How did you first get interested in cars and restorations?
About 25 years ago, I had a 1961 Chevy Apache that I restored in high school shop class. From there, I joined the Marine Corps and became a panel beater, doing a lot of rust repair on government trucks and camo paint jobs. In 1998 I went to McPerson college in Kansas to learn the automotive restoration trade and decided I wanted to focus on metal shaping. I was lucky to get an apprenticeship under Ron Fournier in Michigan, and the amount he taught me was invaluable.
What brought you to The Forge?
My apprenticeship in Michigan was drawing to a close in 2001, and one of the guys I went to school with was working here. He let me know that the owner was looking for a metal specialist. When I started with the company there was only 3 of us, and I was given the opportunity to put my experience and training to work.
What's your role at The Forge now?
I am the general manager, but I get out on the shop floor every chance I get and either work on sheet metal repair or final assembly. I have been in the industry for a while now, but I know that I have only touched the surface of what can be accomplished. Every time I attend a class or a workshop, I pick up one more tip or expand on what I already know. There is an amazing group of metal shapers out there, and I like how as a group we share our ideas and love of the craft.