Performance & Hotrod Business - July '15

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PERFORMANCE Michael Santa Cruz Director of Marketing, Energy Suspension. By Regis Finn Meet Michael Santa Cruz PHB: What was your first car? MSC: A 1977 Toyota Hilux truck N20 two-wheel drive with the 20R. PHB: What's your dream ride? MSC: Back in the day it was a Ferrari Testarossa; today it's the C7. PHB: What's on your computer/ phone wallpaper? MSC: On my computer is Bike Magazine MTB pics; on my phone is my beautiful bride, Sherry, and our lovely daughter, Luna. PHB: Person you'd most like to meet? MSC: William Henry Gates III PHB: If I wasn't in the performance aftermarket, I'd probably be … MSC: A building architect or a starving musician. I f you've worked in the industry for any length of time, you have probably run into Michael Santa Cruz, marketing director for Energy Suspension in San Clemente, California. Michael has been in the industry since 1985, having started at Kaufmann Products. Over the years he has worked for many well-known companies includ- ing Eibach, Peterson Publishing, TOKICO, MagnaFlow and ProMedia Publishing. It was during his time at ProMedia that I first met Michael. Now it's your turn. PHB: Hi Michael. So, what got you inter- ested in the automotive aftermarket? MSC: As a kid, I really enjoyed wrench- ing with my dad in the garage. Tools were the coolest toys. He'd show me basic repair and maintenance like spark plug replace- ment, oil changes and brake jobs. My uncle was the performance geek who drove a '66 Nova with Hooker head- ers, straight pipe exhaust, Holley carb, Edelbrock Performer intake, in which I learned to drive. I also loved watching all kinds of motorsports: drag racing, off- road, open-wheel, pretty much any kind of motorsports. PHB: How did you end up in the posi- tion you have today? MSC: Determination, persistence and networking. After college, I got my break into the industry working for Chris Kaufmann who started up Kaufmann Products, a mostly Ford aftermarket mail-order company, doing warehouse work, purchasing, head prep, sales, tech and catalog design work. In 1986-'88, we competed in the SCCA Pro Racing Escort Endurance Series, which led to using sev- eral aftermarket components like Energy Suspension bushings and Eibach springs. Manufacturing really piqued my inter- est, so after Kaufmann, Eibach was starting up their North American plant and needed a logistics manager. Soon after, I became their national sales manager. After 10 years with Eibach, Petersen n TALKIN' PERFORMANCE Energy Suspension is a polyurethane parts company that provides products to improve vehicle control and handling. Michael Santa Cruz is the marketing director for Energy Suspension in San Clemente, California. 30 n Performance & Hotrod Business n July 2015

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