Conversations with Big Rich

Yellow Hats and Gas Tanks with Tony Pellegrino on Episode 58

May 13, 2021 Guest Tony Pellegrino Season 2 Episode 58
Conversations with Big Rich
Yellow Hats and Gas Tanks with Tony Pellegrino on Episode 58
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Conversations with Big Rich
Yellow Hats and Gas Tanks with Tony Pellegrino on Episode 58
May 13, 2021 Season 2 Episode 58
Guest Tony Pellegrino

What do yellow hats, gas tanks, Jeeps, and bicycle parts have in common?  Tony Pellegrino and Genright.  Tony is the founder of Genright, a company now supplying thousands of SKUs for your Jeep, listen to how it began with a gas tank.  Lots of personal history in this one with Tony and his family, Debbie, Jamie and Jordan.  Names you know in the industry.

4:37 – My parents sent us to parochial school to straighten us boys out. 

10:14 – I won an award for building a four-wheel drive radio controlled car from scratch.

12:27 – I drove home in reverse so I didn’t miss my curfew

14:41 – the start of the off-road bug

17:23 – I did my homework

18:58 – the next job found me

24:00 – I met the one

26:10 – I worked like a dog 

31:18 – remember the rc car?

36:53 – the evolution of Genright

41:43 – The problem with ramping up a company during an economic crash

49:45 – too many guys that are disconnected from reality

58:44 – the importance of trail etiquette

1:05:30 – tremendous industry relationships have come from Ultra4

1:12:02 – the origin of the yellow hat

 

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.

www.maxxis.com

www.4lowmagazine.com 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.

 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BigRich)

Show Notes Transcript

What do yellow hats, gas tanks, Jeeps, and bicycle parts have in common?  Tony Pellegrino and Genright.  Tony is the founder of Genright, a company now supplying thousands of SKUs for your Jeep, listen to how it began with a gas tank.  Lots of personal history in this one with Tony and his family, Debbie, Jamie and Jordan.  Names you know in the industry.

4:37 – My parents sent us to parochial school to straighten us boys out. 

10:14 – I won an award for building a four-wheel drive radio controlled car from scratch.

12:27 – I drove home in reverse so I didn’t miss my curfew

14:41 – the start of the off-road bug

17:23 – I did my homework

18:58 – the next job found me

24:00 – I met the one

26:10 – I worked like a dog 

31:18 – remember the rc car?

36:53 – the evolution of Genright

41:43 – The problem with ramping up a company during an economic crash

49:45 – too many guys that are disconnected from reality

58:44 – the importance of trail etiquette

1:05:30 – tremendous industry relationships have come from Ultra4

1:12:02 – the origin of the yellow hat

 

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.

www.maxxis.com

www.4lowmagazine.com 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.

 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BigRich)


[00:00:01.050] 

Welcome to the Big Rich show, this podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now's the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation. Whether you're crawling the Red Rocks of MOAB or hauling your toys to the trail, Maxxis has the tires, you can trust for performance and durability.

 


[00:00:37.950] 

Four wheels for two, Maxxis tires are the choice of champions because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition, Maxxis tires delivers Choose Maxxis, tread victoriously.

 


[00:00:56.050] 

Why should you read 4Low magazine, because 4Low magazine is about your lifestyle, the Four-Wheel Drive adventure lifestyle that we all enjoy, rock crawling, trail riding, event coverage, vehicle builds and do it yourself tech all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4Low on a newsstand rack. So subscribe today and have it delivered to you.

 


[00:01:20.450] 

On today's episodes of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Tony Pelligrino, yes, that's Tony from Genright.

 


[00:01:28.370] 

Tony's been in the off road world for quite a while. We're going to find out exactly how long he has been and how Genright got started and everything about Tony. So, Tony, I want to say thank you for coming on board today and sitting down and talking with us and letting the listeners know something about you. Pleasure to be here. So let's jump right in with both feet and we'll ask the most basic question of all. Where were you born and where did you grow up?

 


[00:01:59.860] - Tony Pellegrino

I was born here in Southern California, in Burbank, we lived in Thousand Oaks at the time, but that was the closest hospital. So, yeah, I basically grew up in Thousand Oaks, OK, so they're kind of the coast. In Thousand Oaks is it's an inland valley north of L.A., but it's really it is it on the coast or is it just inside, like over the first little coastal range?

 


[00:02:32.790] 

It's just inside that.

 


[00:02:34.230] 

So we're between Los Angeles and Ventura, but we're about as a crow flies 20 miles from the coast.

 


[00:02:42.420] 

OK, yeah, that's kind of what I thought. I went to college in Santa Barbara and I had a roommate at one time that was from Thousand Oaks. So we'd go down there once in a while and I don't remember seeing the beach, but I remember going to. Passed the beach to get there, yeah, the 101 runs right through it, and then we go through the 101 toward Camarillo Ventura.

 


[00:03:02.810] - Big Rich Klein

It goes back along the coast. That's right. OK, yeah. Cool. So you were born in Burbank, grew up or went to school in Thousand Oaks. So basically that was your hometown.

 


[00:03:14.270] - Tony Pellegrino

Yes. And when I was in high school, they expanded and started another high school over in Westlake Village.

 


[00:03:22.700] 

And I was part I lived on the line where I got transferred halfway through high school over the Westlake Village. Oh, what was that like?

 


[00:03:30.470] 

Was it would also when you were in with new kids or were you in with the same kids?

 


[00:03:36.320] - Tony Pellegrino

Some were the same. Some were new. The school was brand new. So as far as I was concerned, it was totally cool because Thousand Oaks High School, where I started, everything was old, you know, they had old projectors, old everything.

 


[00:03:49.730] 

And then when you went to the new school, it was all video and nice. So I actually really welcomed the new school. Well, that's kind of cool, did you go over when you transferred schools, did you go did they start off all the way through 12th grade or did they start off with, you know, a certain age and then bring everybody in?

 


[00:04:12.570] - Tony Pellegrino

Yeah, here in California, it's nine through 12 is considered high school. So I, I moved over for my junior year, eleventh grade. So I finished 11th and 12th at the new school.

 


[00:04:23.910] - Big Rich Klein

OK, what did you do in in Thousand Oaks when you were a kid. I mean, besides going to school, did you go play up in the mountains or what was your what was your go to on free time?

 


[00:04:37.860] - Tony Pellegrino

Well, here's a tidbit that most people don't know is I actually from grade one through eight, went to parochial school. So really, I wouldn't guess that, yeah, I'm the oldest of three boys and we were absolute terror, we terrorized the babysitter, we terrorized everything, each other, you know, we were a handful and a half. So my parents wisely sent us to parochial school to straighten this out.

 


[00:05:06.790] 

And that actually served me quite well when when I got out of that in eighth grade to go to high school in ninth grade, I couldn't believe how disrespectful the students were to the teachers. I was in complete shock how they treated it with, you know, it was just crazy. Right. Obviously, that also had me better prepared for high school because the curriculum in the private school was much more stern. So it actually made it quite easy for me to go to high school.

 


[00:05:40.060] 

So that was nice.

 


[00:05:41.600] - Big Rich Klein

And so Tim went to parochial school, too, as well. Oh, yeah.

 


[00:05:45.400] - Tony Pellegrino

Oh, yeah. Yeah. Also. And my brother Tom. So it's Tony, Tim and Tom. Yeah. OK.

 


[00:05:50.380] 

And Tom, I've never met him that. No, Tom is he lives down in San Diego. He's has been a principal superintendent. He's in the school system.

 


[00:06:02.200] - Big Rich Klein

So OK, so he's the responsible one.

 


[00:06:05.230] - Tony Pellegrino

He is the responsible one and he's got a nice family down there. Tim also lives down that direction, too. But Tom has stayed out of the off road world. He loves it. He comes out and enjoys it whenever he can. He's been at every king of the hammers, you know, brings his son, just loves it, but just just not part of his world right now, OK? So.

 


[00:06:32.350] - Big Rich Klein

So how about in high school? What were your interests?

 


[00:06:35.980] - Tony Pellegrino

Well, actually, I want to back up if I can. Sure.

 


[00:06:39.130] 

During the so when we got home from school, we had Thousand Oaks was very rural back then and we would literally come home and get right on our motorcycles or our BMX bikes and go ride.

 


[00:06:51.700] 

And it was wide open back then that that's all I dreamed about was just getting home from school, taking off. And it was so much fun. Our rules, we just had to be back by dark that that's you know, back then there was no cell phones or pagers or anything. So you either survived or you didn't one those things.

 


[00:07:12.350] 

The reason we don't get sick. Yeah, and you had to have some grit and be tough or you just faded away, you know.

 


[00:07:22.550] 

Yes, we we spent a lot of trips in the emergency room as well that take us on a first name basis because we were wild.

 


[00:07:33.410] - Big Rich Klein

So then the bicycling and motorcycles, when did you get your first motorized? Like motorcycle,

 


[00:07:43.010] - Tony Pellegrino

so my dad started me on a mini bike when I was five. Oh, wow. And there's actually a picture in my office of me on that minibike. It was published in the back then the local newspaper.

