As I sit here at 4am with a cup of coffee, checking my emails and planning out the day, I realize just how anonymous the internet is.
Most of my interactions with other people in this hobby come through email and Facebook messages and I rarely stop to think just how crazy it is that people in today's day and age trust someone that they've never met to provide advice or to sell them thousands of dollars worth of products from halfway across the world.
Well, heck... I've got a few minutes to kill. Let me fill up my coffee cup and lead you in a quick RCSubGuy 101 class.
How I got started in RC Submarines:
It was back in 1999 when I first got it in my head that an RC submarine would be a pretty cool thing to have. Newly married and with no money, I was (thankfully) forced to learn the ins and outs of scratchbuilding nearly everything for my very first RC submarine, a 32nd scale Disney Nautilus.
From woodworking to fiberglassing, mold-making to electronics, physics to painting... I researched all I could and after a 3 year odyssey, finally launched my first boat.
From there, I slowly amassed an ever-increasing resume of projects, the majority of which I saw through to completion. It was shortly thereafter that I started to be approached by other people to build models for them.
Over the years, I've continued to foster my love for the submarine world. I'm not a rivet-counter. I couldn't tell you the specific differences between a Whiskey I and a Whiskey II submarine. What I am good at is engineering solutions and packing them up in a boat that looks and operates very well.
The Nautilus Drydocks
It was at the very beginning of my odyssey to build my first sub that my wife, Renee thought it would be a great idea for me to document my journey on a website to share with the world. She bought me a URL and I taught myself how to build a basic website. Hence, www.rc-sub.com was born.
During those first few years of trial and error, I posted up my progress and, to my great surprise, people actually looked at it. I began getting emails from people from all over the world, from all walks of life. Experts offered advice. Newbies asked for advice. Without meaning to, I'd connected with people from around the globe who had a common interest.
That was pretty cool.
Over the following years, I undertook more projects and documented them as well. More people began to look at the site. Suddenly, I began getting approached by people to have me build them submarines. I undertook the first few very cautiously. It was a big responsibility.
At this point, going on 19 years in the hobby, I've lost count of the number of subs that I've completed, but the number is likely close to fifty. Yep, fifty subs completed and I honestly don't even have one functional boat of my own. I have a few nearly-completed projects on the shelf, but no boat I could throw in the water.
Oh, the irony.
In 2016, I was approached by Mike Caswell of Sub-Driver.com to take over his inventory of submarine-related stock. This was, as it turns out, a pretty big deal for me. It turned my hobby into a business. I took on Dave Merriman's superb line of cylinders, Kevin McLeod's line of excellent electronics, and many other products that help people in the hobby "get their feet wet", so to speak.
Who I am today
I'm currently 42 years old, having just turned that age a couple of weeks ago on March 10th (mark it in your calendars and feel free to send gifts!). For an RC submariner, I'm pretty young, which is cool and tragic at the same time.
I've been married to my incredibly wonderful wife, Renee, for nearly 19 years now. We've actually worked together for the vast majority of our adult lives (and we haven't killed each other yet). I have one son, Logan, who is now 15 years old. He will be driving by himself in October. Steer clear of the streets of Florida after that date. You've been warned.
My education is in engineering, but I never completed a degree. Back in 2000, my family and I started a company in the basement of my father-in-law's home. We brokered used construction equipment around the world via our platform on a site we created at HDDBroker.com. That business quickly grew, and over the years offered me and my family the opportunity to visit many amazing places around the globe.
In 2011, we sold HDDBroker to a large manufacturing company out of Iowa called Vermeer Manufacturing. A few years later, I was asked to work for them directly and my wife took over management of the family business.
Today, I head up the company's Market and Business Insights team. We basically collect, interpret and report out all of the company's market-based data to help us make strategic decisions. I am also responsible for crafting and managing the company's innovation efforts. I keep on top of the latest innovations and advanced manufacturing technologies.
My Average Day
I'm a morning person. Always have been. Morning is my high-energy time. I love it.
I get up at around 4am every day, week-day or week-end. Grab a cup of coffee and it's into the garage to build subs.
Four times a week I attend CrossFit classes. I'm actually certified to instruct, as well. I love it. I've even convinced Renee and Logan to come with me. They love it, too (at least that's what they say to my face). Class runs from 5:30am to 6:30am. There's nothing like starting off the day with good sweat!
Checking the math, I'll get an average of around 14 hours per week looking after the Drydocks. That's split between packing customer orders, replying to emails, and building customer boats.
I travel quite often for work, at least once a month for a week at a time to our main company headquarters in Iowa. About two or three times a year I'll end up overseas somewhere. I'll be in Hanover, Germany in a few weeks.
I really make a big effort to ensure that I keep time for my family. Mornings are for subs. Evenings are for family. That balance is really important. Family is first, and everything else comes after.
Well, shoot... this quick intro turned into a bible. Sorry about that.
If nothing else, I hope you now understand a bit more about what it's like to be me. Hopefully you also understand why it sometimes takes a bit for your orders to go out. If this was a full-time gig for me, things would be different, but I only have so many hours in the day.
If anyone wants to make a donation to the "retire Bob so he can make a business out of submarines" fund, hit me up and I'll give you my banking info.
Congratulations on making it to the end of the blog! You deserve a medal, you really do!