SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 66: The Maker Of Things

Sundays are tough days to get out. It’s the one day of the week I do my best to covet as much time as possible for spiritual and dedicated family time So when I invite my DP friend Bruce along for the ride, I welcome his invitation to join him in a visit to one of his friends: Curt, the genius behind Viewfactor.

I ask you to look beyond the invitation I receive from Bruce. True, it is an introduction. I’m even hesitant at first to take the interview, but it’s Sunday, family day, and the prospect of getting quickly in the door of meeting a new 365 friend is worth examining. I commit to Bruce in accepting his 365 partnership for the day, and give myself one prerequisite: I will not be commercial or do an essay on a photographic product. As I’ve said from the start, this blog is about people, and not about commercialism.

Bruce picks me up and we travel about thirty minutes to meet Curt at his office. As we are driving there, Bruce tells me a little about our destination. “Curt is always there, even has a cot to sleep on. It’s a family run business and Curt is a very smart fellow.” I’m paraphrasing a touch, but you get the message.

Smart is an understatement, Curt is a master mechanical engineer, with the credentials to prove it: Cisco Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems and a who’s who list of contracted clients. He is also an amazing artist, something that instantly comes to my attention as he shows me file folder after file folder containing the most amazing product sketches I’ve seen, some of which I’ve been sworn to secrecy. I also get to see his CAD renderings. Their like photographs created from pixel dust, no camera needed, amazing!

Here is how I place him in my mind, “The king of imagination and master of his domain.”

His domain? designing and engineering really, really, cool camera stuff. I’m not going to promote more than that. But if you are interested, check him out at Viewfactor.net. That’s all I’m saying.

He tells me of his childhood, “I spent my time not playing with my toys, but taking them apart.” He remembers,Wanting to know how they worked, I took apart my Transformers and Millennium Falcon. What was I thinking? I lately saw a similar toy, now collectible, selling for $7,000.”

Curt, apparently your toy exploration years of past are what jump started your mind to work the way it does. The $7,000 loss has paid off. So parents, neighbors and friends, if your kids are tearing their toys apart, there is hope. Buy more toys, watch them rip away. Perhaps your kids are the futures mechanical masters. Luckily, my girl love to dance, a different expense in itself.

My impression of Curt: A man of passion, honesty, intense work ethic, family value and love of what he does. That, backed by incredible business acumen, has put him on the leading edge in his field. He tells me of his competitors and the challenges of being a small business. But, in compliment to him, many of his competitors also rely on his services in developing their products. A pretty good place to be, although I do hear, and know of several companies that have taken his designs without his consent. That kills me to hear. Robbers, you know who you are.

So if you want the real deal, Curt is the man. And this is from my lips!

Curt has great integrity, “My Uncle and Grandfather were machinists, I loved what they did, and I’ll never forget them. I’m a family business and am grateful for our growth.”

What he doesn’t harp on are his business smarts. The shop is run well. Incredibly well by a tight team of four: Curt, his Mother, Father and Brother. Being a small business owner myself, and operating with the aid of my wife; I am linked by a common thread, knowing what it takes to keep a small business afloat, and Curt’s operation rocks.

Curt’s Words of Wisdom:
“Find something you love to do, and, if you can make a living at it, good for you!”

The Future per Curt:
“Get to the point where I can do nothing but tinker.”

Curt, Thanks for the Sunday visit and keep making cool stuff.

Readers, lets all listen to Curt’s Words of Wisdom. They are another brick on the path of the 365 story.

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