Monthly Archives: October 2012
Sandra Cunliffe describes the origins of DC Electronics as simply being in the right place at the right time 15 years ago.
Her husband, David, a member of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force, spent his career working on the wiring and electrical systems of aircraft. When a friend asked him to create a wiring harness for his World Rally car, it was no surprise the results were a success. The couple started DC Electronics in 1997, and it has grown into a successful global business.
Producing high quality, reliable electrical systems for racing cars and high-performance vehicles, DCE products are used in all forms of championship auto racing including NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, World Rally, Superbike and sports car racing.
With NASCAR implementation of electronic fuel injections for the 2012 season, along with the ever-increasing expansion into North American motorsports, David and Sandra knew it was time to increase DCE’s presence in the United States. In May, DCE joined a growing contingent of U.K.-based companies to open production facilities in North Carolina. DCE opened its Mooresville location with a grand opening celebration on May 22 with members of the international motorsports community and NCMA on hand.
Both facilities are fully staffed and connected by a network interface. But nothing beats hands on time at each facility so Sandra and David have been logging frequent flier miles. They’ve learned the names of many international flight crews and have packing/customs/layovers down to a science. David has been averaging a visit to the U.S. once a month while Sandra visits every other month.
They have also learned to recognize, both in person and via Skype, when they have stumped their U.S. staff with British specific phrasing – something that sends Mooresville office manager Erica Dewey to Google several times a month. At the end of September, they hired Jack Hasting as the U.S. facility general manager.
Visit here to learn more about DCE.
Being in business for 42 years is pretty special. Being in business for 42 years and experiencing growth every year but one is more than special. Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems, a British company, has locations in seven countries with two locations in the United States, one of which is in Mooresville.
Jamie Ramsden took time to show me around the facility, and explained that the company splits its business among OEM (original equipment manufacturers), do-it-yourselfers and motorsports. It’s the motorsports aspect that is Jamie’s focus.
Even though Goodridge has been in the community for 15 years, the focus now is on customer service in the motorsports arena, with a planned increase on trackside support next year. Jamie says that for many years the performance plumbing system’s value was not appreciated, but when an increase in horsepower is proven, folks get on board. On board to the tune of a 50-percent increase in American business over the last three years.
The Mooresville operation currently has 15 employees with plans to hire additional production staff in the next 18 months. While Goodridge is traditionally known for flex hoses, it now produces hard hoses and hard-line flex combo hoses. You can see more by visiting Goodridge.net. The Mooresville facility is being outfitted with manual mill and lathes for one-off prototyping and tooling manufacturing. CNC equipment has been installed for short-runs parts manufacturing. All toward developing a local supply chain for motorsports prototypes and products and continuing Goodridge’s excellent customer service.
James Johnson, Sales Manager at Tom Johnson Camping, says his uncle, Tom Johnson, started the business in 1968, pretty much with nothing. Now, two locations (Marion, N.C., and on Bruton Smith Blvd. in Concord) and 250 employees later, it’s a thriving recreational vehicle dealership.
Carrying more than 10 models in new inventory, Tom Johnson Camping services quite a few folks in the motorsports industry from its Concord location. So many in fact, that there is a husband-and-wife team that attends (in a motorhome of course) about 80 percent of NASCAR races to offer technical support to owners. A sales person attends about 70 percent of NASCAR races. Sales from motorsports (which includes NHRA, ALMS and World of Outlaws) can average up to 35 percent of the company’s revenue.
The owners (drivers, owners, crew chiefs) of these use these vehicles as a “home away from home” during motorsports events, and spare no expense in being comfortable. Some models can sell for as much as $2.7 MM. Yes, that’s million. The price range for inventory starts at $59,995 and goes up from there. About 60 percent of sales are new vehicles and the rest are used. Sales in a down year (2008) were about 550 units. This year, Tom Johnson Camping is on target to sell between 1,100 and 1,200 units. The average RV buyer keeps the vehicle for two to four years.
The location in Concord provides a spike in business during nearby motorsports events. Those who are camping use Tom Johnson Camping as a base and pick up necessary RV items in its store. They can also have their RV serviced at this location. One-stop RV shopping while “hooked up” in one of the Charlotte Motor Speedway campgrounds. Visit the website here.