Under The Hood - The Road Less Traveled

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Under the HOOD

The Newsletter of RPM Foundation • The Road Less Traveled

Message from the President

All of RPM’s outreach programs — Shop Hop, Off to the Races, Behind the Scenes, and Concours Experience — work to bring restoration students face-to-face with potential mentors, employers and clients in order to bridge this experience gap.

You’ve heard us beam about our post-secondary educational partners — McPherson College (Kansas), Pennsylvania College of Technology (Pennsylvania), and Central Carolina College (North Carolina). While we, and they, are rightly proud of the curriculums they offer in automotive restoration and preservation, we realize it’s not the path for everyone.

Taking that idea one step further, later this year we will introduce the RPM Apprenticeship Program. Working with six shops which have been pre-selected for their “mentorship mindset,” each shop will conduct an interview process for prospective new hires that they met through RPM.

In order to quickly and effectively replace needed technicians into the classic car industry, RPM must look at alternative pathways of education for young restoration craftsmen.

Shops will choose from the top three pre-qualified candidates as selected by RPM. The candidate will then perform a 3-5 day handson, working interview at the employer’s facility to determine if the apprentice and mentor are compatible.

Options include vocational or technical schools (which provide Associate Degree or Certificate programs), à la-carte skill-building classes, and good old-fashioned self-taught situations – which often involve a strong mentorship figure.

Both parties will commit to a one-year employment term, in which quarterly evaluations based upon the shop’s and RPM's performance standards will be conducted. Expectations are that apprentices will attain advanced proficiency of each assigned task by the end of the program.

In the skilled trades, education is often ineffective without experience. Most shops expect 3-5 years working experience of new hires. Gaining this experience can come in many forms. Paid or unpaid work in the field enhances a young craftsman’s skills and knowledge. PROGRAMS

Gig Harbor Boat Shop Harbor History Museum



Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding

Off to the Races with RPM – Road America

LeMay — America’s Car Museum

Clover Park Technical College SHOP SUPPORT

Thornton Fractional High School

Great Lakes Boat Building School


Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation

Freedom High School

See you along the way,


Wexford-Missaukee High School Northeast Wisconsin Technical College

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Tahoma High School

It's just another way in which RPM works to close the experience gap for the automotive, motorcycle and marine craftsmen of tomorrow.


Off to the Races with RPM – Watkins Glen

Alfred State College

Independence Seaport Museum The Landing School

East Syracuse Minoa Central High School



Alex Levan Chris Behr

Team RPM Behind the Scenes with Mecum Chicago — VIP Program. (l to r) Linda Daro, Nick Ellis and Diane Fitzgerald.

Pennsylvania College of Technology



Bitney College Prep High School


East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT)



Diane Fitzgerald, President

Herreshoff Marine Museum



Off to the Races with RPM – Sonoma Raceway

Lowell’s Maritime Foundation, Inc.

Ruidoso Municipal School District


McPherson College

Judson High School

Hayfield Secondary School Madison Madison Automotive Automotive Repair Repair Engine and Central Apprentices Apprentices Frame Carolina Community College Garage Chesapeake Bay Maritime Sims Academy of Museum Innovation and PAID Technology APPRENTICESHIPS


Off to the Races with RPM – COTA



Owensboro Community and Technical College

North Mecklenburg High School



RPM Foundation Geography At-A-Glance To date, RPM has awarded more than $3.5 million to 339 grant applicants across the country!

1 The RPM Foundation is an entity of America’s Automotive Trust.

Under the HOOD SHOP SPOTLIGHT Metal Edge Creations meets McPherson College by BILL HALL Automotive Journalist and Collector, Elkhart Lake, WI

Metal Edge Creations in Elk Grove Village, IL grew out of a need for qualified craftsmen to restore Bob Lederer’s personal car collection. A longtime collaboration with metal former Sam Waltermire evolved into a business that now takes on customer cars for specialized coachwork and upholstery. Many of the projects involve pre-war, coachbuilt cars that require exceptional skills. “We see a lot of Delahayes and Duesenbergs here, so we can handle just about anything,” said Lederer.

RPM Students view some rare brass at Metal Edge Creations.

