RZ: Tell us a little about your background and how your love affair and passion for cars and trucks came about.
SD: It all started when I was very young. I was always enamored with cars, trucks, motorcycles, anything mechanical. I would sit in school and draw cars on my notebooks or look out the window at the stuff driving by, and just be fascinated by all of it. My dad was definitely a car enthusiast, but not a hard core gearhead. Fortunately he saw the bug in me and nurtured it through the years with Hot Wheels cars and model kits. When I was about 10 – 12 years old, he had me spend some time working with his close friend (Jim Williamson) who had a shop, and was an incredible builder and fabricator. Jim taught me the basics of welding and fabrication along with general mechanics, and really opened my eyes to the world of custom fabrication. After high school, I attended Boise State University and continued to work at shops and on my own projects. The hands-on experience I was getting by working in shops and asking questions was an incredible way to learn and learn quickly.
RZ: You’re a skilled welder and fabricator along with being a designer. Where did you learn these valuable skills?
SD: By reading, working and going to various schools and taking classes along with asking a lot of questions, but mostly just jumping in and doing it. I started building Go-Carts at a young age at Jim’s (Williamson) shop. We put a 350 Kawasaki motorcycle engine on one, and it would hit about 120mph with the front wheels nowhere near the ground! It was a crazy ride! The thing I learned the most from Jim though, was to not be afraid to modify or customize vehicles. With the proper tools and skills, you can build literally ANYTHING. There is a tremendous amount of freedom and satisfaction in that! This also opened up the world of design and shapes and curves and helped give me an understanding of things that will impact the proportions on the rest of the vehicle. People like George Barris, Gene Winfield, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Dean Jeffries, John Buttera, and hundreds more had big influences on me. As for new technology, I am always on the lookout for new and better ways to do things, and am always constantly learning. The day you stop learning, or trying to improve yourself, is the day you die.