Lüfteknic’s unique culture and approach to business is in a large part defined and shaped by the varied routes and paths by which we all came to work at the shop. Employee ages, from intern to support staff, range from 17 to over 80 with many more peppered in between. Additionally we have four Eagle Scouts included in our ranks, speaking to our life-long commitment to excellence, ethics, and leadership in our community, business and daily lives.
Our logo, graphic design, ad work and website have been designed, built and maintained in-house from day one. While non-traditional compared to many automotive shops, we feel these qualities ultimately make the difference in who we are and why we do what we do.
Position: Founder / Lead Technician
Hometown: Richmond, VA
History: With the encouragement of close friends, Robert started Lüfteknic in 2004 and it has been a whirlwind ever since. A trained scientific illustrator and art school grad, he got a “degree within a degree” by paying his way through high school and college working in high-end automotive shops. After college, he traveled North America and Europe working for several professional Porsche and BMW sportscar race teams. Robert has performed every role of a race team, including multi-car team management.
A few highlights of his racing experience include:
1999/00 Two consecutive podiums, Daytona 24hr
2000 Grand-Am GTU drivers, manufacturer, and team championship
2000 Motorola Cup GS team championship
2002 SCCA crew of the year – team manager
2003 SCCA World Challenge Touring Car champions
2010/11 ALMS GTC team championship
Currently the “encyclopedic Porsche brain” within Lüfteknic, solving challenging diagnostic problems has become his daily duty. Robert also builds the 6-cylinder engines and Porsche gearboxes. Robert met his fiance in his race team travels when she had “car trouble”. Another interest is baking, earning him the nickname “Bobby Crocker” in college. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Position: Office Manager
Hometown: Richmond, VA
History: Terry is truly the glue which holds the Lüfteknic shop together and the grease that keeps the gears turning as smoothly as possible. There are few aspects of the business which she is not a part of. Terry manages the shop’s service schedule, handles accounts and is the primary point of contact for most customers who walk through our door. Chances are she’ll be the person to greet you when you drop your Porsche off, and the one to check you out when work is completed.
As a photography major at the Maryland Institute College of Art, she has worked as a freelance artist, photographer and managed various photo labs and studios over the years. Terry came to Lüfteknic in 2005, not long after the business began. Terry has grown up with cars and Porsche as a constant part of her life, so her love of automobiles is there but perhaps on a different level than our more ‘enthusiastic’ staff.
Terry has a deep love for animals and the two shop dogs, Molly and Bella, are both hers.
Position: Restoration Shop Manager
Hometown: Underwood, ND
History: Chris spent over 30 years in the advertising and graphic design industries before “retiring” into Porsches full-time. He worked in agencies around the country on high profile campaigns, and ran his own design studio for a number of years. A recipient of many industry awards in his previous profession as art director, Chris puts his artistic background, designer’s eye and ability to see a project through from concept to completion into his role as the restoration shop manager.
Chris has always had a passion for Porsches and early Volkswagens, and has rebuilt, restored, bought and sold countless examples over the years. His 1957 356 Speedster however, is one that he has held onto through the decades, along with his 280,000-mile plus 911SC Targa. His first Porsche was a 1953 356 Coupe, purchased in the early 1960s.
Outside of Porsches, Chris was a long distance runner for decades, and is an aviation and model enthusiast. He also has been a PCA and 356 Registry member since their inception.
Position: Office Support / Events
Hometown: Washington D.C.
History: Jody comes to Lüfteknic with an extensive resume and background that varies from the hallways of NASA to the classrooms of Richmond, Virginia. With a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, she has also worked as a freelance artist, owned and managed an advertising agency, and she likes to say, has become an expert at ‘herding cats.’
Jody is also the understanding partner of a car-obsessed husband, and has been through it all: parts stored under the bed, transmissions rebuilt in the kitchen, engine overhauls on apartment balconies and new projects in constant rotation in the driveway. It is this unique perspective that she brings to the table as office support staff, answering phones and otherwise interacting with customers on a daily basis.
Jody has a fine arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and is a portrait painter. She also enjoys baking and cooking and she excels in all of the above, we may add.
Position: Staff Medic
Hometown: Alliance, OH
History: John’s love of automobiles started at an early age. He started helping his Italian uncle “Merky” repair the family’s cars and tractors before he started first grade. As he grew older he developed an appreciation for German cars and purchased a 1959 Mercedes Benz pontoon sedan for $150 as his first car. He stayed with M-B until the early 2000’s when he went to the “dark side” purchasing a Cayenne S, then over the years adding other Porsches to his collection including two 911’s and a 1965 356SC that he is restoring from the ground up.
