“I don’t believe the traditional education system alone does enough to give kids, especially young girls, enough real-world experience for them to try out different learning types, career paths, or growth tracks. Athena Racing allows students to gain experience through creative and challenging activities.“
BUSINESS OPERATIONS MANAGER
I have an unconventional story for my career path. I started by working my way up through fine dining restaurants in the Napa Valley after high school. While learning to become a front of the house manager, I also realized I had a knack for understanding the layout and most efficient workflow of a restaurant. I started to focus on setting up new restaurants in the area. I called it “engineering restaurants”.
I also kept my passion for cars alive by training to become a race care builder and technician through the Jim Russell’s Mechanics Training Program at Sonoma Raceway. While working so closely with the driving instructors at the school, I fell in love with the idea of teaching people to control and properly use performance vehicles. I was able to turn this into a part time career and spent five years traveling the country with World Class Driving. We used our fleet of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and other exotics to put on driving experiences for the road and the track, and even rented out airports to do 200 MPH events.
Once my wife and I started our family, I decided to go back to school for my BS in an automotive-focused field. While attending Western Washington University full time, I managed a 45-person FSAE team where a group of college students come together each year to learn real world, applicable skills through the process of designing, building, and competing in a race car.
After graduation and numerous successful years with the race team, I was hired to Motivo Engineering as a project manager. I was able to work my way up to Product Manager, then to my current role as the Business Operations Manager. In an attempt to add to my current “toolbox” I am currently enrolled at Kansas University, pursuing my MBA.
I believe the most productive teams are not so much about having the best people, but having the people who work best together. This is the credo I use while working with my team at Motivo Engineering and previously used while managing fine dining restaurants in Napa, CA. It is the skills I have learned from these leadership positions, as well as my technical education from WWU and my masters business education from KU, that allow me to work dynamically in all types of engineering, product development, and business scenarios.
My strengths lie in my ability to lead a team that is working toward a common goal. This includes building a structure that all members can function at the highest level within, creating metrics and databases for accountability and knowledge transfer, and motivating the group to work through problems and look at each challenge with an analytic and data-driven mentality. With my technical background, I regularly have in-depth, challenging, high-level conversations with engineers and manufacturers. I am also willing, and able, to step in and “get my hands dirty” when the situation calls for it. Working towards by MBA has given me the tools to take on business-oriented challenges that I may face in any role. I strive to be a leader that can empower each team member, including myself, to reach beyond their current skill set and abilities to make the team stronger.
Outsides of focusing on work or school related tasks, I spend time with my family, building LEGO, playing basketball, and still messing around with anything that moves, whether it is my son’s go kart, my daughter’s scooter, or my motorcycle.
HOW TO BECOME ATHENIAN
Teachings of a Mentor
I feel I have a high level of skill of developing systems and teams in such a way that a group with different skills can come together and achieve a common goal. My intention is to help the members of Athena Racing see that there are many options when it comes to finding success in education, careers, and life.
Taking the lead, I helped to rebuild the Formula SAE team at Western Washington University. Building our car in one year to go to the competition for the first time in 4 years was a major feat. We then followed up the next year with a top 10 finish.
Finding creative ways to get over hurdles in life, showing your value when it is not obvious, and how to keep your eyes up (both on the track and in life).