Andy’s enthusiasm towards cars came from his father. They would spend nights and weekend working/modifying older cars. Then they got into carting and quickly graduated up to racing shifter carts. This transitioned into a quick stent learning to race open wheel cars at the Skip Barber Racing School. Throughout all of this, Andy held on to his passion of filming and sharing his experiences with outdoor activities. To pursue this as a career, he enrolled in Sacramento State University and majored in video Production.
Years later, he got married, moved to Temecula in southern California, and got a job at the TEN (The Enthusiast Network) in the motorcycle group. He even raced motocross for a while and produced a video series about racing. When he and his wife became pregnant, Andy moved to a more stable and secure job at Wilwood Brakes as a media coordinator.
Then an opportunity came up at Seibon as a project manager. This job turned out to be a marketing strategy to launch a new brand directed to the domestic market. Seibon has been a well-known name in the import market, but they were having lots of trouble getting a few dozen different parts to sell to domestic cars.
Andy and a few other employees were tasked with creating this new brand and set out to utilize all of the core strengths and hit the ground running. Within 1.5 years, they grew from 35 part numbers to over 300 different parts and continue to make new parts all the time.
Episode 100 features a very special guest! Reid Lunde sits down on the other side of the table for his own interview. He has spoken with dozens of other influencers in the business, but never had a chance to really share his story. Now, he gets his shot!
Reid’s first experience with cars came in the form of RC racing when he was a kid. Not coming from a car family, he pretty much went out on his own to find inspiration. When he got into high school, his love of full size cars started. He made money at a telemarketing agency and saved up for an engine for his Honda. He spent a short while taking business classes while dreaming of speed. He finished his Associates degree and had plans to finish up his Bachelor’s degree. But, he just couldn’t get excited about school and just wanted to get to work.
In the early 2000’s, he started modifying cars in a friend’s backyard. Then they stepped it up and started renting a building. He has been growing the business in the Honda market for over a decade. A few years ago, Reid dove into the Chevy platform and that provided a whole new set of challenges because the market is so much different. But he persevered and now offers warrantied performance upgrades through a local Chevy dealership for his Corvette packages. To expand the business like this, Reid separated the business into two unique entities: Kaizenspeed for the domestic side and KS Tuned for the imports. This way, he can separate the content between the Honda and Corvette platforms and focus on each customer base independently.
Ron Sledge has spent his life excited about cars and knew from an early age that he wanted to work on them as a career. He started his career in the aftermarket in the early 70’s at Michigan Engine Bearings as an industrial engineer. He got them involved in NASCAR in the early 80’s and traveled all over the country going to the races. In 2010, Ron starter working at King Engine Bearings. Ron has worked to double the sales since he started and solidified King Engine Bearings as a premier motorsports-grade bearing.
He has stayed in Kentucky, and now gets to work from home. King Engine Bearings employs several people scattered all over the country to maintain operations in North America. King Engine Bearings is actually headquartered in Israel, so it is paramount to have good communication among all employees. In total, King has about 250 employees with manufacturing and sales worldwide.
King focuses on OE replacement bearings, high performance upgraded bearings, and even aviation bearings. They work closely with customers to determine which platforms to develop new products for. They will be releasing a new coating this year which they released at PRI 2016 to address some of these customer concerns.
Kenny immigrated to the US from Vietnam and acquired his love of cars through his cousin who subscribed to every car magazine imaginable. They would pour over pictures and specs and dreamed of owning one of these sports cars. His passion for cars continued to grow and in 1995, he started to work at Jo-Tech which was started by his brother-in-law. Kenny was going to college for business administration but decided to purchase Jo-Tech instead of finishing his degree. The opportunity was too good to pass up, so he took the plunge and bought the business.
Kenny quickly grew the business and began sponsoring a drag racer to get his name out there. They were doing good and going faster and faster each time they went out. Sadly, while his team was repairing the car on the side of the road one night, they were hit by a drunk driver and totaled the car and severely injured several people. Kenny tried to bounce back by building his own car, but that was also hit by somebody and totaled. Not one to quit, Kenny went and purchased a Civic with lofty goals of making it run 11’s in the quarter mile. They were successful in their first night with the car and then quickly got down into the 10’s.
Coming from this success, Kenny decided to take the car to California to compete with the big guys. They were able to set the world record for a Honda Civic and solidify their name as a very fast performance shop. While going to many races each year, Kenny happened to meet a marketing director at Scion and they wanted to partner up on a drag car. He capitalized on this new relationship and then leveraged that to work with other companies to join as partners with the racing program. Kenny has taken this success and built up quite the reputation as an elite GTR builder but he also works on many other platforms to meet the needs of his customers.