 


[00:07:57.720] 

Because in Thousand Oaks, they they have what they call Conejo Valley days and the Conejo Valley days was not only a parade and a carnival and all that stuff, a motorcycle racing was actually part of Conejo Valley Days. So I got started on that. And, you know, I've been on a motorized wheel vehicle ever since that.

 


[00:08:17.820] 

Cool. Did you take tech classes in high school or were you more Academia or were you sports orientated? That's a great question. You know, I although I enjoyed baseball and I did play soccer and did those things as a kid, by the time I got to high school, I was very interested in cars.

 


[00:08:42.840] 

I took metal shop and architecture classes. You know, I wanted to be able to design. I wanted to be able to do different things. So I enjoyed all of those.

 


[00:08:52.800] 

I never took woodshop, although I was interested in it. I didn't have that many electives that I could do, although today I build my own furniture, I'm pretty handy woodworker as well, woodworking is quite forgiving compared to metal working. So but but I'm a full accomplished machinist, both manual machines and CNC.

 


[00:09:14.160] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, excellent. OK. I never got into the machine, and my dad was a machinist, tool die maker, model maker, went all the way through all the trades and stuff, the levels, but I never got into that stuff. He never did CNC, it was all manual. And I'm not a very good woodworker. I always tell everybody I can build a hell of a deck. Just don't ask me to do any finish work.

 


[00:09:38.650] - Tony Pellegrino

And I love the finish work.

 


[00:09:40.870] - Big Rich Klein

I'm I don't think I think I've got too much ADD to sit there and, you know, make sure everything's just perfect. No way with your shop classes and stuff. When did you get your first car and what was it?

 


[00:09:57.030] - Tony Pellegrino

So what what? When I was in metal shop, I think it was my senior year, I won an award that I didn't even realize this was a thing. But my metal shop teacher recognized the projects that I was building at the time.

 


[00:10:14.670] 

I built a four wheel drive, radio controlled car from scratch machine. The differentials did everything, and the teacher was so amazed that he nominated for an industrial arts award, which I won. That was really when I kind of woke up that maybe I had some talent. So that's what I kind of embrace that and thought, OK, you know, maybe this is my calling in life. And, you know, I love making things and I love making them better than the manufacturer ever intended.

 


[00:10:48.180] - Big Rich Klein

So that's that's kind of been my thing. Sweet, and then going to that that first vehicle, you said you had motorcycles and stuff, but what was the first four wheel?

 


[00:11:00.540] - Tony Pellegrino

So when I got my driver's license, I bought a Datsun two-wheel drive pickup truck that I was determined to turn into a four wheel drive. At the time, there was a company in Azusa called Low Manufacturing, and they were racing a Class seven down in Baja truck that they had converted. They did Datsun and they did a Chevy Love. They had these conversion kits for them. And I was absolutely amazed at that and wanted one terribly bad. Of course, you know, typical kid didn't have any money.

 


[00:11:37.620] 

And I got to tell you, I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. That's for darn sure. I had to pay for my own car, pay for my own gas, pay from my own insurance. I was never handed anything when I had friends that did get all that stuff and I was quite jealous.

 


[00:11:55.260] 

But later in life, I came to appreciate.

 


[00:11:59.700] 

That those things were never handed to me because I was much more responsible with money. It also gives you that drive to you know, you want something, you figure out a way to get it. You work an extra job. You do whatever it is. If you got stuff laying around that you're not using, sell it. You know, it makes you resourceful.

 


[00:12:18.990] - Big Rich Klein

Exactly. Yeah. So what did you do with that pick up, did you get it converted to four wheel drive?

 


[00:12:27.320] - Tony Pellegrino

So I never got the Datsun convert to a four wheel drive? I, I lifted it, you know, I gave it a body lift. I put it out three years. I drove the daylights out of it. I'll tell you a funny story. I used to, you know, after school work, everything, I would take it out at night and wheel it in the hills because remember, we lived in this area, right?

 


[00:12:48.170] 

Well, I had a curfew of 11:00 p.m.. And we were trying to get up this hill, climb me and my buddy, we ended up wrecking the forward gears in the transmission. So I only had reverse and I knew I had a curfew. So I had to drive that thing all the way home in reverse.

 


[00:13:06.970] 

And it was a long way. We were probably five or ten miles out. And I remember thinking, well, if I'm going in reverse, which side of the street should I actually be on right now?

 


[00:13:17.800] 

Like. But, you know, back then, it was a fairly small town and at night, you know, they like rolled up the sidewalks and there was really nobody out and I was able to drive it all the way home and make it in time for my curfew.

 


[00:13:31.810] 

Oh, so you didn't get grounded, too. I didn't get grounded in that.

 


[00:13:36.460] 

I talked my dad into giving me a ride over to the junkyard where I did a pick apart, you know, where I pulled another transmission and then put it in my truck.

 


[00:13:45.970] - Big Rich Klein

Nice. So cool. Then from there. High school, did you you said work, did you go to college at all?

 


[00:13:58.700] - Tony Pellegrino

So during high school I worked as a. Mechanic at a bicycle shop, I worked at several different bicycle shops, and that was actually really good pay because if you had any kind of mechanical expertize, I typically made another five dollars an hour more than all the other minimum wage jobs. So that was pretty good. Pretty good gig.

 


[00:14:24.520] 

And on the side for extra money, I taught BMX racing classes because I raced BMX as a kid and then was able to we had this whole, you know, customer base of people. And I was able to tap into that and do lessons on the weekend and stuff. So that was pretty cool, too.

 


[00:14:41.980] 

Oh, excellent. Well, and then, you know, I always during this entire time, you know, my dad had a high jumper dune buggy and he and I would go to Pismo and do that kind of stuff. And then he got a Baja bug. We messed around with that a little bit, but ultimately he got a seventy seven Dodge Power wagon with a big V8 and it had a Dana 60 in the front and rear, he got all the options.

 


[00:15:10.100] 

The thing was fully loaded, lockers, the whole thing. And he and I would constantly go four-wheeling. And that's, that's what really gave me the bug to want to go four wheeling and off roading. So, yeah, that was pretty cool. We did a lot of camping. We we went all over the place, big trips, he and I. And yeah, that that really kind of got me inspired and watching other vehicles and how to make them better.

 


[00:15:35.330] 

And, you know, people were breaking stuff all over the place. So it just made me aware of all of that. So from that time working at the bike shop and then working, going through high school, and then you get into that graduate from high school, were you. Is that where you met Debbie or did that come later?

 


[00:15:56.930] 

That came later. I'll tell you a funny thing. You know, my dad saw me always working on my car, right? And he kept thinking, you know, he would come over me and say, you know, you're spending too much money on that car. You're spending too much time on that car. You need to be you need to be focused on other stuff. And then, of course, I had a girlfriend in the mix, so I was spending every dime I made either on her on the car, and he wasn't particularly happy about that now.

 


[00:16:25.340] 

Little did he know what course our path in my life was going to take. You know, that that I was well served by doing all that stuff. But at the time, you know, he was thinking it was a giant waste of time. I understand. Did did you did your dad have one of those jobs where he was like in the job for his whole entire career or life? He did, yes.

 


[00:16:49.190] 

He worked at LITTEN. He's an engineer and I wanted to be an engineer, too. I thought he had a great gig. I really did. And my intent when I got into high school and started meeting with a guidance counselor was I wanted to be an engineer.

 


[00:17:05.690] 

So when I started junior college, that was my path. It was kind of interesting. You know, when I think it was the end of the second year of taking engineering classes, the instructor wanted us to do research on which branch of engineering you were going to go into.

 


[00:17:23.870] 

Was it mechanical, electronic, you know, civil. And when you chose which field you wanted to go into, what the pay would be when you started after you got out of college. Well, I did the homework, I want to be a mechanical engineer, and the pay was 30000 bucks.

 


[00:17:46.360] 

What was amazing was that summer I got a job in a warehouse, I was actually part of the bicycle industry at the time and I made thirty thousand dollars, you know, the pay rate that I was making by working in that warehouse, because at first I was kind of a junior guy in the warehouse.

 


[00:18:08.110] 

And by the end of the summer, they had me work up into the there was customer service or something while I was making like forty thousand dollars by the time I was done.

 


[00:18:20.230] 

So I started going well, huh. Another two years of college and I'm going to make less than I'm making right now. You know, it that that's when I did the math and I just said, you know what, I'm going to work at the company I was in.

 


[00:18:34.660] 

I loved people. There were super nice. And I eventually worked my way up into product development at that company. So and then by then I was making like sixty thousand dollars a year. So so to me, I was going, wow, man, I'm well on the path to where I want to be. And that that actually worked out pretty good.

 


[00:18:58.000] 

Now what what was interesting was where I lived in Thousand Oaks, there was a guy that lived across the street and I said hello, like you do to a neighbor, didn't really know much about the guy. He drove nice cars and stuff. One day he walks across the street and starts talking to me.

 


[00:19:17.170] 

You know, he was complimenting my car and he always saw me out there working on it or washing it or something.