He has an MD degree from Vanderbilt School of Medicine and is a Board Certified Vascular Surgeon. He is semi-retired and when he is not working at Lüfteknic, he works at the local Veterans Administration Hospital and is an Associate Professor of Surgery at VCU School of Medicine.
He is married and is fortunate to have a wife who accepts his car craziness and is happy to travel anywhere across the country to car events. John and his wife have driven their cars across the country several times to 356 Registry and PCA meets. In his “free time” he also remodels houses, builds 18th century furniture and passes on his love of cars to his kids and grandchildren.
Position: Head Cheerleader
Hometown: Downers Grove, IL
History: Dick (callsign JR) is in between his 3rd and 4th career at Lüfteknic. Originally from outside of Chicago, he has made the Richmond area his home over the past 35 years. He was in the Navy (his first career) for 25 years through some interesting times during U.S. history.
As a youngster, he often watched early flight trials and carrier practices being done in the Great Lakes. In the forth grade he was building model airplanes on his mom’s “bacon board”. Dick started flying while he was a sophomore at Western Michigan University. He thought the best pilots in the world were U.S. Navy, so he signed up.
Dick’s Navy career spans several decades through the Cuban Missile crisis and the Vietnam conflict. His flying career was mostly reconnaissance missions throughout the Southeastern U.S., the Mediterranean, and a Vietnam conflict tour in the Gulf of Tonkin. Some of his duties included moving VIPs and airframes around the world.
While stationed in Jacksonville, he became involved in the local sportscar scene participating in timing/scoring for the Sebring 12hr in the early 60s several times. He was able to purchase a 356B Roadster in 1963 and has owned it ever since.
Dick’s 356 has been a member of his family, traveling to different navy bases along the East coast ultimately here in the Richmond area. Dick entrusted Lüfteknic to breathe new life into his car, and has enjoyed being a local “crowd favorite” ever since. While being involved in that process he continues to help out in the shop several days a week. Without his involvement our shop simply would not be what it is today.
Hometown: Richmond, VA
History: Grant is full of energy and turns his ideas into reality. As an early teen, he raced off-road motorcycles in “hare scrambles”. Earning money doing odd jobs, he was able to maintain his race career for the first couple of years. Once things got serious amongst his competition, and monies needed, he had enough foresight to understand bowing out was the right choice for him. Grant joined Lüfteknic as an intern just shy of his 14th birthday.
Through high school, Grant continued to excel in his studies and at the shop. A customer was selling his 911SC Targa rolling shell project, and Grant jumped at the opportunity to reach for his dream of owning and driving a 911. While working as a lifeguard during the summers, doing his school work, running track, and a couple of afternoons/days/weekends at Lüfteknic, he gathered the money, parts, and knowledge to get his 911 on the road.
With a steady work-plan, and refurbishing assemblies of the 911, little by little his car came together. His car has received a thorough mechanical restoration over the past few years. He recently drove his 911 for the first time, which was also the first time the car had been driven under its own power in more than a decade.
Grant is currently attending Western Carolina University studying Engineering. When he has college breaks, he works at Lüfteknic. He was also involved in Scouting, enjoys the outdoors and is an avid runner/hiker/biker.
Any business has a set of individuals who are key supporters and help to move forward the momentum of continued business success. We are lucky to have a few key staffers who you will see in the shop and at events where Lüfteknic makes appearances.
Hometown: Richmond, VA
History: Ed is the self proclaimed “road scholar”, he went to all of them. He has been part of the staff seasonally between working in the Outer Banks, NC and Richmond. His first career as a carpenter and fine cabinet maker has made an easy transition to the world of professional auto mechanics. Ed has owned a bunch of automobiles, many he has tailored to his needs or desires. A wide range of cars, and trucks, and beach going 4×4 vehicles that can carry him to the “secret spot” along the beach.
During the summers, Ed works in the Outer Banks building vacation homes, doing renovations, and even designing homes from the ground up. His love for beach water-sports spans most of his life with surfing, windsurfing, and now into kite-boarding. This has earned him the nickname “Shreadly”.
Ed has been a technician after he got bit by the Porsche bug when he bought his first, a 911SC. Performing all kinds of upgrades to his 911, he learned a considerable amount. Replenishing considerable value to it, he was able to drive his car to Rennsport III at Daytona in 2007. He has been a part of several years of growth at Lufteknic, garnering a real diverse skill set of Porsche repair work under his belt. Ed enjoys working with his hands and always is excited to be in the shop.
