Mike Lewin grew up in an environmentally friendly community and then went to Purdue for Engineering. During college, he met Dan O’Donnel through the car club and they became roommates. Dan introduced Mike to Redline Time Attack and they began working on Dan’s Evo 7 to make it faster and faster for each event. While they were building the car, Dan introduced Grant to the team to help build the Evo 7. At this point, they decided to begin calling themselves the Professional Awesome.
After graduation, everybody got real jobs and worked for other companies. But they continued to develop and improve Dan’s Evo 7. Sadly, the car was totaled at Road Atlanta in 2013 and they were unable to salvage any of it. In the true spirit of motorsports, Doug Wind and Tony Szirka donated their winnings to the Professional Awesome. Then, multiple companies stepped up and offered to help them build another car. The team hadn’t really considered giving it another shot, but the encouragement and donations from friends led them to purchase an Evo 8 and start fresh.
While building this car, they took it much more seriously and tried to design and build as many aspects of the car as possible. This has morphed their business into offering engineering support and design for other racers. They have developed several aerodynamic components and help other teams setup their suspension.
Victor Alvarez grew up in Long Island, NY and used to spend a lot of time working at his dad’s and uncle’s automotive shop. Victor was around cars since a very early age but he really fell in love with them when his dad bought a Supra. His family decided to move south to Florida to take advantage of the nicer weather when Victor was 15. When they got there, his dad started another automotive shop and Victor jumped right in to work there as well. He had plans to go to college, but he had gotten so involved with and passionate about modifying cars that he decided that career path was for him.
As time went on, he continued to work on Supras and eventually met Alpha. Alpha was tuning lots of different cars and Victor’s customers would request Alpha to tune them. Victor and Alpha struck up a friendship based on their aligned business expertise and formed Induction Performance. Fast forward 5 years, and Induction Performance is about to move into a larger building to better suit their customers.
Victor also organizes FL2K every October in Florida. It is a sister event to TX2K and Victor works closely with Peter Blach (Episode 50) with the goal of bringing shops and fast cars together to drag race and roll race. It is located at Bradenton Motorsports Park on Oct 6-8, 2017.
Rory has spent most of his life working at various automotive businesses. He grew up working on and racing go carts in California. Then went to Wyotech for a formal automotive education in Pennsylvania. He then moved back to California to work for a boat shop, a hot rod shop, and a shop which recorded the Wrecks to Riches tv show. His next job was as a fabricated at West Coast Customs where he got to work on all sorts of cool projects. He transitioned into the parts department there before moving on to Callaway Cars.
This is when he really got involved with SEMA. He had been to the show many times with West Coast Customs, but decided to volunteer for the Select Committee once he got to Callaway. He was featured in SEMA’s 35 under 35 award which helped him get his next job at Body Armor 4X4. Rory then moved on to become the VP of Sales at Gibson Exhaust. His latest venture is as a sales director at Advanced Accessory Concepts where he is developing and selling a new product that he helped design.
Rory recently transitioned into the Chairman of the YEN Select Committee. His main goal is to give young people more opportunities to get together, make connections, and improve their situation at work. YEN hosts the Launch Pad Competition this year at SEMA and various networking events across the country
Dom Tucci has been exposed to hot rods his entire life. Both his dad and grandfather built many customs cars during his youth. But Dom didn’t originally envision himself working with cars. He went to Syracuse University for Industrial Design and fell in love with 3D modeling and design work. As he progressed through the program, he was still helping his dad out at Tucci Hot Rods and really did enjoy the work. It was very hands-on and required a lot of visual details that he was learning in school.
After graduating he created Dom Tucci Designs. He did renderings for his dad’s Tucci Hot Rods customers, designed various logos, and created branding material for companies. 3D printing has also become a large portion of his business. Using his design, Dom established a relationship with a 3D printer manufacturer and built over a dozen unique parts for their Ford Fiesta featured in the Ford booth at SEMA 2017. Dom is trying to showcase how this technology can be used to push the aftermarket industry to new levels.