 


[00:19:24.130] 

Right, right. So he goes he goes, here's my card. If you ever want a job, I want you to come see me. He goes, I don't meet very many young people that have the kind of go that you do. So he's like, if you're interested, let me know. So it was just over Newbury Park, which was very close to where I was working at the time, so I swung by at lunchtime only to figure out that what the guy did was machinery sales.

 


[00:19:51.320] 

So Mills, lathes, grinders, all kinds of machinery like you use in a machine shop. So the guy immediately offered me a job for double what I was making at the bicycle place nice. And I took it. I was like, yeah, you know, this is awesome.

 


[00:20:10.760] 

And that got me that opened the door to a whole bunch of other manufacturing that that I, of course, love.

 


[00:20:19.280] 

It was great.

 


[00:20:20.210] 

It really kind of paved the way for what my career path was going to be.

 


[00:20:25.010] 

And, you know, it's funny how you just kind of land on these things that I would have never chosen that path.

 


[00:20:31.700] 

But I worked my way up through the machinery industry into some of the top companies, got a bunch of formal training on how to use equipment and do different things. I actually spent quite a bit of time over in Japan learning how they make things over there, you know, in terms of just in time process. And then ended up bring that back to customers here in the United States. So very, very interesting, loved it, you know, enjoyed that whole process.

 


[00:21:03.400] - Big Rich Klein

That's intriguing. I had no clue. This is what I love about doing these interviews.

 


[00:21:09.820] - Tony Pellegrino

And I don't know that anybody I've ever told that story to, anybody, you know. Excellent. Yeah.

 


[00:21:16.270] - Big Rich Klein

So then when through the processing and the equipment and all of that, you got the training, took your your engineering background, though limited. You know, you didn't get your degree, although I don't I don't believe that the degrees are are that important as long as you have the drive and your. You're easily teachable. Some people just, you know, you've got to have a degree, you got to have a degree.

 


[00:21:45.410] 

I'm one of those. I got a degree, but I don't even use it. But I was sure what I was trained in, so. I love hearing that.

 


[00:21:55.900] - Tony Pellegrino

Well, I think the degree for most people is important because what it shows your potential employer is that you had what it took to see something through.

 


[00:22:06.340] 

Right. So whether whether you're using it in the field, you study or not, you stuck with it and you finished and, you know, you can say, all right, you know, I know what it takes to get through something in its entirety. True. So I've only learned that in later years in life that that's that was really. Now, there are some people, you know, obviously, if you're going to be a doctor or something, you know, you've you've got to have that kind of training.

 


[00:22:32.530] - Big Rich Klein

Well, yeah.

 


[00:22:33.490] 

Because you get those actually come with certifications and all that kind of stuff. So I yeah, I totally get that. One of the things that I where I got to learn to complete and follow through was in scouting and getting my Eagle Scout. That's where yes. That was, that was an early drive. Learned to complete things, move on to the next and get things done to obtain that goal, you know.

 


[00:23:01.060] - Tony Pellegrino

And by the way, if I meet anybody that comes to interview for a job here that got became an Eagle Scout, I hire them, those people are drivers.

 


[00:23:11.610] - Big Rich Klein

They know what it takes. Yes, true. Yeah, so then from that job, obviously, you have progressed into your own, but was there did you step away from that and start? Your own thing or did you stay at that that machine sales company for a long time, what was the next step in the process?

 


[00:23:39.250] - Tony Pellegrino

So I spent several years at the machine sales company. And during that time, you know, when I first started, there was back when President Reagan was in office and aerospace was booming. I had no idea what a gold mine I had just stepped into.

 


[00:24:00.100] 

And I made lots of money. Business was crankin. And of course, once he was out of office, that changed. And I could see the slump in what was happening within manufacturing. And I just decided it was time to kind of move on. Now, at the time, I had just met Debbie and knew that she was the one. So it was time to start making arrangements and turning that into a permanent partner. Right. Right. So we got married and a few years later, we had our first child, Jamie, which is awesome.

 


[00:24:39.670] 

We had a nice place that we lived in in Westlake Village. So I made enough money. And she was also working, too, at a place called I.B.M. Small Company.

 


[00:24:51.100] 

And we both had really nice income.

 


[00:24:53.690] 

So we were able to afford a pretty nice place to live.

 


[00:24:57.780] 

What I didn't know, what nobody ever warned me of was when once she had a baby and she was going to stay home because we decided we didn't want our child raised by somebody else.

 


[00:25:11.430] 

That that all of that burden and that lifestyle we now become accustomed to fell on my shoulders. So that meant I really needed to start kicking some butt because I had to replace two incomes, right? Yes.

 


[00:25:24.720] 

So something within me said, hey, you know, you've got all this manufacturing expertize. Why don't you buy some of these CNC machines that you've been. Selling and start your own company, and at the time I was really into mountain bikes, I thought, you know what, I'm going to start a mountain bike component company where we make, you know, the brakes, the hubs, the seat posts, the crank arms, you know, all the components that go on the bike.

 


[00:25:59.030] 

And they were really high end, all made out of good materials. I did that company for seven years and it was also right there in Westlake Village. So it was a half mile from where I lived.

 


[00:26:10.550] 

So that was that was pretty cool. I worked like an absolute dog. What I failed to recognize. There was actually several things about that business that I learned from.

 


[00:26:25.900] 

First, people that ride mountain bikes typically don't have any money right there, they're just there, they're like hikers. They're trying to do it on the cheap, right.

 


[00:26:34.640] 

Second, I bought all the equipment and what that did was it tied up all my capital in machines and material. And I had no money for marketing.

 


[00:26:44.980] 

Huge mistake. Yeah. So I met a guy a few years later.

 


[00:26:50.110] 

I think I ran that business for like seven years. And then I met a guy who bought it from me. That worked out perfect. I was on a under contract to work for him for a few years and go my separate way. So one of the things that I learned from the mountain bike company was here in the United States, bicycles are recreation and everywhere else in the world they are transportation. True. So we sold 95 percent of our parts outside of the United States.

 


[00:27:23.270] 

Wow. Yeah.

 


[00:27:25.460] 

And the orders were huge. So what I became an expert in was exporting. So my next company, you're going to love this story. I met a guy who was a computer geek now at the time, I only use computers to write a word document or do email, right. I was very like that. Even the talk of the Internet. I was like, you're crazy. Nobody's ever going to buy anything on the Internet. That's a sketchy place to be.

 


[00:27:57.860] 

You know, keep in mind, this is back in like 94, right?

 


[00:28:01.090] 

Right. So back when there was dial up, you know, it was  slow, DOS, you know, maybe Windows 95 like whoohoo

 


[00:28:09.320] 

When I met this guy who was a computer geek, he and I chatted about my ability to export.

 


[00:28:17.510] 

So he goes, you know, we should start a company that helps other American companies export their goods.

 


[00:28:24.670] 

So we we sat down with a guy who was a VP at Hewlett-Packard, and I told him about my idea. We just talked like there was no presentation.

 


[00:28:34.870] 

There was no more than you and I are doing right now. And he looks at me and he goes, this is a great idea. He goes, You did you think you could do this? I'm like, Yeah, totally. He strokes us a check for 500 grand. And just says, do it like because back then the dotcoms were going nuts, so people were investing money like crazy money in anything, right. This is back when Yahoo!

 


[00:29:04.060] 

Was just like going berserk. We developed a company that had milestones, right, so we had to create a website. We had to find all these portals and gather the right companies.

 


[00:29:17.980] 

And then we flew over to Europe and went into Amsterdam and set up a warehouse so that all of the goods could be landed at the importing companies cost because there's VAT which is a tax that's assessed on everything over there. So if you buy something from here, you're you pay the VAT, which is a value added tax based on its cost. Right. So as a consumer, you're paying full tilt, right. So as a manufacturer, your cost is obviously much lower.

 


[00:29:53.620] 

So you pay the VAT on that and then when you sell the goods, you pay the difference. So it was a it was a much better way to import all the products. So my partner and I went over there in in Europe, FedEx, much bigger than UPS, so we partnered with FedEx to do all of our distribution. So when the goods landed in this warehouse in Amsterdam, then everything got delivered by FedEx so the user would place an order online.

 


[00:30:23.130] 

The manufacturer would process the order through that warehouse so it would get picked, pulled and delivered in a couple of days. Right.

 


[00:30:29.970] 

Instead of waiting weeks for it to get there on some boat. So it was a it was a really cool idea, it took off, it was great and we sold the company two years later.

 


[00:30:42.200] 

Nice. So I took that money and banked it. We at the time, I'm going to take a slight divergence here, while I was working at that company, I decided since I was sitting next to this computer geek, I would learn computers.

 


[00:31:04.420] 

So the guy taught me how to use outlook, how to stay organized, how to how to do everything associated with a computer Photoshop, including build my own website.

 


[00:31:18.070] 

So at the time, I told you my RC car story way back in high school. Right. I've always kind of been into RC stuff, planes, cars, boats. So at the time I had.

 


[00:31:30.090] 

Just build a radio-controlled boat that I was, you know, it was it was like my passion for, you know, side time, right? So I was on the Internet.

