Built my first model. It was of a comet stick P-51 Mustang kit. When I opened the box I knew I was in over my head. But I was determined to stick with it. In the end - the model was crude but it came out alright.
From that moment I was hooked. This type of work was in my blood and I could feel it.
At age 10 I met my first mentor – the next door neighbor who owned a construction company and who was also a remote control airplane enthusiast. I was brought to construction sites to be the gopher. Carrying wood, pounding nails, doing whatever needed to be done. These early years were an extremely formative part of my education.
I was taught the value of hard work. I learned how to be attentive. Most importantly, I acquired the work ethic of a master craftsman. The skills acquired during this five year span have served me well throughout my entire life.
At 16, I joined Caterpillar Tractor Company located in Joliet, Illinois through the Coop program in high school. I worked in the engineering and training department as an illustrator. Then I started designing and fabricating models of earth moving equipment like scrapers, bulldozers and their respective components. Over the 16 years working for CAT I built in excess of 50 models. I left CAT in 1987 to go full time into model design and fabrication.
I landed at Carl Goldberg Models a company that sold radio controlled airplanes. For nine years I had the opportunity to work at my dream job, utilizing my entire skill-set: from concepting a project starting with a blank sheet of paper and my imagination. To sketching out rough ideas watching the blank canvas come alive with three dimensional richness. To building a prototype dealing with the real world challenges of getting an airplane off the ground. To writing and illustrating the product manual and working with vendors across the globe to manufacture and package the final kit. It is incredibly fulfilling to manage a project from concept to completion knowing you had a tangible positive effect on the company’s bottom line.
After Goldberg I went to work for Hobbico, the preeminent model firm in the country for seven years and then decided to work closer to home at Midwest Models for another six years.
These positions challenged my creativity and problem solving abilities yet gave me the flexibility to build trial models for a number of select clients. My first trial model was built in 1985 depicting a rail yard accident. Since then I’ve gone on to design and fabricate over 500+ models working on federal and state cases.