All posts by David Bruno

Former club archivist as well as lead SOEC creative director, 2005-2017.

FROM NIKE TO BOEING

By: CHUCK CHIANG on January 23, 2007
Original Article: BULLETIN, THE (BEND, OR)

Bend, Ore. Area Engineer Devises Machine Solutions

Jan. 23–For someone who has worked with machines all his life, Wes Hoekstra’s hobby isn’t surprising.

Hoekstra, owner of S & W Engineering Co. located about 10 miles northwest of Bend, recently acquired a 2007 Saleen/Parnelli Jones Limited Edition Mustang, one of only 500 produced by the sports car customizing company.

“That seems to be the weakness for us engineers,” he said regarding his Mustang, the newest in his collection of eight cars.

Hoekstra’s affinity to moving metal is understandable. For 30 years, he has designed and produced intricate machines — some as large as a cube 7 feet tall and 7 feet wide — capable of producing anything from firearms engravings to airplane brakes.

The machines take roughly three months for Hoestra’s permanent staff of three to complete

from scratch, and are used by manufacturers mainly for cutting material into specific shapes, which would then be combined with other components for an end product.

Last year, S & W produced 21 machines for Beaverton-based Nike Inc. at roughly $200,000 each. The machines produce the nitrogen air-bubble soles used in the company’s new Air Max 360 line of shoes.

“We had to make sure we can make parts for shoes that would fit (Miami Heat all-star basketball center) Shaquille O’Neal, whose shoe size is 24,” said Hoekstra, 69.

The machines, which helped Nike streamline its manufacturing operations, have garnered attention for Hoekstra and his company. Industry news source Sporting Goods Intelligence ran an article on S & W in December, and Hoekstra is now talking with The Boeing Co. about making machines for the Chicago-based aerospace giant.

Hoekstra, a native of Minnesota, credits his father for the career path, which led to S & W Engineering and the products, which have been nicknamed “incredible machines.”

“My dad was a master machinist,” he said. “I guess I’m just in that image.”

QUESTION: How did you start working with Nike?

ANSWER: What happened was, Nike found me. They said they’ve been looking for about a year for someone who can work on a concept of a new shoe that they are about to do, and the parts involved cutting out materials ultrasonically.

When Nike came to me, I gave them a lecture on the machine design I had in mind, and they called me two days later, saying that I won (the contract). It was a big job to get, and these machines are the most state-of-the-art, sophisticated ones Nike now owns.

Q: You started S & W 30 years ago. Why?

A: At the time, I was in the aerospace industry, and the (sector) was on a downswing. I had a lot of ideas (about manufacturing machines) that I wanted to develop, so I began making them.

Someone started calling them “incredible machines,” and that’s where the name came from.

I’ve done this for 50 years.

It’s my niche. It would take hours for me to get through all the processes involved in making machines with such high levels of precision, and for operations as complex as this, it usually takes a large team (to develop these machines). The advantage I have is that I can do it all.

Q: What’s driving you to produce these machines, besides your expertise for electronics and mechanical engineering?

A: My whole emphasis is that I am a big proponent of keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States. Had Nike not have ordered these machines, the job (of making these components) would have gone overseas to China, and it would have taken 150 Chinese workers to replicate the work being done by one of my machines, operated by one person.

To me, (keeping manufacturing in the United States) is extremely important. It’s imperative that American manufacturing increases its efficiency, because we’ll lose it if we don’t. We have to be competitive in the global market, and if we don’t take some labor-intensity out of the jobs, they’ll go overseas where labor is cheaper.

Q: Is Central Oregon’s location a problem, since many of your clients are not local?

A: I personally drive the machines over to Beaverton, so it isn’t a problem. We can go anywhere (with the machines).

When we lived in Santa Barbara, (Calif.), 15 years ago, (Central Oregon) was where we vacationed, and we knew that Bend was going to get discovered one day. Everything’s here. You have the rivers and the lakes for fishing and white-water rafting, and you have the mountains for hiking, biking and skiing. That’s why we bought 49 acres of land out here 15 years ago.

Q: What’s next in S & W’s plans?