 


[00:31:42.270] 

I couldn't find anything on radio controlled boats. So I decided I was going to have this guy teach me how to build a website. So I built a website about radio control boats. Well, it didn't take 30 days. And I was getting all of these emails inquiring where I found the parts, how they could buy them, you know, blah, blah, blah. So I came home from work and I told Debbie, who was staying home with our son.

 


[00:32:13.040] 

I said, you know, rather than me referring all these people, why don't we create a little company that you could work from home? So, Rich, it was really funny, we we started buying these radio control parts and reselling them to people all over the world, and Debbie, you know, became a great shipping manager and she managed the whole thing right.

 


[00:32:36.800] 

Because the website I set up was at the very beginning of a shopping cart. Right. So people could just buy online. We got to talk to anybody, wouldn't have to do anything about it.

 


[00:32:47.450] 

And it shipped nice. This business literally went from like a thousand dollars a year to a thousand dollars a month to ten thousand dollars a month like it just took off. Meantime, Debbie and I are like, holy cow, we don't want to hire new employees, so but the job was getting too big for her right alone, but not next thing I know, my entire garage is just a warehouse where you got nowhere to put my anymore. Yeah, that that became very interesting.

 


[00:33:22.370] 

And actually, we haven't touched on where the Jeep came in.

 


[00:33:25.880] 

Yeah, it was just that I just wrote that down as you said. OK, do so will you.

 


[00:33:31.940] 

I will circle back to that. So anyways when when I started GenRight. The I originally I had a business partner, and his only requirement was that I had no other side interests or businesses, so he required me to sell Fun RC boats, which we did, which was that was the name of our boat RC boat company. The bummer is that guy lasted three months and threw in the towel like like I came into his office and he goes, I don't want to do this anymore.

 


[00:34:07.930] 

I couldn't believe it. I was so distraught. Right. And by then we had already proven, Genright was a good thing and it was crankin. So, you know, I just bought him out. And that that took care of that because at that time, it had already started making money.

 


[00:34:25.480] 

So he just had his fingers in too many things and he had some personal stuff going on. So I understood his situation, but I wasn't about to abandon GenRight. That's for sure.

 


[00:34:35.350] 

And and what year to Genright start? So that's. I want to say 99 or no, no, no, it was later that it was. Must have been more. Yeah, twenty four or five, yeah, because we just had our 15 year anniversary, so 2005. OK, yeah. So you went you went from the shipping business online, but you were helping suppliers or manufacturers get their goods over there, so you were warehouse shipping type thing, or were you the importer?

 


[00:35:15.290] 

So there's a bit of overlap there, so we had the company that was exporting to Europe right then we sold that. But at the same time we had this radio-controlled boat company. Then when we sold the export company, radio-controlled boats are still going.

 


[00:35:35.360] 

I started helping other machine shops find work and some of that work was in the offroad business. So I started to become familiar with the offroad business. Now, meantime, I was still riding dirt bikes with my family.

 


[00:35:52.310] 

So we had a whole group of people that we were going to California City on the weekends and enjoying all throughout the entire time. Right. Well, as my family got bigger right now, we had a second child, Jordan.

 


[00:36:07.910] 

We decided that it was probably time that dad shouldn't get hurt.

 


[00:36:12.380] 

We got too many responsibilities. So that's when I got a Jeep. We had also just bought a motor home. So we figured out real quick that, you know, the motor home was great. But then when you get somewhere, you got no way to get around. So it didn't take me long to figure out that everybody with a motor home was towing a jeep. So I talked Debbie into getting the Jeep. Then. We went up to Calico, and at the time we had brought my dad on this camping trip just up to Calico was just for a nice weekend when my dad and I ran into a Jeep club and these guys had jeeps that were totally built and that got our wheels turning.

 


[00:36:53.690] 

So then what happened was my dad got a jeep, too, and everything I had already put on my jeep, I sold to my dad. Right. So he was getting all my takeoff's as I built up my jeep. So part of what happened was and what you know, how Genright came to be is I finally upgraded to.

 


[00:37:16.160] 

Dynatrac, pro rock 60s. Well, those don't fit in the same location that a stock axle fits, right, as soon as I went out of the driveway that the differential cover smacked into the gas tank. Right. So I called Dynatrac, hey, you know, why are people doing about this? He's like, I don't want to talk about. Never heard. Never heard of this problem. Oh, really?

 


[00:37:42.070] 

OK, so I was in manufacturing. Right. So I'm like, I got this like no problem. That beside the fact that the stock jeep skid plate was less than eighth inch thick, it was like some cheesy sheet metal thing and the tank was plastic, like this craps got to go anyways. So I redesigned.

 


[00:38:04.670] 

A tank, and because I was in manufacturing, I literally just went to the shop, cut all the pieces, had one of the welders welded all together, and I had myself a Gas tank.

 


[00:38:14.690] 

That that not only cleared this bigger differential, but it allowed me to move the rear axle back. Because now that you've got lower gearing and bigger tires, well, now you've got all this traction and you need more wheelbase because it was just lifting the front end off the ground everytime you wanted to climb something.

 


[00:38:34.770] 

Right. So so this was literally like I didn't I wasn't even thinking about Genright, all.

 


[00:38:39.990] 

I was doing was making parts for myself like didn't care. I just wanted a bad ass Jeep. So it didn't take long because at the time I belong to a club as well. Before people were standing around going, where did you get that. I'm like, why are you looking underneath my jeep. This is like, you know, checking out my butt.

 


[00:38:57.120] 

You know, I come on and you know, it was weird. Debbie and I would go to the grocery store. There'd be people like looking underneath pointing at it. It was like, where'd you get that gas tank? You. And I'm again, I'm looking at Debbie and I go, we've got something here like this is if that many people are noticing something underneath the Jeep, like we need to do something about this. So at the time. It was SEMA was just about to come, so I took my invention, just pictures of it, and I went to SEMA and I met with a few different companies.

 


[00:39:35.890] 

A couple of companies said, what are you talking about? Nobody's ever asked for anything like that. Like, you know. No, like there's no need for that. A couple of other companies went, do not show this to anybody else or signed. Whatever you want will buy everything you can make. And I was like, whoa. That's that's crazy, you know, they they don't know anything, right, they like it, but they were willing to buy everything I could make.

 


[00:40:03.380] 

So at the time, I had a friend of mine who was pretty well to do. He was with me and he heard these conversations, and when we walked out of there, he goes, Don't don't you dare. Sign the thing with these people, he goes, you have something here, let's start a company, I'll fund it. because I go, Dude, Debbie doesn't want me to start another company like we've already been down this road. You know, I just need a regular job with a 401k and blacklight security.

 


[00:40:34.650] 

Right.

 


[00:40:34.830] 

I got two kids the way our parents grew up. Yes. So I go home, I'm talking to Debbie, and she's like, no way. And I said, OK, well, what if what if it doesn't take any of our money?

 


[00:40:51.440] 

Right, because the other companies that I had before we were so invested that if things went sideways, we wouldn't have been living out of a cardboard box. Right.

 


[00:41:02.670] 

So, you know, and especially that first company, the bicycle component company, you know, I was signed on for hundreds of thousands. It might have been a million dollars worth of equipment, you know, four, five and seven year. You know, financial commitments like that was that was a heavy, heavy burden. Right? Right. I said, OK, well, this other gentleman has offered to completely fund the company.

 


[00:41:27.450] 

We would take a regular paycheck. You know, it would be like working at another job. And she said, all right, if that's truly the arrangement that I'm good, you can you can do it.

 


[00:41:39.630] 

Now, the problem was this was.

 


[00:41:43.770] 

Right before 2008 and 2009, which, you know, was like the crash of our entire economy, correct? Right. So here I am trying to ramp up a company right before then. Now, the good news was I had enough drive and got the ball rolling in 2005, five, six and seven, that I had just enough momentum that as the other companies in the industry, which were, by the way, huge back end.

 


[00:42:14.490] 

When you look at fab tech and all these other guys, they were such machines that they couldn't get out of their own way. And a lot of them either went out of business or went bankrupt or something like got bought up. You know, it was a major change for the industry. But I had enough momentum that I never saw a slowdown because I was lean and I was a, you know, a startup.

 


[00:42:39.000] 

Just coming up, you didn't have all the layers of bureaucracy. Yep. And overhead. Right. So that was that was awesome. And now the downside was, is because I knew I needed to stay lean from my bicycle component company. Right. Which had high overhead. That meant I had to move five times. Right. So I started out with a you know, I rented an office within a place. Right. And then I got my own tiny little like 600 square foot warehouse.

 


[00:43:09.690] 

And then I moved from there to a little bit bigger place than, you know, to where we are today. Right. And even today, you know, we've got our main building. And then I had to get a building across the street another ten thousand feet across the street because we're outgrowing this building. Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of water under the bridge to get us where we are today, but. I just wanted to tell you that story of, you know, how we originally got started, you know, where I took it to SEMA, there was interest and then that that generated, you know, an investor to actually get Genright going.