Currently on sabbatical, (2013-2015) Ed and his wife are traveling across the U.S. and Europe in a Mercedes Sprinter he has made into a camper. They have been able to cross many of the bucket list destinations off from F1 races, the Porsche museum in Germany, beaches everywhere, and making their way to Rennsport V at Laguna Seca in 2015.
Position: Team Photographer
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
History: Josh and Robert became friends in college sharing ideas and similar interests over cars. Josh was a photographer major in college, he has taken his schooling and moved it into the world of fine art handling. Josh works at one of the premier art galleries in New York City and travels the world (literally) managing exhibits at art fairs, and special exhibits in fine art galleries. Josh also spends time freelancing shooting cars, and car events. Many of the photographs you see on the Lüfteknic website are Josh’s work.
Josh is also a car guy having interesting cars since he was able to get a driver’s license. A majority of his pre-Porsche experience has been the water-cooled VWs with his last one being a new Mk5 GTi. His first Porsche is a 997 GT3, he purchased sight unseen and his first drive in a Porsche was this car after he purchased it. Living in Queens, NY he looks forward to driving his GT3 regularly throughout the east coast of the U.S. (from Maine to Florida), including 2 trips to the Sebring 12hr.
Josh currently is pursuing the dream of road racing. He has been to several pro-schools learning the ropes with real experience. In the mean time, he is also an active participant in a restoration of a Mk2 VW IMSA GTU prototype to use in historic racing. His other interests include searching for the fountain of youth, staying up all night, and refusing to grow old.
Position: Special Ops
Hometown: Norfolk, VA
History: Justin is the quintessential car guy. His teenage years were spent traveling across North America for a professional BMX race team. Justin’s love for cars was self inflicted with the need to get around and explore. A VW enthusiast, he and some friends traveled across the U.S. in a VW bus, including rebuilding the motor in a campground in the mid-west along the way.
Justin also was part of the formidable days at Korman Autoworks campaigning the first E30 BMW M3s chassis 001 and 002 here in the U.S. in the then Firehawk Endurance series. Since his time at Korman he has owned many BMW motorcycles and BMW cars. Justin has owned every iteration of the M3, currently driving a E92 M3 sedan. In a former life he also owned and operated a motorcycle shop here in Richmond, before moving into the Real Estate title business full time.
He has also owned several Porsches over the years from early 911s, 944 turbos, to 964s and recently a 996 GT3. Justin has been part of the extended family at Lüfteknic since the inception of the business. His help with transport, odd jobs, welding, and “midnight help” have been invaluable at times. He continues to help when his busy work schedule allows.
Justin has owned every car imaginable, if we had to count we would loose track, it has to be well into 3 figures. He has also raised two daughters that are now venturing into college.
Position: Heavy Lifting
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL
History: Drew brings a visionary approach to any job site, a true problem solver. His studies of environmental science have matured into a landscape architecture business. He works with high end residential and commercial properties around the Richmond metro, and the Mid-Atlantic. Drew is involved within every aspect from design to the finished project, and coupled with a love of the water he has been able to integrate water features and hard-scapes, with traditional home building.
Drew is a car and motorcycle enthusiast having enjoyed German cars with ownership of several VW and Audis over the years. He also has rebuilt and ridden his fathers BMW R60/2 that was originally purchased new in Germany. When not working on some sort of machine he spends time sailing with his son.
He is a team player and loves to be a part of the challenging tasks at Lüfteknic. The technical delicacy that is needed in a no failure environment is Drews calling. He is a champion of the business, and one who is always excited for the next challenge. Also, if you are around for his BBQ, its a real treat.
Position: Street Team Manager
Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL
History: A self prescribed Porsche and split VW Bus devotee, Chad is also a second generation VW/Porsche owner. One with great enthusiasm for the air-cooled heritage he has been one of the few from the Jacksonville area that have organized the annual Bulli Brigade events for the past 20 years. The Bulli Brigade is a pre-67 VW bus event that garners enthusiasts from all over the world.
Chad’s day-job is a firefighter in downtown Jacksonville, as a first responder. A lifetime resident of Florida has allowed him to enjoy his cars year round. Loving to drive he always is behind the wheel of something interesting. His enthusiasm and civil service is a great attribute for talking with people at shows and over the road as he carries the torch for Lüfteknic. He rolls with his Lüfteknic single cab to around the Southeast attracting attention where-ever they go..
Chad also has a car crazy daughter that loves to drive with her father. She will come talk to you about cars, dogs and food. A great smile that is contagious to anyone.