A: Right now, we’re in the process of getting the certifications done for Boeing, because we’re getting ready to make some machines for them. The machines will make components for their 787 Dreamliners, and that’s huge. They already have 500 planes sold, and their manufacturing has to get up to 10 planes a month.

But what we’re really trying to get into is in-factory automation. It’s heavy in specific designs because every step of a manufacturing process is different, depending on the application.

I don’t care to get (S & W) huge, but we may have to.

And if we that happens, we may have to move to a larger commercial space, probably something in the area’s three cities (Bend, Redmond or Sisters).

A JONES FOR A MUSTANG

By: MARK VAUGHN on January 22, 2007
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 57 ISSUE 4

Parnelli just wanted a paint job for his ’70 ‘Stang, instead he got 500 new ones with his name on the side

You could count the American racers with the credentials of Parnelli Jones on one hand (assuming no band saw accidents): Dan Gurney, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Carroll Shelby. They are an elite bunch, with championships in diverse arenas as well as enough engineering smarts to start their own car companies, which a couple of them did.

It’s not necessary to review Jones’ accomplishments, but just in case you were born in the video-game age, here we go: He won the Indy 500 in 1963 in a car called “Old Calhoun” and almost won it again in 1967 in that whooshing-cool turbine car; won the Trans-Am championship back in 1970 when it was a bigger deal than NASCAR, by only a single point over the formidable Mark Donohue; won the Baja 1000 twice in that wild “Big Oly” Bronco with the huge wing on top; and took a class win at Pikes Peak in 1963 driving a Mercury stock car. That’s in addition to numerous sprint car titles, USAC championships and a career begun as a jalopy driver on the dirt tracks of Southern California.

He was even more successful as a team owner with business partner Vel Miletich, winning 53 Indy car races and the Indy 500 twice with Al Unser driving. He ran his own Formula One team from 1974 to 1976.

His business sense, with that of Miletich, meant most of Southern California at one point drove around on the Firestone tires he sold. (“Get Your ‘Stones From Parnelli Jones,” the bumper stickers said.)

So last year, when Jones inquired at Saleen about getting his personal 1970 Mustang repainted, it wasn’t like just your average 5.0 reader had wandered into Saleen Inc.

Steve Saleen, meanwhile, is no slouch, with a long racing resume of his own that includes nine championships and an even longer carbuilding CV, first as a “tuner” (a word Saleen now abhors), then as an increasingly bigger manufacturer of everything from S281 Saleen Mustangs to Ford GTs and the all-conquering street-blaster twin-turbo S7.

So when these two automotive forces came together, they almost had to produce more than just paint.

“At first I just wanted a paint job,” said Jones. “Then we got to talking.”

Long story short, since we only have two pages, they made the Mustang you see here, a car inspired by Jones’ Trans-Am championship-winning Boss 302 of 1970.

“The whole purpose is really a tribute to Parnelli,” Saleen said. “We tried to capture all the things that were memorable in that period of time.”

Those memorable things come in cues both subtle and obvious from front to rear on the car, including, Saleen said, “…the stylized headlights with that ’70s slant, the chrome detail that was so popular at the time, the sports slats on the rear glass, the wing, and the big number 15 on the side.”

The cosmetics are just the beginning.

“To be authentic, it had to have an honest-to-goodness 302 motor.”

That motor starts as a 4.6-liter modular three-valve sohc V8. Saleen strokes and bores it to 5.0 liters, adds 24 pounds/hour injectors, ported aluminum heads, performance camshafts and dual exhausts. The engine management is recalibrated to make the most of those improvements, and then the stock internal parts are replaced with forged-aluminum pistons, forged-steel con rods and a forged-steel crank so the whole thing doesn’t blow up.

“That’s an honest blueprinted engine with 400 hp and 390 lb-ft,” Jones added.

The transmission is a five-speed manual with a short-throw shifter routed to an 8.8-inch differential with a 3.73 final drive.

To get all the power to the ground and be able to drive around a corner with it, the Saleen crew went to work on the suspension. The heart of the setup is the Watts linkage in the rear, which replaces the Panhard rod found in the stock ‘Stang.

“A Panhard rod works well for NASCAR where you’re always going left, but it’s not real good for going over bumps and transitioning,” said Bill Tally, vp of engineering at Saleen.