 


[00:43:50.180] 

But that investor only made it three months, OK? And then I had to buy him out. Right. So that didn't take long.

 


[00:43:55.100] 

And and Debbie was like, this is not what we signed up for. Exactly.

 


[00:44:01.130] 

But by then, she could see, too, that it had potential. You know, she was like, oh, my God, you know, this is awesome.

 


[00:44:07.400] 

So the good thing is that by then I you know, before Genright started, I already had my jeep built. I had already built the entire thing in the garage. We had at the time our big class, a Monaco motor home, you know, trailer. We had acquired all these things personally.

 


[00:44:27.770] 

So it wasn't like the business had to buy all these things. So by the time I started Genright, the only thing that needed to do was build inventory, which was perfect because you can turn that inventory and make money.

 


[00:44:40.970] 

Right.

 


[00:44:42.320] 

So, you know, because I was in manufacturing, I worked out deals with a bunch of local machine and fabrication.

 


[00:44:50.330] 

Shops that I knew to manufacture the products for me, so really my job was to market and keep inventory so that so that worked out because I knew the manufacturing side was not where you want to invest your money. Right. But, you know, that's a that's a fine line because when you're small, the manufacturers don't want to pay attention to you. You're more of an ankle biter and trouble than you're worth. Right? Right. Because manufacturing is on volume.

 


[00:45:23.150] 

So it really took some smooth talking on my part to convince these guys that I was a good gamble. Right. And keep them happy. So it was it was definitely interesting. And I would say for the first. Probably five years, maybe six years of Genrights life that it was touch and go like that, the debt at any time is if something had gone sideways on us, it could have wiped us out for sure. I know that feeling, yeah, yeah, now the other thing that that I should mention is because my first product was gas tanks.

 


[00:46:02.340] 

That is the worst possible from a product liability standpoint product.

 


[00:46:08.300] 

You could make even, even worse than bumpers, even worse than Bumpers, even worse than steering.

 


[00:46:13.940] 

Right.

 


[00:46:15.080] 

The downside to this whole thing is that I've had to carry, you know, really high product liability all this time, like ten thousand dollars a month. It's terrible, like crazy expensive. So that's that's been my big burden to build the company, to be able to to a point to where it was able to absorb that and not not be like that heavy load every day, you know.

 


[00:46:41.130] 

Right. So and then, of course, you know, when I wanted to expand into suspension or steering or anything, my product liability, guys like you make gas tank, you make anything you want, you know, hey, you didn't make gas tanks for for Pinto's right?

 


[00:46:57.220] 

No, no.

 


[00:46:58.260] 

And those those were terrible. You know, those are held in with too thin little metal straps, you know? And so the moment, you know, if you even backed into something, the gas tank would have fallen out, you know, start leaking.

 


[00:47:08.940] 

So those were terrible. Yeah. And then there was a bolt that if somebody's rear ended it, it would push into the bolt and pierced the tank.

 


[00:47:18.450] 

Yes, that's right. That's right. Yeah.

 


[00:47:19.950] 

Today, even even when I started Genright the YJ, T.J., all have rear mounted gas tanks.

 


[00:47:27.240] 

Those were designed that if you got rear ended, the whole tank sat down below the frame cross members. So the bolts were designed to shear off and let the gas tank fall. It was actually very clever. I did a whole bunch of research on it before I even made my own, you know, to kind of figure out what how this whole thing went. And they learned a lot from the Pinto days for sure. Right.

 


[00:47:55.040] 

Yeah. So then gas tanks and then the incorporated skid was the first product for Genright first product.

 


[00:48:04.920] 

Yeah. And it literally so I told you I went to SEMA. Right, we made it three months. The next event was Easter Jeep Safari. OK, so I built a tank for the C.J. YJ I built one for the T.J. I had some where you could stretch the wheelbase. I had some where that you know, if you kept your stock Axel you could go to twenty five gallons. You know, I just, I made up like, I don't know, five or six different tanks and I set up ten by twenty display at Easter Jeep and in two days by myself, you know, standing in the booth, I sold 50 gas tanks.

 


[00:48:42.900] 

Wow. Yeah. Like that. Easy. So I knew right away I was like, holy crap, we've got something here. I mean, this is it by myself. I could do that like we're sailin here, you know.

 


[00:48:56.580] 

So after that was when I, you know, this is back, you know, again the Internet, the advertising was done through magazines.

 


[00:49:05.160] 

There was no Internet advertising. Right. So I literally like loaded up my motorhome with gas tanks. I think I had 20 of them. And I started driving around to see all the shops around the country and came back empty. I mean, everyone I stopped that they bought a gas tank that they knew, like everybody knew this was something highly needed because everybody was upgrading the axle and their jeep. Right. So so think about this. Remember, back at SEMA, there were companies that I won't even say the names because it's embarrassing for them that we're like, nobody's asked for this.

 


[00:49:42.930] 

Like, there's no need for that. Right.

 


[00:49:45.480] 

That's how disconnected these companies were from what was going on. And off road from reality. From reality. Yeah. Because what I what I realize and, you know, you can see it even in me today is there's too many guys that. Started a company maybe with the right intentions, but they become completely removed from off roading and they sit in an office, in some ivory tower for lack of a better description. And they don't offroad. They don't know what's needed.

 


[00:50:16.010] 

They don't know what people are doing. They are totally disconnected. And that is not me, you know. So even this morning, talking to you, I've just come back from a nine hundred mile off road trip.

 


[00:50:30.950] 

Nice testing my brand new JL that we just did, our full coilover conversion suspension.

 


[00:50:37.910] 

And all I wanted to do is just go rattle on desert roads for 900 miles. So, again, the only way, you know is if you do it. Right, so so I've just stayed true to that, and, you know, if you're in it and doing it, then you know what people need. And quite honestly, like the gas tank, what I'm trying to do is come up with the next products before people even realize they need them.

 


[00:51:05.360] 

Right. Nobody knew they needed a gas tank till I showed them one and then.

 


[00:51:08.930] 

Yeah, geez, why didn't anybody do this before?

 


[00:51:12.620] 

True enough. So so then. Your what was that first Jeep you had? Was it a TJ? No, worse, it was a 1987 YJ with a five speed Peugeot transmission.

 


[00:51:29.060] 

The only good thing on that Jeep was that it was the serpentine belt version because it was also V belt version. Yeah. So I got the serpentine one. So I didn't know anything about Jeeps.

 


[00:51:41.540] 

Right. I just thought a jeep. A Jeep. I found this one. It was clean as it was a Laredo. It was black with chrome accents. You know, the thing was clean, like nobody's ever even like taken it over a bush. I mean it was super clean. I don't even think it had ever even been shifted into four wheel drive.

 


[00:51:59.240] 

And, you know, it had air conditioning.

 


[00:52:01.880] 

It had all the stuff that, you know, if you're not a Jeep guy you think is important when only to quickly realized none of that stuff matters.

 


[00:52:10.670] 

So, yes, it is nice that now that I have my JL, there's a lot of creature comforts that I feel a little guilty for enjoying.

 


[00:52:24.020] 

I you know, I've I've always had I mean, I had a an old military M38A1 a CJ5. And then I had a flat fender and then I got into Cherokee's and. Yeah. Because I liked the the ability to roll up the window. Have AC. And not eat dust, then I found out that when you're actually wheeling a Cherokee, you can't have the AC on because you have an undersized radiator. So you have to have the windows down.

 


[00:52:55.530] 

And then it's like, OK, now I got these doors that are not easy to take off. I got this hard top so I can't open up and get the fresh air like you really want in a jeep. So it's like, OK, you know, wrong.

 


[00:53:10.410] 

Yeah. Beside the fact that those big rear windows get really close to obstacles on the trail. Right.

 


[00:53:15.540] 

You know, so you don't want to break them. Yeah. Yeah you do. Yeah. But we just don't and you know, go ahead.

 


[00:53:23.400] 

The Cherokee was great because it had one hundred and three inch wheel base and it's light. Yes.

 


[00:53:28.950] 

So those things wheeled awesome. And it took me a while. I sat and watched a bunch of those go up things like Widowmaker, you know, to, to realize like, OK, the reason they're able to do that in a wranglers not able to is because that wheelbase and really all I've done is just take notice of things and then be able to act on that. That that's that's really all I've done. And and you've you've got a great product line that's obvious.

 


[00:54:00.540] 

Thanks. Yeah, I mean, we're we're we're trying to at least do it right. American made and provide a good quality product. And that's a little more expensive. But you get what you pay for. And that's that's the bottom line. You want cheap, you get Chinese stuff. You know, it's the way it is.

 


[00:54:19.350] 

Yeah. So my experience or my belief is because of that housing downturn and the market, you know, the thing that you know, that 08, 09, you know, it was it was because of the the housing, the overinflated ability to make purchases and people getting upside down and owing too much money on houses and toys and everything else. And then the economy crashes. The thing that saved the Off-Road industry was companies being lean and mean and being able to pivot.

