Matt Beenen has always been interested in how things worked and his parents facilitated this fascination. As he grew up, Matt was interested in vehicle technology and pursued this passion by getting a Mechanical Engineering degree in college. He got involved with the SAE Mini Baja team at college. This gave him insight into teamwork, scheduling, and actually manufacturing a race vehicle.
After college, Matt got a job at BAE Systems and worked as a systems engineer. On the weekends, he modified and raced his 2006 Subaru STI. This is where he met some of the GrimmSpeed employees. An engineering position opened up at GrimmSpeed and Matt jumped on the opportunity. Matt was doing engineering work for them and also manage their product development path. He stepped up and worked to improve the operations of the business and began bringing on other engineers and developing processes at the company.
GrimmSpeed now has 13 employees but keeps a very entrepreneurial working mindset, meaning that each employee may perform various roles throughout the day. They recently moved facilities and currently occupy 18,000 square feet. This facility is where they do the R&D, marketing, fabricating, inventory storage, and shipping. They are expanding their products to more platforms and will be introducing stage upgrades with parts and off-the-shelf tunes.
Jud Massingill was born in Houston and has lived there his whole life. He attended the University of Houston and met his wife there. They have been married since the 70’s and she was the person who motivated Jud to make The School of Automotive Machinists (SAM). Jud got started racing at the circle tracks and caught the eye of an investor who wanted to back his racing team and open up a machine shop. This investor decided to spend his time and money elsewhere and offered the business for Jud to buy. He jumped on the opportunity, hired a few guys, and took a swing at running the own engine machine shop.
One day, Jud and his wife were eating dinner and he was commenting on how hard it was to hire skilled employees to run the machines. His wife suggested he open up a school and actually teach people to do it! So, she spent a couple years filing paperwork and submitting to become an accredited teaching institution.
Over the years, Jud has kept it as a family business. His wife still runs the day-to-day operations, Jud teaches many of the classes, his son does the marketing and drives one of their drag cars, and his daughter handles and advises the students. They have worked very hard to make the school as good as possible and recently designated A National School of Excellence by the accreditation committee. This is something that less than 1% of vocational schools have achieved, and they’ve done it two times in a row!
They currently occupy 30,000 square feet but have ambitious plans to double their footprint. They employ around 30 people at the school and have around 200 students. The SAM courses include; Block Machining, Head Machining, Engine Block Combination, CNC, EFI, and Associate Degree program. Students can take one or all of these classes. Jud is very proud that they are among the top 1% of vocational schools when it comes to job placement.
Jason grew up in Orange County, CA and has always enjoyed going fast and being involved with fast cars. He was particularly fond of the late 80’s and early 90’s import tuners cars. In 1995, Jason purchased a brand new Honda Civic hatchback SI and began installing parts before he even brought it home! Things got extreme pretty fast and before he knew it, Jason was swapping motors in his Honda and in his friends’ cars. Jason became a crew chief for one of his friends and found a skill in organization and planning events. He used this skill to get a job at Super Street Magazine to produce the events they held.
In 2004, Jason and the guys at Super Street had the grand idea to hold a Time Attack style event like the ones they saw in Japan. The plan was to hold it after SEMA in hopes that a lot of the professional Japanese teams would stay longer and participate. A lot of the rules were created around what Jason knew best, and that was drag racing. That is why the event has no power limitations, but instead uses tire width and tread wear to break up the classes. They held several events but Jason later left Super Street to pursue jobs at other automotive enthusiast companies.
Fast forward to 2010 and Jason is once again excited about hosting his own Time Attack race series. He teams up with a partner and holds a press conference at the SEMA show to announce Global Time Attack. They team up with NASA (National Auto Sport Association) to bring some legitimacy to their program. He has since broken out to run the series by himself. There are 3 main events: Road Atlanta, NOLA Motorsports, and GTA Super Lap Battle. Jason also organizes some Pro-Am events local for the California people throughout the year.
GTA Super Lap Battle is still the largest and most publicized event. It is held the Thursday & Friday after SEMA and draws a huge collection of cars, spectators, and media!
Louis Gigliotti was born into racing and his father, Lou Gigliotti, took him to his first race when he was 4. He was welding and building tube chassis cars in his early teens. For college, Louis chose Purdue University to be close to Indianapolis and racing. Purdue had a Formula SAE team and Louis joined to pursue his passion of building cool and fast cars.
Louis left school early and worked for the family racing business and competing in World Challenge. This lasted a few years before Louis decided to branch out on his own and started GSS Speed with a partner. That business only lasted 6 months before Louis decided to close the doors and go back to work for his father. He got into the same cycle of working too many hours over too many days and became burned out again. This led him to start Gigliotti Racing where Louis would work small jobs for various other shops. This arrangement worked well for him and work continued to come in without him having to go out and hunt for it. An opportunity presented itself when a local shop at a race track became available.
Louis jumped on the opportunity, moved into the space, and became GSpeed. He and his partners rent 7500 square feet of garages and have a total of 12 people. Louis stresses tracking data within his shop and making sure they are doing the right things to be successful.
Cole Powelson grew up racing BMX bikes and first worked assembling bikes at a shop. When he was in high school, he began transitioning his passion towards cars. Fast & Furious came out and this drew Cole to the tuner scene. He went to a technical school and even attended a Porsche factory training program in Atlanta when he was 20. By 22, he had moved back to Salt Lake City and was turning wrenches for a race team while worked at a dealership full time. Around this time, Miller Motorsports Park opened up and provided Cole with more and more motorsports opportunities.
Cole was slowly building up his performance shop while still working full time. This allowed for an easy transition when the time came to do it full time because he already had systems and customers in place to make a go at it. Because of this, he was turning a profit by the second month of running LYFE Motorsport full time. While there were struggles along the way, his preparation and planning helped to mitigate their effect on his business.
Even though he has been in business for several years, growing the business still excites him! His success in racing has opening a lot of doors for cool opportunities. His shop is now 7500 sqft with several lifts, a shipping area, composites area, and a fabrication spot. He also has a 1000 sqft space at Miller Motorsports Park which has a lift and can be used during track events. Lastly, he has 5000 sqft of storage for cars. He employs 7 full time people which he has hired from all over the country, and even from Canada.
He and his team of guys now hold the crown for the fastest R35 Time Attach GRT on the planet with their recent win against the HKS GTR.