While the Parnelli/Saleen rear is still built around a solid-beam axle (an IRS would have been too complicated and expensive), it is kept on the ground by two cleverly placed Watts links on each side, swiveling from outboard body mounts directly onto the back plate of the diff.

It allowed a stiffer rear antiroll bar and a generally stiffer setup without any great compromise to ride quality.

The rest of the setup includes RaceCraft Suspension pieces like stiffer springs, shocks and bushings front and rear, none of which is shared with any other Saleen Mustang.

We drove a short route with Jones himself over the twisting hills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula where he lives.

The car is smoothly improved over the stock ‘Stang in every department. You feel the extra power and torque, naturally, but you also get much better steering feel and quicker cornering. The whole thing works together well; it’s not like a crude aftermarket setup with a monster blower and no brakes.

“I call the car ‘happy,'” said Jones. “It’s a lot of fun to drive, it’s a real balanced car, exceptionally balanced.”

Your checkbook better be exceptionally balanced if you want to buy one, though, since the price is $59,015. There will be only 500 made, and more than half of those are already ordered. If you want one, you’d better log onto www.saleen.com pronto.

Or maybe there’s no rush. Saleen points out that Jones’ teammate on that 1970 Trans-Am team was George Follmer, who drove an almost identical Boss 302 Mustang and has indicated he is not averse to a commemorative Mustang of his own. So you never know.

SALEEN/PARNELLI JONES LIMITED EDITION MUSTANG
ON SALE: Now
BASE PRICE: $59,015 (plus $1,300 gas-guzzler tax and $1,550 transportation)
DRIVETRAIN: 5.0-liter, 400-hp, 390-lb-ft V8; rwd, five-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT: 3550 pounds
FUEL MILEAGE: n/a
0 to 60 MPH: 4.5 seconds (est.)

TEXAS HOT RODS THR MUSTANG PARTS PERFORMANCE ANNOUNCES SPECIAL INCENTIVES FOR SALEEN SERIES IV 99-04 MUSTANG AND SERIES VI 05-06 MUSTANG SUPERCHARGERS

Texas Hot Rods THR, the first authorized Private Dealer of the complete Saleen line of Mustang parts and accessories, has announced special discounts on Saleen Superchargers through the end of the year.

news_2005_THR_logo

El Paso, TX (PRWEB) December 21, 2006

Texas Hot Rods (http://www.texashotrods.com) THR Mustang Parts Performance, the first authorized Private Dealer of the complete Saleen line of Mustang parts and accessories, has announced special incentives on Saleen Series IV and Saleen Series VI superchargers before December 31st.

THR is offering incentives as an introduction to the all new Saleen 475HP upgrade kit, a kit which improves the performance of the Series VI 05-06 Mustang Supercharger by 50 horsepower. This new innovation directly from Saleen includes Saleen air box cover with 98MM equivalent mass air flow sensor, fresh air tube, 39lb injectors, 3.87-inch pulley, and a Saleen Powerflash.

“Our focus is on the customer. We install what we sell, so we have the expertise to guide our customers through the whole process from purchasing the right parts to installation assistance”

The Saleen 475 Upgrade Kit has been a long awaited improvement to the Series VI Supercharger. With a few easy bolt ons, it allows the Supercharger maximum power to significantly improve the performance of the Mustang Supercharger. The Saleen Series VI Mustang Supercharger retails for $5699 and the upgrade retails $999.

THR is offering additional incentives for customers who purchase before the last week of December. For more details, contact THR direct at 877-50-STANG (877-507-8264) or visit http://www.texashotrods.com.

As a complete mustang parts aftermarket dealer, THR offers a low price guarantee and top rated customer service. “Our focus is on the customer. We install what we sell, so we have the expertise to guide our customers through the whole process from purchasing the right parts to installation assistance,” says THR President Brian Metzger.

Saleen’s Series IV and Series VI Mustang superchargers are some of the most well receive superchargers to have come out. With Saleen quality engineering, these superchargers provide the power and look that the Mustang enthusiast is looking for in a bolt on. Saleen Enthusiasts and Mustang Enthusiasts alike will appreciate the easy bolt in installation, quality, and power that Saleen Mustang Supercharger provides.