 


[00:54:56.750] 

And maybe downsize or at least cut back enough, but not go away, and then the beginning of the JK. Yes. Yeah, so that's an interesting topic, right, because they were bought up by Daimler. Yeah, right. A German company that brought them new information. Right. Information they've they've never had access to that taught the Jeep Chrysler engineers how to better make a vehicle. It was it was a very interesting time. And the people that I know at Jeep fought that change that they did not like it at all.

 


[00:55:41.170] 

But look at where we are today. There's two point six million JK's. That's more than CJ, YJ and T.J. combined.

 


[00:55:49.920] 

Right. Right. And it brought so many new people into the market because the affordable four door, it was easier to get in and out of. Yeah, you could you could comfortably take people with you. You know, you could use it as a as a van soccer mom vehicle, whatever you want to call it. But the purists were so anti-JK. And now those purists that stayed in business because of the JK. Are the ones that that.

 


[00:56:24.190] 

They all have to look at it and say, you know what, that change was great because it saved our industry.

 


[00:56:31.030] 

Yes, in hindsight, it was great. I'm one of the ones that fought it bad, you know, because the first time I drove one, I'm like, this is like driving a suburban off road, like, who would do this?

 


[00:56:41.200] 

This is crazy. Only to realize that, boy, that wheel base is nice.

 


[00:56:46.720] 

Look at look at the obstacles, you know, you can do without, you know, living on the edge of death, right? Yeah. And it was really just an upsized XJ. Right, with a removable top and removable doors. Correct. So it really did kind of fit a nice niche in the car market for Jeep Chrysler, right? I mean, it was brilliant on their part for sure. Absolutely.

 


[00:57:13.600] 

And for those of us in the industry, you know, I'm not a manufacturer. I'm not a fabricator. I don't sell parts. But I try to help companies sell parts through our events. And now the magazine. So it to me, I looked at it and said, you know. I'm you know, I'm not going to see JK's out competing at rockcrawls, you know, every once in a while we'll get somebody at our Delta Classic, the old what was called the old school rock crawl in Delta, Utah.

 


[00:57:42.640] 

We get some JK's showing up and now some JL's because we have a street division but we don't get people competing, you know, in a full blown JK, you know. But then again, we don't have the stock vehicles like we used to in the old mod stock rigs, the C.J sevens, and the YJ's And the fives in the Suzuki, you know, we rarely get those anymore. They've been. You know, hacked, and now we have a sportsman class that we call Sportsman C, which is kind of that same, you know, for the street more street vehicle.

 


[00:58:22.120] 

So and, you know, frankly, that stuff just times out, it ages out, right, you can only bend a piece of metal so many times for just fatigues and breaks, right? So when you're talking about older CJ's or YJ's and those those have been around a long time. Right. Some 40 years. You know, you just can't cycle that piece of metal that many times.

 


[00:58:44.380] 

So that's that's why you're seeing fewer and fewer of them right now. No, it's it's great. I think it's awesome that you're offering those classes because it just engages people. It gets them inspired. And that's that's really what I've been trying to do, is get people interested in off roading and interested in building their jeep and doing it the right way, not know redneck style out, blazing your own trails and leaving trash. Right. You got to there needs to be some responsibility there.

 


[00:59:18.950] 

And that's one of the things that I appreciate about. Your company and yourself and some of the other companies that are built on the same premises yours are built the same way, is that you guys are wheelers and you have the you have that understanding of land use. You have the understanding of. Like ethics and etiquette etiquette, yes, yes, etiquette trail etiquette, you know, you take out your your you used to take out and do the Genright runs out at the Hammers and it would teach the people that that bought your products, that lifestyle, that etiquette, trail etiquette and how you're supposed to treat everything instead of.

 


[01:00:05.840] 

Well, like like the UTV market is nowadays, anybody can afford to buy one if you can, you know, pay your two hundred dollars a month. You can take a vehicle that's very capable, go out and enjoy the outdoors, but you don't know, you know, if you're brand new to it, you don't know what what you don't know. So the thing is, is you're going out there, you're going off trail, you're going anywhere you want, because that's the way the advertisements show it.

 


[01:00:32.800] 

Oh, I can. I was going to say through the stream, you know. Yeah, I was going to say the sales. The salesman told me this thing will go anywhere. Right. OK, well, anywhere. Yeah. Oh. And I can put my nine year old behind it and turn them loose so he's not bugging me.

 


[01:00:48.290] 

Yeah, right.

 


[01:00:49.110] 

And there's just a lot about it that it's. Yeah. I'm not a fan of the side by side.

 


[01:00:57.610] 

That's, that's a it's, it brings that whole class of irresponsible driver out there or user and like we've just seen in Moab, you know, they want to outlaw them.

 


[01:01:09.880] 

They're like done with them. Yes.

 


[01:01:12.340] 

And so and it's funny because right now, you know, we wintered this right now we're in the south central Texas Gulf area. So we're in the Corpus Christi area. And one of the cities over here is now just passed an ordinance that'll take effect on the 14th of this month where you're going to be able to license your UTV to drive on the street just like they do. And in Utah. Arizona, yeah. And Arizona. And the you know, you got to put a light package on it and all this kind of stuff.

 


[01:01:42.700] 

And it's called the The Communities Aransas Pass. And it's on the it's more on the inland side and not the island side. We're on the island side where all that sand dunes are at and people are talking about, oh, wouldn't that be nice? And I'm like, no. You know, right now there's there's rules against driving in the sand dunes. You can't even build through the sand dunes. You know, that's a it's a natural barrier for the hurricanes to keep, you know, the the the rest of the coastal area, you know, in shape.

 


[01:02:13.930] 

And people are going, oh, that won't happen. And it's like. Bullshit, I see it, yeah, everywhere, yeah, yeah, that's true, it's people going, oh, no, people are going to be buying like the ranchers and, you know, the they're not going to be buying the race models. And I'm like, bullshit.

 


[01:02:34.850] 

You get you get a chance to buy a tractor or you get the chance to go buy a Corvette for the same price you can buy in the Corvette. Yeah. You know, yeah, for sure.

 


[01:02:44.620] 

And now I'll give you an example. You know, just yesterday we were out on our way back on that big 900 mile trip and I stopped for a minute to change something on the Jeep.

 


[01:02:55.210] 

And some side by side came by and I.

 


[01:02:58.560] 

I stepped over near the edge of the trail to all of them, you know, like, hi, how are you doing?

 


[01:03:03.040] 

You know, and one of them just totally roosted me in my jeep like he as he went by, he just stood on the gas.

 


[01:03:11.230] 

And I was like, what a dick. Yes.

 


[01:03:15.250] 

I mean, come on, dude, what are you thinking?

 


[01:03:20.830] 

I, I have a really great story. In fact, I think we probably talked about it before sitting at Danny Grimes's, but it was I don't want to get into it because it'll be names. But somebody did that at MOAB. And roosted a bunch of people that he was still behind the trail on for the whole time coming up, Pritchett and after they got clear, he he went by this whole group of manufacturers and just roosted all the cars because he did it.

 


[01:03:52.170] 

And yes, people were like, you know what, I will never sponsor. Anybody ever again because of that guy? Yeah, you know, and it's like and and that was one of our our own racers and it's a shame that people don't think about that. Yes.

 


[01:04:11.760] 

And I was going to mention that to you when I saw Ultra four cars being brought out so far. I thought that was a bad idea.

 


[01:04:21.870] 

Like, I don't know whose idea that was, but I would never, ever, ever, even in a jeep, right. When I go to pass somebody, you know, I'll pull up next to them and say, hey, do you mind if I carry on or play through or something? You know, you don't just buzz by then. People get super pissed about that. And if you do, you go really slow. Do not dust them out.

 


[01:04:43.890] 

Do not spray rocks. I mean, again, it's the etiquette side. I come on. Would you want somebody to do that, you know. Exactly. So yeah. So where is.

 


[01:04:57.780] 

Well, let's before getting into the future, I know we've covered a lot of stuff for the past, right? Yeah. And but still, you know, into the past, you got involved with Ultra4 and racing as a marketing tool. Yeah. At least it appeared that way. And I thought you did it. I thought you did a good job of that, too.

 


[01:05:17.880] 

Oh, thanks.

 


[01:05:18.510] 

Thanks. Yeah. Really, the idea was credibility and brand recognition that that's that's what we were after because obviously, you know, we don't sell Ultra4 car parts right now.

 


[01:05:30.690] 

What came as a result of that was tremendous industry relationships because I was on the forefront of Ultra4 development. Right. So I was pushing parts hard and working with manufacturers to help them improve their products so that that for some relationships that even today are rock solid and great, it actually allows me in roads to do stuff then that take that and now trickle that down into the Jeep products that we offer today. I mean, there is there's no other way I would have gotten all of the experience and be able to do that without me racing Ultra4 at the highest levels for sure, for sure.

 


[01:06:16.590] 

And now and now the kids are taking over that racing role.

 


[01:06:21.070] 

Yes. So it was actually kind of a dream of mine that all three of us got to race for a few years, which was absolutely awesome. Jamie did the UTV's. Jordan was in the 4500 and I was in the 4400.

