I was born the son of an Auto Body Man in July of 1961 in Richmond, Virginia. Due to my father’s profession, I began learning my shop skills at a very young age. During high school I was bitten by the Drag Racing Bug and spent most of my weekends (much to the disdain of the young lady I was dating at the time!) at the local drag strip and worked most evenings at my Father’s Body Shop. I graduated from Manchester High School and continued working with my father over the following couple of years. The economy slowed in the early 1980’s and it impacted the amount of available work for my father’s shop.
This prompted me to join the military where I spent the next six years as an Electronics Technician in the Navy. After discharge, I attended the Hobart School of Welding in Troy, Ohio. During my time at Hobart, I met Mr. Dale Morris. He was one of the welding instructors, who spent his spare time building dragsters at his home. When he learned of my interest in drag racing we became fast friends. During this time I was hearing about the exploits of racers like Al Teague and his streamliner, my interest in land speed racing increased and I remember saying to myself, “If I could only spend some time with one of these streamliner teams.”
The years passed as I traveled throughout the US first as a welder then a Certified Welding Inspector, eventually leading me into engineering and management positions. In November 1997, I accepted a position with a firm that was constructing one of the largest semi-conductor plants in the US. This position brought me to the Portland, Oregon area, where I met my wonderful wife Laura. We met at church and as a result of other “diligent” church members, we began dating. We were married a year later in that same church and The Lord has blessed us with two lovely girls. We now live in the small town of Gaston, Oregon.
In 2001, I started my own business, Walls Consulting, LLC, specializing in code issues for ASME Piping system. Over the years the Lord has blessed this business with success. In 2005 a friend of mine suggested that we go to “Speedweek”. That trip successfully re-kindle my “inner speed demon” and I was hooked again. The trip turned out great! We met a lot of people, who not only talked with us about their cars, but welcomed us into their pits and took the time to answer all of our questions. I left Speedweek 2005 knowing that I had to find a team who would let me help them and in turn, give me the opportunity to learn more about streamliners.
In February 2006, my wife Laura and I attended the Bonneville Northwest Reunion for the second time. We sat at a table with four gentlemen from Brewster, Washington: Ed Tradup, Brian Westerdahl, Jim Socci and Richard Thompson. After the introductions, Ed Tradup casually asked me about my interest in landracing. Feeling excited and hoping he could help direct me to a team, I told him of my hope of finding a team with a streamliner that I might be able to work with. The four of them looked at each other and smiled and then Ed spoke up proudly saying “Boy do we have a job for you!” The team invited me to help out at Speedweek that year. I gladly accepted, and it has been my pleasure to be a part of this team ever since.
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