Whether it’s for performance, looks, or speed, THR is a one stop shop for Mustangs. With 24/7 hour ordering at http://www.texashotrods.com , a low price guarantee, installation, and tech support, Texas Hot Rods THR mustang parts performance is a quickly becoming the place to shop for Mustang Parts.

# # #

Liz Metzger
TEXAS HOT RODS
915-593-6225

JDM ENGINEERING TEASES NEW SPEEDLAB DRAG CAR

From Jim D’Amore III and our friends at JDM Engineering in Freehold, NJ.

Saleen Special Vehicles of Troy Michigan under guidance from General Manager Bryan Chambers recently completed a repaint and re-body of last years JDM race car.

Some of the special features include:
* Prototype Saleen carbon fiber hood and trunk lid
* Beryllium Copper Saleen custom color
* Complete S281 exterior and interior conversion
* Saleen exterior model designation
* 06-0009 honorary Saleen serial number

Driveline specs are as follows:
* 5.4 Ford GT short block
* CNC ported 3 valve heads
* SALEEN Series VI 5.4 liter S331 Supercharger Kit
* 9 secend ET’s

Read more at: http://www.modularfords.com/

Click here to participate in the discussion.

ERINWOOD FORD ANNOUNCES NEW MARKETING CAMPAIGN ON THE WEB

One of the largest Ford Dealers in Toronto, Erinwood Ford,
expands their marketing campaign.

Toronto, Ontario (PRWEB) November 27, 2006

One of the largest Ford dealers in Toronto, Erinwood Ford, has expanded their marketing campaign to include an aggressive web promotion strategy. Their presence on the web will be promoted by Toronto Web Services.

Toronto Web Services is ideally positioned to promote Ford dealer, Erinwood Ford, to an even larger audience than ever.

“This is simply an indication of how vital internet marketing is these days,” states president of Toronto Web Services, Ted Thrasher. “Millions of people surf the net everyday. The car sales business is not immune from the tidal wave of internet development. Web marketing is key to this business just as any other.”

In recent years, the marketing of both used and new cars has taken a turn towards the internet. Before buying or selling a car, most consumers will access the convenience and accessibility of the internet to view their options. As a result, the internet is becoming a key portal to developing powerful new communication channels with prospective customers. Such trends have dictated that it is no longer enough to have only a bricks and mortar dealership, even if located in a highly visible area of the city. Being visible online has become just as important to car sales at Ford dealers in Toronto as the salesmen on the floor.

Located in Mississauga at 2395 Motorway Blvd, Erinwood Ford is the largest volume Ford dealer in the city. Erinwood is also the GTA’s first and only retailer of Saleen, limited edition, high performance mustangs. Specializing in car sales, they are “committed to being the best dealer you will ever do business with.”

For more information on how to market aggressively on the web, contact Toronto Web Services at 416.826.0660.

About Toronto Web Services:
Founded in 2002, Toronto Web Services has been at the forefront of search engine optimization since its inception. Utilizing one of the most available and pervasive technologies the world has ever seen, Toronto Web Services specializes in making the internet work for their clients.

Press Contact:
Ted Thrasher
25 Dunblaine Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M5M 2R6
416.826.0660

###

CARMAKERS SHOW OFF

By: HUBBLE SMITH on November 23, 2006
Original Article: LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL (NV)

Nov. 23–Southern Nevada automobile dealers could use a push. Maybe they’ll get it from the Motor Trend International Auto Show that runs Friday through Sunday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

It gives consumers the opportunity to compare hundreds of new models from 30 manufacturers at one location without feeling the pressure to buy, show spokeswoman Lauren Holzman said.

Sales of new cars, trucks and vans depend on changing consumer tastes, popularity of the manufacturer’s vehicle models and the intensity of competition with other dealers.

At the auto show, prospective buyers can feel the performance and handling of new Ford models, such as the Ford Edge and Expedition EL, at the Ride and Drive sponsored by Southern Nevada Ford dealers. Ford is also bringing two concept vehicles — the F-250 Super Chief and Ford Mustang GT-R.