 


[01:06:34.830] 

And then basically because I had developed so many relationships within the industry, I wanted to make sure that I pass those on to Jordan as he moves up to 4400. So it just took him a few years to be ready to do that. Forty four hundred is it for people who don't know is a super aggressive class like that is it's the F1 of Off-Road Racing. And man, if you aren't on your A game and ready to like step up and battle like you've got another thing coming.

 


[01:07:08.670] 

So yeah.

 


[01:07:10.090] 

Yeah. And now it takes you to do. I don't know how these guys are doing. Not not all of them, but I'm amazed at how many people are able to pull off a whole season with, oh, as a privateer.

 


[01:07:25.830] 

Yes, I agree. Like they're they're selling their soul. I can tell you that they are right or they just got more money than they know what to do with.

 


[01:07:35.060] 

Yeah. If I win the lottery, I'm buying a sailboat. You're just saying, OK, what's what is next for Genright

 


[01:07:52.330] 

 Oh, man, so we've got a few things happening, right, so we've got the next Jeep model we just talked about the JK and what an industry changer that was. Now we've got the JL and the JT, the gladiator.

 


[01:08:08.620] 

We are neck deep in product development for those vehicles. And on top of that, my oldest son, Jamie, who's been involved in this company for probably the past eight years, is is really kind of stepping up. You know, he's 30 years old now and he realizes that he doesn't really want to work anywhere else. He has just completely rebuilt my original YJ that we call the Growler, that bright red YJ into the tracer version, which is our latest kit that we're offering for the LJ

 


[01:08:49.990] 

And it's beautiful. He did a phenomenal job on it. It's got an LS3, you know, it's beyond everything.

 


[01:08:59.050] 

And, you know, I think that he's kind of positioning himself that when I'm ready to retire, he'll be standing there ready to take the reins, which I think is awesome.

 


[01:09:08.110] 

I think that's that's that's great. Yeah. And then Jordan, you know, is our forty four hundred racer. I feel bad for him because he decided to take on this super high tech, you know, fully independent suspension car, which has had a huge learning curve to it. Yes. Mostly not on our end, but from the manufacturer's end. Right.

 


[01:09:32.290] 

We we've this is this is because it's a whole new group of manufacturers. It's not the manufacturers that I built when I was racing Ultra4. This is new people that don't really understand it. And they're kind of used to making trophy truck stuff. So we've had this this whole back and forth, you know, how do we make this work? And I think we finally got it figured out. It required us taken a little bit more of the reins on the whole thing.

 


[01:10:01.090] 

And I think I think we've we've got it pretty well. The car is phenomenal.

 


[01:10:06.250] 

I mean, when when I drive it or ride in it, I tense up for stuff that we're about to hit and it just soaks it up rich like it's not even there. It's it's unbelievable. It really is. And if he can get it to the point where the car stays together, he'll be an hour ahead of the whole field. I mean, it's it's that fast. Right.

 


[01:10:31.360] 

And it's good that you guys, with your idea this year or your game plan, as I understood it, was to. To push the vehicle, but not push the vehicle necessarily to win, but to finish the race. Yes, yes. You know, we're. You know, the other all wheel independent car, Cody's, is, yeah, he had like success right away with it. And then now he's been fighting demons, you know, pretty much ever since, it seems like.

 


[01:11:05.840] 

Yeah. And it's too bad because they had a sizable lead on the field. Right. Because I think they were pushing at that a little bit too hard. Yeah.

 


[01:11:14.230] 

You know, at the end of the day, I didn't write a couple of miles. Yep. Yeah.

 


[01:11:18.670] 

I mean, all they needed to do was get down that last trail and they would have been home free.

 


[01:11:23.480] 

Yeah. Yeah. But you know, that's, that's, that's racing. I mean, it's, it is it's not called winning. It's called racing. Just like fishing is catching. Good point. Yeah.

 


[01:11:37.960] 

And we talked about doctors earlier. Why do they called doctors and lawyers still practicing. Yeah, because they don't have it figured out yet. I don't want them to figure it out on me, you know, so I'd be much better if they just said, you know, you're going in.

 


[01:11:56.070] 

Yeah, I don't know. They got to come up with a different word by practicing. But anyway, I digress.

 


[01:12:02.010] 

So moving on, you guys are still you know, you've done a really good job of marketing. I think one of the things that you did strongly was. The identification of you with Genright, I mean, Genright, everybody goes, oh, Tony, you know, it's Tony from Genright, you know, the whole yellow hat thing. Of course, you know, at one point at Danny's I was going to go buy, like, a hundred yellow hats and hand them out to everybody, but I never got too lazy.

 


[01:12:36.980] 

And that that was really just a fluke how that happened, because I used to have a yellow fox hat and when that had got dirty, it became the way that all my friends found me in a crowd. Right. So I was like, well, why don't I just make a yellow Genright hat, it was that simple, right?

 


[01:12:56.380] 

That's all it is. Yeah. And now what's funny is within the hierarchy of my company, everybody has their own color hat.

 


[01:13:06.650] 

Right. So my CFO who's got a red hat and our general manager has a blue hat and our sales guys and their colored hats, I mean, it's it's just become this fun thing that that we all do.

 


[01:13:19.490] 

And I think it's totally cool. You know, more companies should do fun stuff like that.

 


[01:13:24.790] 

Oh, I agree. I agree. It's not fun. It's not worth doing. Yeah. Yeah.

 


[01:13:29.810] 

I mean, and, you know, I meant to mention earlier there was a couple of things when I started, GenRight. That were basic business premises for me. One was American made, two was a physical body, answers the phone every time. Right. So what a lot of people don't realize is that everybody here in the office drives a Jeep. So even the receptionist or the sales guys or whoever you talk to, you're talking to somebody with a jeep.

 


[01:13:59.600] 

Now, they'll know that it's a half inch wrench. Take those bolts off to install a fender. I mean, it's everybody here is into it and they're here for a reason and they love it like I do, which is totally cool. Yeah. Yeah.

 


[01:14:13.010] 

Well, cool. Is there anything that we've that we haven't discussed that you would like to share with our listeners?

 


[01:14:21.050] 

You know, today, like I mentioned, I'm entrenched in the JL/JT, right. These are vehicles that have a lot more creature comforts that help sell vehicles. You know, they've got dual zone climate control and, you know, all these fancy screens and stuff. Well, all of that stuff requires more computers, right? Computers are not. What I want as an off roader. Right. I look at that as unreliable. I want six.

 


[01:14:50.000] 

I want a cable attached to the throttle, not some electronic throttle pedal. So now what I'm doing is I'm spending all of my time mastering these vehicles. Right. I'm trying to figure out how to either make them reliable or offer products to make the experience more enjoyable or change. You know, what's there right that there is because there's a lot of things you can't change. It's it's you know, ABSs used to be like an add on to a vehicle.

 


[01:15:22.070] 

Now it's completely ingrained traction control and everything within a vehicle's computer systems. So, yeah, it's a totally different animal. And, you know, with each new platform that comes out. You know, Jeep advertises it as the best jeep yet. Well, it depends on what you're doing with it, right? If you're handing the keys to your wife or your daughter and you're you live in a snow condition. Yeah, it's a frickin awesome jeep because it's going to keep them safe and alive.

 


[01:15:53.400] 

OK, but when you want to go lock up the tires or spin the tires or do the stuff that we do. Oh, man. Like, it's it is not happy with that. And if you do it enough times, it just puts it in the limp mode and then you're like, OK, now what do I do.

 


[01:16:09.020] 

Right. The technology is not is not our friend when it comes to to hardcore Off-Road. That's right.

 


[01:16:16.620] 

That's right. And you know, the vehicles are manufactured completely different now and they're using lighter weight, thinner materials. So, you know, it's just a completely different animal. But but it's just what we're faced with. Right. So years ago, Obama put into place mileage requirements for each of these vehicles and, you know, by certain dates. Right. So by twenty, twenty by twenty twenty two point twenty five. Right. They've got to all meet this stuff.

 


[01:16:49.080] 

Well, we as the public keep demanding, you know, horsepower and all this stuff, which is completely the opposite of what these mandates are. And right now, people don't know it. But when you buy a new JL, about ten thousand dollars, that purchase price is a penalty. So the penalty was supposed to be going to the car company as a slap on the wrist to make better high mileage vehicles. Instead, what the what the car companies do is they just pass it on so that because the company is demanding these these performance characteristics.

 


[01:17:25.740] 

So just to give you an idea, when you buy a brand new like I've got a Dodge 2500 pickup truck. Twenty thousand dollars of that purchase price is that penalty. So when everybody wonders why is a diesel truck seventy eighty thousand dollars.

 


[01:17:41.010] 

There you go. Yeah, because it's not meeting the the requirements. I know that at one time, the manufacturers, you know, it was like, OK, your whole line needs to be an average of thirty six miles a gallon or whatever they could say. OK, well we can get those, some of those cars up to 50, then we can play down here in the 20, you know, and get the pickup trucks into that and we can offset it.

