I was raised by a single mother and part time father. From as early as I can remember I was faced with hardship or what I refer to as challenges. We had no money, usully lived in trailers and apartments, to say the least I lived a very humbling childhood watching my mom work 2-3 jobs a week. I learned compassion, perseverance and to always be honest and straight forward from my mother. She was also an entrepreneurial woman. She worked in bars and bowling alleys most of her life and eventually opened her dream business a few short years before passing away.
Like most other boys growing up my bike was my main source of transportation, and of course it was fast. Well as fast as I could make it sound anyhow. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood and most of my life come from hot, dirty and late nights at the local dirt track watching stock cars. My grandfather used to take his family to the stock car races and once I was old enough my mother started taking me. One night my name was called as junior fan club and I got an opportunity to ride in the stock car of one of my favorite drivers. From that moment on I was hooked and my life started in the automotive industry. I spent the next six years sweeping floors, pounding and sanding on cars at a family owned auto body shop learning the fine art of inspection, estimating and valuation of cars and classic cars. These days I support the local dirt track drivers and sport by sponsoring 10 stock cars where you can see them race at over 5 tracks in the local area.
A month after I turned 16 my mother passed away from cancer and I went to live with my father. Dad was always a handy man, the jack of all trades and hands on kinda guy. My father had a love for all types of vehicles from old classic cars, sports cars and trucks and tractors. I learned a lot from my dad including how to drive anything under the sun. His way of teaching me how to drive something was not to be afraid of jumping in and playing with the bells and whistles and put it to work. I’ve taken that lesson and put it to use in every inspection I perform, test everything.
I learned much more from my father than just how to drive and fix things. Dad was also an entrepreneur. He owned and operated his own landscaping and handyman business for 10 years. He taught me how to run a business, what true customer service is and that you have to spend money to make money and I have purchased some of the leading diagnostic tools to ensure I provide quality information to my clients. I have taken those lessons in my younger life and put those into practice in my business model. Customers first, do what your customer wants but always help them know what they need and provide that to them. Your customers are what pay your bills and put food in your mouth, never jeopardize that.
Shortly after I turned 19 I joined the U. S Army as a way of learning a trade, leadership and discipline. I had a few options, infantry, air assault, cook or mechanic. I choose to be a “63H Heavy Track Repairer” which meant I was going to rebuild tank engines and transmissions, however I ended up working on a lot more vehicles and equipment than I ever imagined. The maintenance unit that I was attached to was responsible for all equipment in the brigade. I eventually promoted high enough and was assigned to a direct support plus unit where we rebuilt turbines for the M1A1/A2 battle tank. I had the pleasure of inspecting and repairing 2 1/2 ton, 5 ton trucks, the well known Oshkosh HEMMIT, HMMWV, LMTV, HLMTV, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Generators, Boat Engines and a lot more.
During my 6 years of military service my recruiter kept his promise of seeing the world, I just never imagined it would be 3 different countries in 6 years. I deployed 3 separate times, first to Bosnia in the winter of 1999-2000, then to Kuwait in the late summer to winter of 2001 and then a short tour in Iraq supporting the 1st Marines as they marched into Baghdad where I lost my battle buddy and best friend.
Over the last 20 years I have worked in multiple commercial truck shops, worked for Adesa Auto Auctions as a auto inspector, worked as a warranty administrator, purchasing manager and college instructor of automotive and diesel technology. In 2009 I started Test Drive Technologies to help consumers know, understand and feel safer about their vehicle purchases by providing pre-purchase inspections. To date I have performed well over 3000 inspections of all types of vehicles including used cars, classic cars, antique vehicles, buses, commercial trucks, motorhomes, campers, 5th wheels and even a couple auto repair shops being sold.
I have held multiple certifications including automobile master level ASE certification and HD truck master certifications. I hold a National Wheel End and Seals certification, HAZMAT certification and appraisal certification. I am also a level II certified RV inspector through the National Recreational Vehicle Inspector Association and a member of multiple organizations to keep up with the ever changing market and technology.
I have been certified as an expert in multiple courts including but not limited to Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Louisiana, and Federal Court. I have provided well over 100 expert witness inspections for automotive lemon law, dealer fraud, misrepresentation and failure to disclose damages. I have testified in both state and local courts, provided over 40 depositions and I have work for both plaintiffs and defendants.