Currently employing nine full-time technicians, Metal Edge is set to add one more to its ranks when RPM Foundation student Sean Robinson begins a summer internship after his freshman year at McPherson College in Kansas. “I’ll be working on the fabrication of a boat-tail body for a 1929 Stutz LeMans race car replica,” said Robinson. “It’s a canvas body over a wood frame construction, so I will be able to use some of my joinery skills acquired at McPherson.” “For an intern, we are going to give him a huge amount of responsibility. He is going to be able to take ownership of this project. We will have him involved in every aspect of the car; from stripping it down to mocking up the new body. It’s a unique opportunity for a student in his position to have,” said Lederer.

Students and friends at Metal Edge Creations during a Networking Shop Hop. (Bob Lederer far back right)

Sean’s internship was made possible through an introduction made by RPM President Diane Fitzgerald. Lederer originally met Fitzgerald a number of years ago when they were sitting next to each other on an airline flight to Seattle. “We’ve stayed in touch, and Diane has had a number of the RPM students through to tour our shop,” said Lederer. Asked about his experience at McPherson College, Sean said, “I love it. The number of opportunities I’ve taken advantage of at McPherson have confirmed that this is what I want to do for my career. I am more excited than ever about my future.”

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Nate Kulpa Nate Kulpa, 21, of Tempe, Arizona, took an alternative path to his career in automotive restoration – and a fast track to entrepreneurship. While attending a high school automotive skills program at East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), Nate worked part-time at an auto parts store, picking up side work doing brake jobs and oil changes for customers. After graduation, he worked as a lube technician at a local Ford dealership. “I always knew I’d need experience to get hired somewhere. It’s hard to find a shop willing to let a kid jump in and start doing restoration work. But it happened a lot faster than I thought.” He was only in that position about two months before being recruited by Greg Nel’s British Auto Service as a technician servicing newer Jaguars, Aston Martins and Bentleys. “At first it was overwhelming. These particular cars are super-complicated. But Greg walked me through it, and eventually I was doing big jobs like head gasket replacements and transmission swaps.” However, Nate’s passion lay in older car restorations, and that side of the business at Nel’s shop was fully staffed. An acquaintance brought Nate a freshly-painted vintage Austin Mini tub – with six pallets of parts – and asked him to reassemble the car. He agreed, and the completed Austin became his calling card at local car shows.

Thus began Nate’s fascination with classic Minis. At the 2018 Goodguys Spring Nationals, Nate won the Young Guns award for his restoration of a 1962 Austin Mini Pickup. American Legends shop owner Tony Arme, himself a former SEMA Young Guns award winner, saw the car at the show and was so impressed that he offered Nate a job on the spot. But Nate’s dream was to own his own shop, and by September of 2018 he opened Wild Child Classic Cars along with his fiancé, Meagan Wearne. “I’d guess you’d call it a mom ‘n’ pop type of thing,” said Kulpa. Focusing on Austin Mini restoration and service, his business has taken off and now he finds himself in a familiar position as he eyes expansion. “Minis are unlike any other car; even experienced technicians don’t know what to do with them,” said Kulpa. “I’m trying to find a kid with a general understanding of mechanics, but who is moldable. If they have the drive, that’s what it’s all about.”

Nate Kulpa followed his passion through education, apprenticeship and now owning his own shop!

2702 East D Street, Tacoma, WA 98421 Toll Free: 855.537.4579 Email: info@rpm.foundation Website: www.rpm.foundation


Under the HOOD PIT STOP Checks-N-Balances I’m a good one to discuss alternative ways to get something to happen because it seems like I’ve often traveled the alternative route. I was fortunate to attend a vocational girl’s school from 7-12th grades, where I was able to participate in sports before there was a law – Title IX – enforcing equal opportunities for girls in sports. I graduated with a business certificate and set out immediately into the work force. I was also fortunate to pursue something that was not only dominated by men but was at the start of a new type of sports car racing in SCCA called Showroom Stock. This meant you couldn’t modify the performance of the car, which made it affordable. My first race car was a brand-new Pinto modified only by installing a roll bar, 5-point safety belt, and fire extinguisher for safety. Sometimes things you can’t control, in this case timing, work in your favor. We are influenced by parents, peers, society, money, and other external things in making decisions in our lives. I’m a believer in doing research, seeking advice from experts, then doing a serious internal checks-n-balances process of my thoughts and feelings. We too often miss the last part – listening to our own thoughts and feelings. As a teenager I thought cars were cool, but there wasn’t a way for me to pursue anything automotive because I didn’t know enough about the mechanicals and didn’t see that there was a way to make a living. After I figured out how to support myself, primarily

PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT Washtenaw Community College Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, features one of the few Motorcycle Service Technology courses in the country, and the RPM Foundation proudly funds scholarships and maintains relationships with program students like Emily Hatsigeorgiou and Kaitlyn Wolfe. WCC has distinguished itself by adopting the latest innovation while incorporating disciplines from the school’s automotive, manufacturing and welding departments for a curriculum designed to impart tactile experience to young craftsmen. For starters, all homework and book assignments are assigned and graded online, allowing for maximum utilization of hand’son time while in the shop setting. The school works with local insurance companies to source donated crashed motorcycles for shop projects, which are then stripped down and completely restored by the students for eventual resale. The funds from the sales are funneled back into the program. While some sheetmetal components are handed off to the auto body class for refinishing, other pieces like frames are powder coated right in class. Finished projects are tuned on a rolling motorcycle dynamometer. Another emerging tool in the shop is rapid prototyping. WCC uses it’s 3-D resin printer to generate everything from plastic trim

Lyn St. James joins RPM Ambassador and Astronaut, Drew Feustel as Kris Kaiser and Bruce Hamilton are honored for their support of the next generation of automotive craftsmen at the SVRA U.S. Vintage National Championship — Circuit of the Americas.

through secretarial work, and was able to have a little bit of extra money — ­ I bought that Pinto and started my journey in learning how to become a race car driver. It’s a journey I continue to follow because it’s truly my passion. It’s opened many more doors than I could have ever imagined. I’ve had many twists and turns on this journey, and many times struggled because I didn’t think I was good enough, or that there wasn’t going to be a “next opportunity”, but I persisted and continued to believe in myself and follow my personal internal checks-n-balances system. It continues to work for me. Try it… it might just work for you! clips and brackets to obsolete or rare parts. “Students create a CAD file of the desired part, put it in the printer overnight, and return to a prototype the next day in class,” said WCC instructor Michael Duff. Once test fitted and adjusted for accuracy, the CAD file is then sent to the manufacturing class for machining on the CNC lathe. Eventually, WCC hopes to raise enough funds to purchase a 3-D metal printer. Will we see widespread use of 3-D printers in restoration shops? “Absolutely,” said Duff. “It’s going to be in everyone’s restoration business. I don’t see how you are going to function without it. It allows for a much faster time to completion – and in the restoration field it’s all about time and material costs.” WCC’s 3-D printer is also theoretically capable of creating a buck form to hammer-out sheet metal like fenders and tanks. “We’re working on that,” said Duff. “We are so close.”

Michael Duff, Washtenaw Community College Instructor, shares a bit of restoration insight with RPM students, Alex Heidkamp and Alexis Doan.

2702 East D Street, Tacoma, WA 98421 Toll Free: 855.537.4579 Email: info@rpm.foundation Website: www.rpm.foundation



Dan Beutler, VP of Accounting & Controller, Hagerty (Traverse City, MI) Dawn Fisher, Vintage Racer, owner MFD Classic Motors (Lake Leelanau, MI) Diane Fitzgerald, President and CEO, RPM Foundation (Chicago, IL) Keith Flickinger, Master Craftsman, Precision Motor Cars (Allentown, PA) Lee Giannone, CEO, Classic Motorsports Consulting, LLC (Yardley, PA) McKeel Hagerty, Chairman & CEO, Hagerty (Traverse City, MI) Tabetha Hammer, Senior Manager – Car Culture, Hagerty (Traverse City, MI) David Madeira, Vice Chairman, America’s Automotive Trust (Tacoma, WA) Jim Menneto, Publisher, Hemmings Motor News (Bennington, VT) Paul Miller, President, LeMay – America’s Car Museum (Tacoma, WA) T.G. Mittler, Collector (Santa Fe, NM) Mike Stowe, Master Craftsman, Great Lakes Motor Works (Boyne City, MI)


Pennsylvania College of Technology and RPM student Vanessa Mathurin (seated left) helps showcase some of the history on display at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance.

