Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Local Motors Engineering Team Composites Trip - Day Two

Day two of the trip west brought us to a wide range of places, starting with a visit to Jon and Patricia Sharp of Nemesis Air Racing. In 1990, Jon and Patricia started Nemesis Air Racing with the development of their first air racer aptly named Nemesis, which is now in the Smithsonian. Since then, the husband-wife team and their small, dedicated team has developed the NXT largely on their own and have delivered 6 kits.

The visit to Jon and Patricia was very unique and energizing at the same time. Unique AND energizing because although they are not in business to directly produce product for Local Motors, it was very encouraging to see what such a small team can accomplish with composite layup, lots of hard work and the drive to be successful. Jon and team Nemesis have won 13 Gold Championships and has broken over 16 world speed records.

Our second stop of the day was at AC Industries where we met with Andy Shouse, President. This was another unique visit since Andy produces everything from a Porsche Speedster replica to Corvette aftermarket exhaust tips to supply a full line of VW Beetle replacement parts. At first, we weren't quite sure how our visit there would relate to the development of our prototype, but after seeing the capabilities of the exhaust shop (complete with CNC benders, welding etc.), the tooling and production costs for the Speedster bodies, and the VW parts business, we were able to gain some insight on how small niche manufacturers are meeting the needs of their customers on their needs small and large.

Lastly, we visited Terry Price, the Program Chairman of the Composites Training Center at Cerritos College. Here, Terry and his staff train people of all ages - he recently trained a group of 8th grade girls how to make surfboards and has students in their teens and twenties up to the fifties and sixties! This was good to note since we will have a diverse workforce and if we ever need to train our composites staff, we could send them to one of the various seminars that Cerritos offers, especially since the program is designed to train the students for direct placement into the workforce.

In conclusion, we didn't quite know what to expect on this second day given the nature of the places we were visiting, but through keeping our eyes, ears and most importantly, our minds open, we were able to learn a great deal.

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