Since as early as I can remember, I have loved anything associated with the off-road lifestyle, especially anything that involved Jeeps. As a child, seeing a lifted truck or 4×4 reminded me of the old school monster trucks I saw smashing cars at the local state fair. That passion carried into my adult-hood and during high school in the mid-90s, I learned how to drive my first vehicle, which was a 1979 Jeep CJ5 mildly lifted on 33” tires. I spent many a night tinkering with the motor and electronics, trying to get as much horsepower as possible out of its tired Chevy 350 motor, which had been grafted in years before I ever bought the Jeep. I also spent time researching parts and accessories that I could install myself to make the Jeep fit more of my own personality. I remember spending half an afternoon with my dad, installing a brand new soft top to keep the occasional desert monsoon rain pour off my sun-damaged vinyl seats. As well as then taking a hundred photos so I could document and share my experience with friends. And it took that kind of support from my parents as well as many long nights working after school to afford my new found Jeep habit. But I stuck with it and soon found myself owning not one, two, or three Jeeps – but rather seven! They ranged from CJ5s to Wranglers and all had a hand in allowing me to earn my shade-tree mechanic skills.
In college, I began pursuing my degree in mechanical engineering just so I could be closer to anything related to the automotive business. I even opened my own automotive accessories shop in the early 2000s, along with a friend who would paint or pinstripe any car part people would bring to him. While the shop didn’t last too long based on owners who wanted to spend more time outdoors than in, my passion for off-roading never ended.
Fast forward to today and I have carved out a niche business of working with some of the largest brand names in the automotive industry in order to visualize, design and build project vehicles that showcase each respective vendor’s best products. This journey has taken me from the rocks in Moab to the SEMA show in Las Vegas. In fact, a Jeep I built in 2010, affectionately named “JeepZilla”, was showcased on stage when Jeep accepted the inaugural SEMA Award for “Hottest 4×4 of the Year” thanks to their efforts with the Jeep Wrangler platform.
Now that I have a family of my own, there is nothing more that I want than to have my twin sons foster the same passion for off-roading that I grew up with. Besides the strong social bonds that are created amongst wheelers who share the same trails, off-roading builds character and a chance to enjoy a slice of life along the hardest path to get to.