Over the last five years people have asked me how I got into the car industry. To be honest, my Mom brought me to a car show called “Barrett Jackson” in Scottsdale, Arizona when I was about 9 years old. I remember touching one of Judy Garland’s vehicles even though I wasn’t supposed to. “Do kids really observe signs?” If you don’t know who Judy is, she played Dorthy in Wizard of OZ. The car looked like a car from 101 Dalmatians, where Cruella de Vil chases puppies with rage as she races on a cliff trying to run them off the road. That car was actually modeled after the Panther De Ville which is a neo-classic luxury vehicle.
Judy Garlands car was a 1959 Mercedes Benz 220 SE Cabriolet. It had a striking contrast with red leather upholstery. Her car had a retractable black top with a white exterior and chrome side stripe. It truly was remarkable in my eyes. I had to touch the handle….
I’m pretty sure that was the day that got me interested in classic cars.
It’s funny how I associated Cruella de Vil’s vehicle with Judy Garlands car at Barrett Jackson that day but I guess when you only see cars in cartoons that’s how you envision certain bodies and models.
As I grew older, I would start to notice different vehicles that I learned to love. The next vehicle that caught my eye was a shiny red Shelby Cobra with two red strips. It was a two door roadster, a race car. I had never seen anything like it and I just had to take a snap shot with my Nokia camera in the parking lot of Kroger’s grocery store with my Dad in Denver, Colorado. I still have that picture in one of my albums. Yes, I keep photo albums.
Fast forward to 2011, I was pumping gas at a gas station when all of the sudden this crazy off-roading Ferrari looking thing drove up. It was white with black speckled strips on the side….I had to know what it was and where it came from. When I asked the guy, he said he would grab his boss-the owner of the vehicle. To my surprise, a young beautiful “cool” girl walked in with a skirt and cowboy boots. I said, “you are the owner of that awesome car?” She said “yep!” I asked, “what is that thing?” She replied, “its called the Rally Fighter.” I then responded with, “Where did it come from, where is it made?” She smiled and said, “right here in Tempe, Arizona.” I immediately went home and googled the company called Local Motors. I wrote an email explaining what I would be good at and how I could help them. After about three months, I received a phone call from a man named Jay Rogers. He happened to be the CEO of the company and he just so happen to be hiring. I was put through a series of tests and was hired. It was the best day of my life. I traveled from Arizona after two years, to Vegas, to TN, DC, & Maryland. It truly was an incredible 5 years.
Currently, I am now working for a new tech car startup that builds electric vehicles..another “dream job” in my eyes. All I can say is, whatever inspires you, go after you passion. Thing back to the times when you were a child and what used to make you smile. What made you happy as a child?
One of my greatest memories was that day at the car show with my Mom. I can thank her for introducing me to the auto world. I can only imagine what the next five years will bring. If you want to get into the automotive world, write down exactly what you want to do and where you want to work. What sets you apart and why would someone want to hire you? If you answer those questions, it will not only make you stand out, you will be ahead of the pack by providing these answer’s to your dream company. Don’t just email the jobs email or apply online. Reach out to the CEO of the company explaining who you are and why you are different. Do not be afraid to ask for a ten minute information interview.
Sometimes it takes a little grit, being at the right place at the right time and to not be afraid of someone telling you no. Every once in awhile you might get a yes and that yes can change your entire life-just like how I touched the Garland Mercedes door handle, no wasn’t an option for me. Ask for forgiveness, never permission.