Since I was young, car culture and automotives have been a central part of my life. Growing up, my father was the stereotypical 50’s hotrodder with the nostalgic flattop haircut and a 29’ Model A roadster that he built. Later, Dad would go on to drag race a front engine “slingshot” and eventually do some circle track racing.
However, as our family grew his racing career came to an end; except for the stories. I grew up hearing those stories and that was the spark that turned me into a car guy. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was bracket racing at multiple tracks in the Midwest, and later did some stock car racing.
I started my business in 1982 in a 4-car garage in a residential part of town. Back then I was doing machine shop work, boring blocks, valve jobs, etc… My customers were racers, street rodders, and shops. The business grew into us doing complete engines, and eventually it turned into a factory where we re-manufactured engines. That business eventually topped out at 100 engines a day. Over the next 25 years, we produced over 300,000 engines. We sold engines to retail stores like AutoZone and Napa.
As cars and engines became better and lasted longer, our industry began to change. Engines started lasting 200,000 miles instead of 75,000; the world didn’t need as many rebuilt engines. I watched a lot of friends in that industry go broke as volumes came crashing down. At that point, we modified our direction to performance crate engines and launched the BluePrint Engines brand.
When BluePrint Engines began, around 2005, the product was just a rebuilt engine with a hot cam and aluminum heads. Things have changed a lot since then. Today BluePrint is an OEM level manufacturer of all new crate engines. We design our own blocks, heads, cranks, rods, oil pans; really every part of the engine is our design. We source components globally, made to our design and specifications for tolerance, material, and heat treat. Many of our sources are Tier 1, OE suppliers. The engines are direct fit replacements for small and big block Chevy, small block Fords, and Chevy LS3s.
Once we had all the parts to make new engines, we saw a need in the industrial market and launched our industrial division knows as Origin Engines. These new engines are built for companies that manufacture items such as new gensets, forklifts, and woodchippers. These are companies with a global footprint and an OEM mentality. A majority of these engines are also EPA certified. We even have the test labs, cells, and equipment to perform the required emissions tests on-site at our facility. Altogether for both brands, we manufacture on average around 80 new engines per day.
It’s clear that I have a love for cars and engines; I in fact built my first engine at 15 by following a Hot Rod article from Jack Roush. I’ve been a drag racer, dirt oval racer, a machinist, engine builder, a salesman, but I’ve also lobbied in D.C. and worked with multiple federal and state agencies. Emission regulations and the associated challenges is something BluePrint Engines is good at and deals with daily. Whether it’s a muscle car or an industrial engine, we know how to navigate through the regulations. We currently have 28 engines certified with the EPA.
Recently, I’ve been working with the SEMA Garage on CARB EOs. SEMA has a program to certify engines that are deemed legal everywhere, but California and we hold the first certificate issued for this program.
I’ve been appointed by two different Governors to multiple state boards and commissions. In one of those roles, I lead a program to create a lobbying effort that raised 35 million dollars for our state legislature the first year. Working in those agencies I’ve learned a lot about how state and federal agencies interact. I’m still actively working with the EPA, Department of Interior, and I currently serve on the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (Nebraska EPA).