Michael Sims originally hails from the Bay Area, CA, but has resided in San Diego since 2003. From a young age, he has always been interested in machines, speed, and engineering. There was never a toy that wasn’t disassembled, a bike that wasn’t jumped, or a tire that didn’t turn into a smoke factory. To this day, his kids’ scooters, e-bikes, and R/C cars undergo a driveway adhesion test to see how many cubic feet of smoke is contained within.
Michael grew up on his interests after high school by attending Universal Technical Institute in Phoenix, AZ, where he was subsequently awarded a vocational degree in automotive, diesel, and industrial technologies. During that time, he also worked as an apprentice welder and fabricator at a local off-road shop and spent many a weekend in the Sonoran deserts helping out with the race team. A short time later, Michael moved to San Diego, where he worked as a professional technician for Mercedes Benz of San Diego. However, it wasn’t long until he answered a higher calling and joined the Marines to do his part overseas.
Since then, Michael has spent 16 years in the Marine Corps, specializing in intelligence and special operations. He’s participated in three separate conflicts in three different climates. He’s acquired many skills throughout his career, from parachuting to combat diving, demolitions, driving, language, intelligence, mastery of a myriad of weapon systems and rockets, and many, many other skills. Despite the high operations tempo, he also completed two AA degrees and a BA in Economics. Nevertheless, there have been countless long days and long nights and he is very much ready to shift focus and settle for a more family-centric life.
Michael has two exceptional children, Jordan and Isabel, who are both in middle school. As a family, they enjoy snowboarding in the winter months, mountain biking and camping in the summer, along with copious, almost daily, trips to the beach for surfing and bodyboarding. Michael enjoys mentoring and teaching them about life, confidence, self-improvement, and, most importantly, classic cars and how cool they are. Jordan and Isabel both drool over who will get to drive the Fairlane to school when they turn 16.
teachings of a Mentor
“The most crucial asset we have as a nation—and as a world—are our children. Many of the challenges we face as a people require an “all hands on deck” approach to solving them. And nearly all of those problems require applied STEM. That said, we need our children to solve these problems, which means we need them to be excited about and versed in STEM if we are to avoid existential catastrophe.
Moreover, since many STEM-related careers are predominately male, it is vitally important that we work to enable an equal footing for girls to benefit from their brains, their perspective, and their tenacity. We cannot afford to leave an untapped genius mind out of the equation simply because they never had a chance to become inspired by a role model or become aware of the possibilities that exist. And for that, Athena is doing its part in providing a remedy to that imbalance.”
I’ve spent the better part of my professional life as a Marine, specializing in language, intelligence, and special operations as a Navy parachutist, Marine Combatant Diver, Arabic linguist, and Marine Raider, among many other military-related qualifications.
However, I have a voracious appetite for financial knowledge and enjoy keeping up with the global markets. I recently completed a degree in economics and have a grasp on econometrics—statistical modeling of various economic activities.
I also held, years ago, various ASE qualifications as a mechanic starting my career working for Mercedes-Benz.
My daughter is part of the Athena Racing group. It’s exciting to see her get excited and pick-up responsibilities on the Student Advisory Board. I like coaching her and setting her up for success, so I have a vested interest in Athena overall, plus I believe in Athena’s mission.
Furthermore, from a knowledgeable standpoint, I have always been involved in cars. I’ve owned close to twenty, though most didn’t work (ha). I also worked for almost three years as a full-service technician for Mercedes Benz of San Diego before joining the military. Before that, I worked as a junior welder and fabricator for an off-road racing team out of Phoenix, AZ. They had a Class 1 car and a Trophy Truck. Ultimately, I am a car and motorcycle enthusiast and enjoy keeping up with the industry and driving anything I can, like I stole it (safely, of course).
A little known fact: I was a highly competitive cyclist when I was younger and placed on a Jr Olympic development team. The only reason why I didn’t take it further is that I had competing interests, i.e., I had a 1967 Dodge Dart and a license with just enough money for gas and cruising! I’m still deciding whether or not I had my priorities straight at the time.
Navy Commendation Medal with Valor (combat)
Two additional Navy Commendation Medals
Navy Achievement Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Recognitions from foreign partners for similar actions