“This show is for people who are either in the market for a new car or they want to see the concepts and exotics. They’re really the crowd-pleasers,” Holzman said.

The exotic car collection, displayed by Lamborghini Las Vegas and valued at more than $1 million, features the $600,000 Saleen S-7, Lamborghini and Spyker.

Another popular component of Motor Trend International Auto Show is Aftermarket Alley, a mix of power, performance, parts and accessories vendors. On Saturday, a team of automotive specialists will spend six hours tricking out a 2007 Mustang GT convertible, transforming it from “stock to ‘Stang,” Holzman said.

“It’s cool because nobody is driving stock any more. There’s such a trend for cars really to say who you are,” she said.

Sales of new vehicles declined 2.4 percent in the 12-month period through June, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. Automobile manufacturing product shipment fell from $93.2 billion in 1997 to $85.8 billion in 2002, according to the latest bureau statistics.

Automobile sales are certainly affected by economic cycles, increasing when consumers feel financially secure and decreasing when the economy softens and buyers postpone purchases, said Keith Schwer, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research. Still, automobile production accounts for less than 4 percent of gross domestic product, he said.

Consumers are highly sensitive to prices, Schwer said. Automotive dealers are more likely to offer generous incentives, rebates and financing deals during slow periods to maintain high sales volumes and to reduce inventories.

“I heard a guy in Michigan talk about price concessions and excess capacity in the industry. You’ve got a problem between domestic and foreign (imports). And the labor market challenge … what percentage of that is to pick up health care costs? That’s part of the bigger issue,” Schwer said.

According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, new vehicle sales account for more than half of total sales revenue at franchised new vehicle dealers. These sales generate additional revenue in other departments of new car dealers. By putting new vehicles on the road, dealers can count on aftermarket additions, repair and service customers and future trade-ins of used vehicles.

Justin Findlay, general manager of Findlay Volkswagen, said he usually goes to the Motor Trend International Auto Show to check out the competition.

“We don’t see a ton of immediate sales from it, but we do see some,” Findlay said. “A lot of times, it gives people a chance to look at all of our models.”

Findlay will be moving to general manager of Findlay Automotive Group’s new Chevrolet dealership opening in December at Las Vegas Beltway and South Rainbow Boulevard, one of several new dealerships in Las Vegas. He said Las Vegas has always had fewer dealerships per capita than other major cities around the nation.

Automobile dealers provided about 1.3 million wage and salary jobs in 2004, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sales, installation, maintenance and repair workers accounted for 63 percent of wage and salary employment. Management, office and administrative support and transportation and material moving occupations made up another 35 percent.

Average weekly earnings of nonsupervisory workers in automobile dealers were $634 in 2004, substantially higher than the average for retail trade ($371), as well as that for all private industry ($529).

Earnings vary depending on occupation, experience and the dealer’s geographic location and size. Average wages range from $9 an hour for a cleaner of vehicles and equipment to $31 an hour for first-line supervisors and managers, according to the BLS.

Wage and salary jobs in automobile dealers are projected to increase 12 percent from 2004 to 2014, compared with projected growth of 14 percent for all industries combined.

Motor Trend International Auto Show hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, $4 for active and retired military and children ages 7-12.

MUSTANG A MODERN THROWBACK

By: PEDRO ARRAIS on November 17, 2006
Original Article: WINNIPEG FREE PRESS (MB)

In variations from mild to wild, this retro Ford delivers fun, value

The venerable Ford Mustang is an unusual car — a throwback to the simpler ’60s’, when gas prices were low and horsepower high. It has endured, even prospered, virtually unchallenged domestically — arch-rivals Chevrolet and Dodge have nothing that competes with this icon.

You can get it from mild to wild — a 210-h.p V-6 or a ground-pounding 550- h.p supercharged V-8. There is one for every budget, from $24,099 for a base coupe to $83,000 for a Saleen Mustang.

I drove a relatively bare-bones Mustang coupe, to see what sort of value you get when your budget comes up against your desire for fun.

For $24,099, the 2007 Mustang comes equipped with a four-litre V-6 engine that produces 210 h.p and 240 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Power steering, keyless entry, air-conditioning, four-wheel disc brakes, power windows and cruise control rounds out the standard equipment you get at this price.