 


[01:18:07.540] 

And then when the electric vehicles come on, you know, it was the buying carbon credits from Tesla or any of these other companies that, you know, are not going to have any carbon emissions. So you kind of balance that all out. But then the federal government came in and said, OK, we see what you're doing. We we still want your money.

 


[01:18:27.180] 

Yeah. And I don't know that this is obvious to the public, by the way, because everybody I've ever mentioned it to is like what? Like, oh, yeah. Remember that crap that Obama put into place years ago? Here it is, boys. Yeah.

 


[01:18:38.940] 

You know, I know when when when you know, back when Obama was in office, it was like, well, 2020, that's that's frickin' light years away.

 


[01:18:47.310] 

Well, not anymore. Right.

 


[01:18:49.360] 

Right, true. And it's only going to get worse because it's only getting worse.

 


[01:18:54.210] 

In fact, I think twenty, twenty five and I could be off, it might be twenty, twenty eight but there will be no more production of gasoline engines. Right. We're going to see this soon. Like not even a Harley Davidson. Yeah, that's and that's going to be impossible. It's crazy, it's absolutely crazy. I mean, you know, for the majority of Americans, this this is rich, like typical, right?

 


[01:19:21.540] 

You've got these people who live in cities mandating what's happening in the rest of the country.

 


[01:19:26.940] 

Well, the majority of Americans live in rural areas. Right. Electric vehicle doesn't work there. Yeah, true.

 


[01:19:34.350] 

So this is just crazy stuff. It really is. Hopefully they don't get rid of the things I know that. The internal combustion motor is to me the greatest invention ever and. I own a Ford Raptor, and it's a 2012 it's gotten six to now they you know, they got the six cylinders with the Turbo, with the turbos, and everybody goes, oh, it's so much better. I don't know.

 


[01:20:04.700] 

No, I like displacement. You know, there's no replacement for displacement. That's right. This is my forever truck.

 


[01:20:12.680] 

But when I when I need a new motor, I'm getting the Godzilla motor. You know, we're going yeah. We're going to that seven three or seven four, whatever it is. And then we might put some boost on it. But yeah. Yeah. I'm not I'm not going smaller.

 


[01:20:29.420] 

No, no. It's it's an interesting phenomenon. And you know, back to your point. When you look at companies like Honda, they already produce a zero emissions gasoline engine. Like why why we're doing this. I don't understand that the gasoline engine has been so refined. Right, that it's that good now. Yeah, so even in my JL, you know, that's got three point six liter gas engine coupled to that HIV transmission, you can go any speed you want down the highway with Forty's, right.

 


[01:21:07.160] 

You do not need a V8 in that thing. So for that for the public like this is this is more than enough. And oh, and by the way, I'm getting like 17 miles to the gallon. Right. That's not bad on Forty's, right? Yeah.

 


[01:21:22.340] 

And I when I was in Moab, I saw the new they've got a four cylinder. Jeep, they call it the four by E. That powers a generator, which charges a battery. So it's like a Prius, right? But it's a Jeep and that's new. Forty nine miles to the gallon.

 


[01:21:42.380] 

Wow. That's that is available in two weeks. Geez. So, yeah, it's here, you know. Well, hopefully we don't get rid of the hopefully we don't get rid of all the the gas motors.

 


[01:21:57.520] 

I know, I know. I'm hoping that they figure out a way to do that. But, you know, thanks to Obama, that's that's what we're kind of faced with.

 


[01:22:07.600] 

So it's like electric car racing. You know, if it doesn't have the sounds and the smell of a race and all you're doing is watching things go around real fast, it might as well, you know, I don't know, playing video games. It's yeah, yeah, yeah. It may take skill to race, but it doesn't have that same ambiance, you know, that same feeling. So, yeah, they got to have vroom motors on it like our old bicycles did when we were kids.

 


[01:22:37.640] 

Yeah. Oh.

 


[01:22:38.560] 

I'll tell you what is interesting to me is to see more kind of along that vein, those side by side, those Can-am side by sides competing in the 4400 class is showing you that a smaller, lighter platform could be an answer. Right, you know, so where we've been going, bigger and bigger engines for all these years, you know, maybe it's time to, like, downsize the whole thing and go with a lighter platform. So it's got me thinking.

 


[01:23:06.780] 

I'll tell you that.

 


[01:23:07.830] 

Huh. Interesting concept. Yeah. OK, well, while we wind this down, have you thought of a question you might have for me? Where, you know, where are you planning to take racing, you know, I liked the group that you were reaching and are you are you going to kind of stick with a pre ultra platform or are you going more toward just rock crawling?

 


[01:23:38.630] 

What's what's your outlook right now? For us, our go fast racing days are behind us, the dirt riot, dirt riot was a was a great stepping stone into the Ultra four series. It was a place to teach. People how to race, how to be successful, how to finish a race, we didn't see enough people coming back into it once they we had a really large group at one time and then they started to trickle into ultra four and then.

 


[01:24:15.170] 

They spent some time there and then they quit and they're not racing at all anymore, and racing has become. So much. More localized for those racers that are still that are still racing, they don't want to travel. So it's like, OK, I'm going to race if I'm in Texas, I want to race, you know, the more of a desert style race, because that's what, you know, it's less damaging than the rocks. They get a chance to go faster.

 


[01:24:43.700] 

So they're racing like the Texas Desert Racing Association or whatever they call themselves. There's a couple of those going on for what we were doing. It just, you know, without the car counts, it became impossible to do. And with everybody stepping up or realizing that it's too expensive, we started seeing the rock crawling again expand. So. Oh, that's good. You know, right now, we had sixty three cars at our nationals last year in 2020.

 


[01:25:14.600] 

So that and the year before that in nineteen we were like forty eight cars and. Oh so I think the rock crawling people are understanding that the rock crawling you still get that the competitiveness, you get the camaraderie of like minded individuals. But it's not is. It's not as budget driven as the racing is and not as damaging. If you break a link bolt. At. Two miles an hour, you can stop before you do any other damage.

 


[01:25:54.450] 

Yeah, you break a link, bolt bolt at. 40, 60, 80 miles an hour, you're taking out a lot of other parts. Yeah, maybe even the whole car, correct? Yeah. And so, you know, that that I think is attractive to people. I mean, I asked Nick Campbell one time, you know, do you Miss Rock crawling? And he goes, oh, yeah. He goes, What I miss the most is I miss when I can.

 


[01:26:21.610] 

I put the car into the trailer after a rock crawling event. And my prep is when I pull the car out and top off the fuel.

 


[01:26:33.200] 

And he and this was, you know, quite a few years ago.

 


[01:26:35.980] 

And he goes he goes now it's ten thousand dollars per vehicle per race to get ready for the next race. That's right, and there and that doesn't include all the free parts they're getting right because they're replacing a lot of parts. Yeah. And doing it all themselves. Yeah. I don't have a crew that they're paying, so, you know, I mean, it's, you know, it's it's a big hit to the wallet. And I know people that are racing or raced that, you know, leveraged everything they had.

 


[01:27:09.170] 

You know, whether it was their house or whatever, just, you know, most of the time it was, you know, and they got, you know, three loans against their house so they could go racing. And to me, that that's what that's great trouble in, you know, in 2008. Yeah. So, yeah, you know, hopefully people have learned and they're not doing that, but, you know, they still want to race.

 


[01:27:29.840] 

So I think that's where the UTVs are coming in, you know, in the popularity is because they can race even though a full blown race, UTV is one hundred thousand one hundred thousand bucks.

 


[01:27:40.760] 

But it's better than Jordan's 500000 car, correct? You know? Yes. Yeah. We we figure that every time we take Jordan's car out, even if it's for the day, it costs us five thousand dollars. Wow.

 


[01:27:51.810] 

Because of, you know, wear and tear on the motor, the transmitter, you know, basically everything that's in there only has we figured the life is 80 hours. So you're just clicking away on the time.

 


[01:28:05.870] 

So, yeah, that's that's a that's a price tag. Yeah, it's it's crazy and, you know, you can say, well, you know, gas isn't costing that much in a while, but when you think about having to rebuild the motor and do all these things, it's like that stuff's not cheap.

 


[01:28:23.270] 

It's just the way it is.

 


[01:28:24.310] 

So just bolt checking and hymes and everything else, you know, all that stuff that wears it wears out and has to be replaced. That's right.

 


[01:28:35.010] 

And if you don't, then you wreck the whole car. So that's your choice. Yeah.

 


[01:28:39.180] 

Well, Tony, I want to say thank you so much for coming on board and sharing some time with us and talking about your history. I know I learned a lot. Hopefully our listeners learned a lot about you as well. And, you know, good luck in the future with the kids racing program and with what you've got going on with GenRight. And, you know, I hope to see you here shortly. I didn't make it to Easter Safari this year.

 


[01:29:06.150] 

Hopefully next year will be a lot different and we'll be back to normal and then we'll be there.

 


[01:29:12.420] 

Sounds good. Well, thanks for having me. I enjoyed it, too. And look forward to seeing you the next time.

 


[01:29:18.390] 

All right. You take care and thank you. OK, bye bye. If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating, share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. Well, that brings this episode to an end. OK, you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much.