and even has a real-time quantity tracker right on the website. His business continues to grow and he is nearing completion of a much larger fulfilment center to meet the growing demands. Brian is a self-taught businessman and has spent many hours absorbing as much knowledge as possible to improve his situation.
Brian Mack initially had aspirations of becoming an astronaut and got his Aerospace Engineering degree in college. After college, he took a job at Pratt & Whitney where he got to work on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. He went on to work for a company designing replacement parts for gas turbine engines for power plants. But, within a year, the company was sued by GE for patent infringement. This was Brian’s first experience with patent law and got to see the mix of engineering, science, and law together. From this, he decided to move and pursue his law degree. He has worked with software companies, energy companies, engineering firms, and one of the Big Three auto manufactures on patent work.
Lathrop & Gage has a long history of providing counsel for all sorts of legal matters. This podcast covers the specifics of patent law and we will be featuring more podcasts that cover other areas pertaining to the aftermarket automotive industry.