The fun starts when you turn the key. The burble from the engine is music to the ears of anybody who has driven an honest-to-goodness muscle car. Sure, the engine is two cylinders and 100 horsepower shy for most power-hungry drivers, but it makes the most wonderful sounds. It is smooth, too, going up to 5,000 r.p.m without complaint. Drop the clutch and the tires either chirp or squeal — your right foot controls the volume and length of the sound.

Straight-line acceleration is the Mustang’s forte. Cornering should be taken with a bit more thought. The Mustang’s centre of gravity feels higher than most sporty models, imparting greater lean in a corner. The tester was shod with optional 235/55R17 tires and gave good road feel. Still, caution should be exercised as the solid rear end shows its lack of sophistication by losing traction at higher cornering speeds.

The Mustang has traction control, a feature that allows drivers to put the pedal to the metal while the car’s computers work to keep the vehicle going in a straight line. The car detects loss of traction in a wheel and will reduce power, apply brakes or both to keep the rubber rolling.

The benefit is that it will try to keep you from sliding into the weeds. Feeling brave? You can turn the system off — a nice touch for the enthusiast driver who still likes to hear the squealing of tires and feel the back end sliding out under full throttle acceleration. Did I say it was fun?

The anti-lock brakes are up to the task of halting the Mustang, with secure stops and no drama.

The manual transmission is the Achilles heel of the Mustang. It’s the clunkiest manual I have driven in a long time. It takes a hard push to get it into first gear and reverse is no better. Shifts were decent but I can’t see any but the most macho drivers liking it.

The transmission gearing is good for both acceleration and leisurely cruising, with 100 km on the highway seeing the engine loafing at low 1,800 r.p.m.

Driven moderately the Mustang’s fuel economy numbers are decent and comparable with conventional people movers, at 12.3 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 7.7 on the highway.

Occupants with larger frames will be happy in the Mustang’s power seats. Generous arm room, adjustable seat height and a long seat travel all serve to make happy front occupants — even tall and wide ones. The rear seats are really meant for occasional use by youngsters. A 50/50 fold-down rear seat allows access to the modest trunk. The interior fit and finish is as good as I have seen in a North American car. The imports seem to be able to make a piece of plastic look better but Ford is catching up in this field. The optional leather seats added an up-market feel.

Visibility is very good all round, surprisingly so out the back despite the rear spoiler. The instruments are tucked in twin binnacles. They are dimly lit and made worse when wearing sunglasses. The optional chrome bezels around them and the dash air outlets are attractive in the otherwise matte black dashboard.

Retained accessory power and one-touch power windows are nice items at this price.

Twin airbags are standard but side air-bags are a $500 option. The front seatbelts are a long reach over the shoulder. Rear seat headrests are low.

The new Mustang, going on its 43rd year, shows how a sports car can age gracefully. While the V-6 model might pale in comparison — performance wise — to its more powerful brethren, it more than makes it up by an affordable price, decent fuel mileage and a high fun quotient, especially with the manual transmission.

–CanWest News Service

TIRE VISION

By: DAVE DEWITTE on November 10, 2006
Original Article: GAZETTE, THE (CEDAR RAPIDS, IA)

Nov. 10–Rob Bertling, the new owner of Tires Plus in Coralville, has never doubted the conventional business wisdom that you have to believe in yourself, and “keep the vision.”

“You stay the course, and no matter what comes you have to do that,” says the 37-year-old automobile fanatic, who met the previous owner through a mutual love of high performance Saleen Mustangs.

Even so, Bertling turned to an unlikely source of help, the Women’s Business Center of Iowa, when he had the chance to buy the retail tire and automotive service franchise from his former boss.

While the Women’s Business Center of Iowa was itself on the verge of closing last year, President Joni Thornton guided Bertling through preparation of a two-year business plan, financial projections, and a verbal presentation to lenders for financing.

“Joni took it out of my head and put it into words, to where it was presentable to the Tires Plus franchise, the tire distributors and the bankers,” Bertling said.

Bertling said Thornton even got him to control his usual habit of conversational rambling, so that bankers got the information they needed without the sales pitch.

