Ever wonder what it would be like to love your job? While few have the courage to pursue their passion at all cost, Brett Clow, Aeromotive’s Director of Technology did so at some risk.
Brett is the go-to person for tech support at Aeromotive, arriving in 2003, his mission was to build the company’s tech support department. They say that every position you have in life starts as a destination but becomes a stepping stone to the next. For Brett, this is especially true, and it started at an early age.
Born in the Midwest, he grew up working on a family farm and ranch operation. Brett learned early the value of hard work and long days, planting, cultivating and harvesting row crops, bailing and stacking hay and caring for cattle and horses. An agricultural life revolves around equipment too, and Brett busted more than a knuckle or two maintaining and repairing the tractors, planters, cultivators and combines, etc.. Attending a small, rural school, Brett excelled academically, but his shop classes (automotive, wood and metalworking) were his favorite and the first clue to his mechanical abilities and his passion for automotive.
Brett says, “Really, it was shop class that made school fun. All the boys brought their cars and engines in to repair and rebuild for class work. My first car was a ’66 Le Mans Sprint with the first ever American made overhead cam engine. Being an inline 6-cylinder it was two pistons shy compared to most of my buddies cars, but it was a factory hot rod with 10.5:1 compression and a 4-bbl Rochester Carb right off the assembly line. You might say it was a sleeper for sure! This was of course my first engine rebuild experience, though only one of many to follow.”
After his first year in college, Brett took a summer job that ended up lasting 3-years in an FRA certified Rail-Car Repair Shop. Here he learned real metal fabrication, from using a carbon arc to heating and cutting with oxy/acetylene torch, and of course how to weld all position. Rebuilding and repairing full size railroad cars is a big job, and tremendously satisfying, but the work was outside, year round, making conditions extremely difficult.
With Ag as his background and seeking a position that would offer more potential for challenge and growth, he switched to marketing financial products developed for self-employed farmers and ranchers. “I’ve got to admit that when you are thrown into a commission position, cold calling for direct sales, even with a great product and company you believe in, you learn a lot about yourself, how to stay positive when things are tough and how badly you really want to succeed in life. Equally important, I learned how to communicate effectively, including speaking and listening skills, and ultimately, what makes people tick.”
His career was on the fast track; quickly advancing through sales and into several levels of district and regional sales management, eventually working as a recruiter and then landing a position as Personnel Director in charge of recruiting for the eight state Midwest region.
And while his job was personally rewarding and successful from a financial standpoint, after 13 years of travel, four nights a week, he began to reassess what was important. “Actually, I’d met my future wife and become engaged while becoming evermore consumed with my hobby – automotive performance; I was either gone working or home spending the majority of my free time (and money) working on my hot rods. I had a number of different cars, but there was one, a 1985 Mustang GT convertible, that really lit my performance fire. It was a basic, cast iron 347 that ran low 10’s on motor and would go in the 9’s with a small shot of nitrous. There were a couple local guys with BBC Camaros that hated that car!”
It was then that Brett made the decision to leave a great job behind, the position, the money, the acquired benefits and make a move instead to follow his passion. The opportunity presented itself with an entry level sales opening at Arrow Speed Warehouse in Kansas City that meant a huge cut in pay and position to get his foot in the door. After a year and half in sales, he had established a strong rapport with a customer that was focused on the Mustang performance market. Brett adds, “I knew what their customers needed and with my knowledge of their core business I was ultimately offered a position to work for them as a sales manager. I took that job and was able to expand my knowledge of performance immensely over the next 5-years, and it was here I first became familiar with Aeromotive’s product line. I also was in communication monthly with Aeromotive president Steve Matusek and his engineering team encouraging them, including promoting the need for a complete 5.0L Mustang fuel system all under one part number. I think I badgered Steve and the engineers monthly until they finally built it.”
Recognizing talent and drive, Steve offered Brett the opportunity to come on board and build the company’s Technical Sales and Support department. This gave him the opportunity to use his communication and sales skills, combined with his hands-on knowledge of automotive performance to give prospective and existing customers comprehensive advice on problem solving, product selection and knowledge of how to build the best fuel system for their application. This was done in conjunction with establishing Aeromotive’s warranty program and creating a formal returns and repairs program.
Brett says, “Today my position cuts across many areas of the business. The bulk of my day is spent handling tech, including phone and email support with both our wholesale customers and their end users. along side of this I’ve spent many nights working on company race cars, weekends at the track helping Steve with his racing program and assisting our customers. Rounding out the year I attend the annual trade shows including SEMA and PRI.”
As Technology Director, you can bet that if you’ve spent any time reading an Aeromotive Tech Bulletin, the company’s FAQ’s, or scoured the AeromotiveInc.com website, Brett wrote most or all of the material. He’s also written and contributed to tech articles published on behalf of Aeromotive for many top performance mags.
He adds, “I take responsibility for my area 100%, as far as I’m concerned it’s my part of the company and I handle it as if my name were on it. I care about our customers and I know both what they’re up against and how to explain what they need to know in a way that can be easily understood.”
Since joining Aeromotive, Brett has had the opportunity to work closely with Steve Matusek, Comp Cams, Kenny Duttweiler, Roush Racing and many others to develop and build the first 2,000 plus HP Mod Motor Ford engine which broke a number of records in Steve’s Comp Eliminator car, and many car projects that he’s had the great fortune to touch in one way or another. It is one thing to come home to your hobby, but Brett lives it day in and day out. On a personal level he has built too many cars to mention but some memorable projects include a crazy yellow, twin turbo Mustang, a 326 Hemi in an open wheel roadster with the real McCoy Hilborn stack injection that was converted to a hidden EFI setup that looks and works amazing, in addition to a 430 cid small block Chevy in an extended cab pickup with an early Pro Charger and DFI fuel injection that he says was sick fun to drive.
When asked if he is now totally satisfied, he says, “Our research and engineering of fuel delivery sets the performance aftermarket industry standard. Bottom line, it’s the best, “bad-to-the-bone” if you will, yet we know that our mission is to keep reaching higher, to continue driving fuel delivery to the next level. In that way, I nor any of the team at Aeromotive is totally satisfied, but as a person that gets to do what they love and earn a living at it, yeah, I’m pretty happy.”