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Meet Dave Hoskins of Aluminess Products

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Hoskins.

Dave, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I had basically retired at age 42 after being involved in several start-up companies in the San Diego area. In 2001, I was called in as a consultant by a van conversion company to solve a problem they were having with their vehicles.

Their company was converting vans with the 4×4 capability to full Class B motor homes allowing people to go camping off-road. We redesigned the problem areas, but the vehicles were overweight. I suggested they stop using heavy steel front bumpers and use aluminum bumpers instead. I contacted several manufacturers, but no one was interested in the concept.

I set to work in my garage and designed an all aluminum front bumper. The prototype was approved, I hired a welder, and Aluminess was born! Later, I developed a rear bumper with swing arms to hold the spare tire and storage box. Before long, the concept took off, and we expanded to manufacturing roof racks, ladders, nerf bars and bike carriers for Vans, Trucks, and SUV’s.

Over the years, we have become known for our product innovation and quality of manufacturing. We now operate with close to 50 employees in two manufacturing facilities of over 25,000 square feet. We recently expanded operations with a second location in the Pacific Northwest, and we are shipping our products all over the United States, Canada, and beyond!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There are always obstacles when you start a new company! We found that we needed to ramp up production of our products to meet the demand, which meant we needed to find qualified employees and space to manufacture, ship and/or install our products.

In 2008, we moved into a new facility twice the size of the original facility only to have the recession hit. That was a period when the bank account went down, and I took no salary as an owner. A growing company challenges its people to get better and grow their abilities with it. We have a great team of people who have met and overcome all challenges as they arise and I am grateful to them!

Please tell us about Aluminess Products, Inc..
Over the years, Aluminess Products has developed an excellent reputation for creating quality products for the off-road community and their vehicles. We were the first to develop all-aluminum products for this market… products that are lightweight but durable, and rust resistant. We have a network of dealers and van conversion companies throughout the United States and Canada that sell our products.

We provide features and benefits to enhance our customer’s off-road experience. For example, our front bumpers provide a winch compartment that provides additional capability and insurance from getting stuck in mud, sand, or snow. They also provide protection in the event of a collision with animals that may damage the vehicle beyond operation.

Our Aluminess rear bumper offers additional storage for tools, generators and recovery gear… items you need, but do not want taking up space inside the vehicle. We can help accommodate oversize tires which are most often desired by the off-road camping community.

Our roof racks are able to carry a variety of sports gear including surfboards, paddle boards, and even canoes. Many customers install solar panels to enhance their capability to live off the grid. All of our lightweight aluminum products help the performance of vehicles by not overloading the suspension and brakes.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
As I mentioned, I was retired when I was asked to consult for a company who had problems that needed solutions. In the beginning, I tried to have others run the business and remain retired. I learned that no one will take care of your business as you will… I believe there is no such thing as an absentee owner of a successful business.

When you start a company with an idea, you have to adapt…changes, and challenges are going to arise every day. For me, it has made me stretch, learn and grow. Although I should have jumped in full time at the beginning of the company, I would not have learned an important lesson.

We are so blessed with the quality of our employees, the loyalty of our customers, and the professionalism of our suppliers. I am grateful for every minute of this experience!

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