The outcome was a loan that enabled Bertling in March to convert the opportunity into his longtime dream of owning an automotive business. He hopes to open at least one or two more Tires Plus stores in the future.

Thornton and the Women’s Business Center have taken the same advice — “believe in yourself” and “keep the vision” — to heart in recent months.

Struggling financially, the center closed its office at 136 36th St. Dr. NE in September.

Thornton, who’d overseen the center since 1998, had been paying some of the non-profit operation’s bills from her own pocket for years just to keep the doors open.

Thornton planned to find another job in the lending or startup assistance area. Eventually, she could not give up the center.

After seeing clients at her home for a month or two, Thornton reopened the center this month in a much smaller space at the APAC Building, 425 Second St. SE. She plans to redouble efforts to secure funds for the center from the state and federal government.

Thornton is working with two startups in Iowa City and two in Cedar Rapids, hoping they too will find the satisfaction that Bertling has found.

Bertling was impressed that Thornton could see the potential in his business ideas without even visiting the business he planned to buy.

“She goes by her instincts,” said Bertling, whose mother connected him with the center.

“Her compassion is wonderful.”

Despite its name, the center is not limited to assisting female entrepreneurs, a fact Thornton plans to emphasize more clearly in the future. She says the center got its start at a time when it was harder for entrepreneurial women to get lenders to take them seriously.

The center now answers its phone with “Business Center of Iowa,” a name it has registered with the state.

Bertling says that making a success of the Coralville Tires Plus, which has been trailing its peers in nearby cities, will help him leave behind a transient life of operating other people’s automotive businesses and settle down.

“When a customer comes in, I want them to feel they are entering my house,” he said. “I don’t even have ‘owner’ on my business card,” Bertling said. “I would rather have, ‘head of the house.'”

“COMPETITIVE EDGE” TV SERIES TO FEATURE THR TEXAS HOT RODS MUSTANG PERFORMANCE NATIONALLY ON SPIKE TV

Platinum Television Group is pleased to announce the selection of Texas Hot Rods for its innovative, educational television series, Competitive Edge. The company will be featured in a segment on “The Ultimate Mustang Experience” as part of the American Muscle Car Series. The show will be aired nationally on Spike TV as well as on regional cable stations.

news_2005_THR_logo

Deerfield Beach, FL (PRWEB) May 4, 2006

Platinum Television Group is pleased to announce the selection of Texas Hot Rods for its innovative, educational television series, Competitive Edge. The company will be featured in a segment on “The Ultimate Mustang Experience” as part of the American Muscle Car Series. The show will be aired nationally on Spike TV as well as on regional cable stations.

Texas Hot Rods (THR) specializes in customizing Mustangs and fulfilling dreams without breaking the bank. Employing professional installation and using the best parts are their hallmarks. “We race what we build,” is their motto. Texas Hot Rods offers a full line of parts and services–ranging from a simple part to complete rebuilds or custom vehicles.

Brian Metzger, owner of Texas Hot Rods, based in El Paso, TX, has had a long-time passion for Mustangs. He planned his company to be a one-stop shop for all Mustang car-related issues–from technical support to installation to custom vehicles. THR reaches a worldwide market through the THR online store (http://www.texashotrods.com ) and toll-free ordering line (877-50-STANG).

THR is the only Mustang Performance company that also creates custom vehicles for the Mustang enthusiast. These custom numbered vehicles come in three lines, the Rolling Chassis, Turn Key Car, and the newest Saleen Conversion.

What sets THR apart is its value and quality. Unlike other companies that just broker parts, THR specialists are always available to provide expertise to the customer. THR ships throughout the US and internationally, and deals directly through manufacturers for the best price.

Fast isn’t always easy–that’s why THR is always there for the customer. From technical advice to complete installation, THR helps customers achieve their dreams. The THR Difference – Real Experience, Best Service, at The Right Price. For more information, please visit http://www.texashotrods.com or contact THR toll free at 877-50-STANG (877-507-8264).

Platinum Television Group is an industry leader in consumer lifestyle educational shows.

# # #

Liz Metzger
TEXAS HOT RODS
915-593-6225