A: I worked as a drafter in Dolese Bros.' engineering department. Lynn and I would go to lunch everyday together and they hired her for the maintenance shop. They weren't supposed to hire spouses, but they thought she was cute.
Q: You've had a long career in the trailer manufacturing business. Give us a quick overview.
A: I started as a drafter with Haynes Manufacturing Co. Inc. in Chickasha, where I worked eight years. The owner died and the production manager and I had plans to buy the company, but he left. Over the next few years, I taught the ropes to a financial guy, who ultimately squeezed me out. (After losing that job) I didn't know what was going to happen. I knew I had a family to feed; my daughter was 3 at the time. That's when I joined Hart Trailers of Chickasha, where I worked 15 years. I started in drafting and engineering, moved to sales, and was general manager when I left.
Q: What led you to start your own business?
A: Opportunity. I wasn't necessarily planning it, but God shoved me into it and things fell into place. We started on Feb. 2, 2000, as partners to a couple who owned Cimarron Trailers in Madill. But Lynn and I bought them out in the summer of 2003. We had no idea how we were going to get the financing. Our first bank backed out as we got nearer closing. The second bank gave us a USDA guaranteed loan, which we paid off over eight years. Tony Hackney, our production manager and a former co-worker at Hart, has been with us from the start. Today, his dad and son work for us.
Q: You've built some custom trailers for some unique “clients,” including several college mascots. Tell us about those.
A: Yes. We've built one for Bevo, the longhorn steer of the University of Texas, USC's white horse, Traveler, and Colorado State's Cam the Ram. In fact, we're building a trailer now for the live horse ridden by Texas Tech's “The Masked Rider.” We've even built one for an elephant.