Patrick Barnes, Community College Instructor, retired; ACM Volunteer (Portland, OR and Indio, CA) Josh Baum, Conservator, Private Collection (Goleta, CA) Herb Clark, Automotive Restoration Club of Sun City West, founder (St. Louis, MO) Sandy Cotterman, Real Estate Broker, Motorsports Enthusiast (Clearwater, FL) Drew Feustel, NASA Astronaut (Houston, TX) Travis LaVine, Manager, In-House Counsel, LaVine Restorations, Inc. (Nappanee, IN) Ryan Levesque, Lead Painter, Andritz, Inc. & RPM’s 1st apprentice (Montoursville, PA) Bennet Logan, President, Tailored Motor Company (Dallas, TX) Adam Martin, Owner, Martin International LLC (Covington, LA) Anne Martin, Owner, Martin International LLC (Covington, LA) Bud McIntire, Director - Student Services, Great Lakes Boat Building School, retired (Winston Salem, NC) Stephen Murphy, Collection Manager & Curator, Private Collection (Chicago, IL) Jason Peters, Owner, Mid-Century Motors & Restoration (Portland, OR) Stacy Puckett-Taylor, Collection, Preservation & Restoration Consultant, Seven Vehicle Management Group (Detroit, MI) Burt Richmond, Collectors’ Car Garage (Chicago, IL) Jody Reeme, Founder, Driving Conversations Across the U.S. (Wilmette, IL) David Rising, Automotive Engineer, Tacoma-native (Esslingen, Germany) Ronn Sieber, School District Administrator, retired (Hillsborough, NC) Clint Sly, President, Collectors Financial Services (Belleair, FL) Lyn St. James, Indy Racer (Phoenix, AZ and Indianapolis, IN) Jason Stoller, Manager, In-House Counsel, LaVine Restorations (Nappanee, IN) Haydn Taylor, HT Motorworks (Detroit, MI) Josh Voss, Cross Action Classics (White Lake, MI)


Diane Fitzgerald, President, RPM Foundation (Chicago, IL) Nick Ellis, Mentorship & Grants Administrator (Chicago, IL) Linda Daro, Administrative Coordinator, RPM Foundation (Chicago, IL)

Team RPM and students join MiRPA as they honor Indy 500 Winner Bobby Rahal. (l to r) Diane Fitzgerald, Burt Richmond, Emily Hatsigeorgiou, Alexis Doan, Michael Duff, Danny Gamze, Bobby Rahal, Linda Daro, Alison Ruble and Nick Ellis.

ADMINISTRATIVE VOLUNTEERS Dorothy Fitzgerald (Chicago, IL) Joan Olds (Tacoma, WA) Rome Thorstenson (Chicago, IL)

PRESERVE THE PAST. BUILD THE FUTURE. Who We Are + What We Do The RPM Foundation supports Restoration and Preservation training programs and Mentoring for the next generation of

automotive, motorcycle and marine craftsmen. As the educational arm of America’s Automotive Trust, the services, programs, resources and grants provided by RPM safeguard the future of the collector vehicle industry by sustaining hands-on training for young adults. RPM is based in Chicago, IL with offices in Tacoma, WA and Detroit, MI.

Supporting RPM Foundation – Thank You!

Help us achieve our goal of raising $1,000,000 this year! Today, with funding requests more than triple what we are able to giveaway, we need your support. Donations of any size are deeply appreciated.

For more information, contact Diane Fitzgerald, President (diane@rpm.foundation, C: 312-543-5732 Toll Free: 855.537.4579 www.RPM.Foundation). Yes! I would like to make a donation of: Other Please accept my donation of $



$50 $100 $250 to RPM Foundation.






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Bill my VISA / MC / AMEX (circle)

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Please send your donation to: RPM Foundation, 2702 East D Street, Tacoma, WA 98421 Or MAKE A DONATION ONLINE at: www.rpm.foundation Or GIVE BY PHONE: 855-537-4579 Donations of $50 or more receive a complimentary membership to LeMay – America’s Car Museum, an entity of America’s Automotive Trust. As a U.S. Treasury approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the RPM Foundation is qualified to accept tax deductible gifts and enables a donor to arrange charitable contributions in ways that maximize personal objectives in a tax effective manner.

RPM Foundation is the educational arm of America's Automotive Trust. RPMuthrlt19


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