November '15

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72 The Shop November 2015 I t is my pleasure to introduce you to clutch guru, Patrick Wilson. Pat is the CEO of Centerforce clutches, and its parent company, Midway Industries. He is also the son of legendary clutch builder Bill Hays, of Hays Clutches. Centerforce is now on to its third generation as a family-run business. With over 1,600 dif- ferent non-asbestos clutch/pres- sure plate applications available, you've most likely come across one of its kits on a performance or racing project. The company's product lineup includes the Centerforce I and II, DFX, Dual Clutch and DYAD Drive System series, along with its line of discs, flywheels and accessories. The unique Center- force design uses weights and cen- trifugal force (hence the name, Centerforce) to generate increasing clamping forces as the motor's rpms increase, resulting in an easy- to-maintain pedal effort. So, let's get to know a little more about the man steering the ship. TS: Hi Pat. Thanks for the time, especially right before the start of the big trade show season. So, what got you interested in the automotive aftermarket? PW: My dad, Bill Hays of Hays Clutches. We had people like Tom McEwen, Bennie Osborn, Tim Beebe and John Mulligan hanging out at our home as well as the shop, and then camping at the races. TS: You got to hang out with some true legends! TS: How did you end up in the position you have today? PW: I was recruited by Bill Hays. My background is aircraft component manufacturing. We designed and built flight control systems for Boeing, Hughes and others. Dad was starting to think about retirement and asked me to jump ship in that industry and steer the ship at Midway. TS: Tell us about your company and its place in the performance aftermarket. PW: We have been family owned and operated since 1982. Cur- rently we have 38 employees. We moved to Prescott, Arizona in 1995 for a better quality of life for our employees, and to get out of the negative business environ- ment in California. At the time we had 22 employees—19 team members and their families made the move with us. We ship performance clutch systems worldwide and enjoy a customer base that ranges from small single proprietors to mega performance outlets. I must mention my partners at Midway: Michael Hays, executive VP (my brother, I'm adopted) and my wife, Suzanne Wilson, who is our CFO. None of this is just about me—without our Center- force team support, I'd be steering an empty boat. TS: What's a typical day like for you? PW: Every day is different, except for our weekly staff meetings. You never know what the next day will bring. It's great because this job is never boring. TS: What's the best thing about your job? PW: Talking to old friends and meeting new friends. Networking in our industry is always fun. TS: What's your biggest chal- lenge? PW: Trying to map out projec- tions in an ever-changing market- place. The economy has been very challenging: Internet marketing, where to put funding for ads vs. Internet, etc. TS: How do you see the current state of the performance after- market? PW: Boy, that is the $24,000 question. We are definitely in a state of flux. Moving from tra- ditional two-step distribution to an Internet-based distribution system is the challenge. Some of our more progressive forward-thinking distributors are actively transforming their com- Pat Wilson Talkin' Shop By Regis Finn Meet... PatRIck WIlson President/Ceo, midway Industries Inc./Centerforce performance TS: So Pat, what was your first car? PW: It was a 1953 Ford station wagon. TS: What's your dream ride? PW: 2016 Zr1. (Yah, I know, they don't make one… yet!). TS: That would be a very cool ride! TS: What's on your computer/phone wallpaper? PW: our Seneca II airplane and Alaska glaciers. TS: Person you'd most like to meet? PW: That would have to be bob Hoover. TS: Pat, please com- plete this sentence: "If I wasn't in the per- formance aftermarket, I'd probably be …" PW: … aircraft manufacturing of some sort. Wilson has been around racing and performance vehicles all his life. (Photo by Robert McGaffin, McGaffin Digital Photography, 847.778.5534)

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