AMN Drivetime: Rick Maxwell

AMN Drivetime: Rick Maxwell

Rick and Bill talk about what it means to continue the legacy of a family business.

In this latest episode of AMN Drivetime, Babcox CEO Bill Babcox sits down Rick Maxwell, president and owner of Cleveland-based United Motor Products.

Rick Maxwell is what some in this industry call a “lifer.” He’s been involved in the industry since he was about eight years old, working along his father, who began as an aftermarket salesman in 1965 for the originator of B’laster.

“He worked for a couple other companies in sales, and that’s how I got into it,” Maxwell said. “I was on the road with him staying in hotels, doing changeovers. … It was fun. … after that he decided, ‘Hey, since I’m a sales guy, I want to own a parts store.’ So that’s what he did. He opened a couple parts stores, so I got into working in a parts store.”

Maxwell described his dad as a “serial entrepreneur” who was always thinking about the next thing, which is how they went from sales to parts store owners to making spark plugs. “I was making spark plug wires by hand, you know, with a vice and putting the terminals on. And we would take the orders in the morning from the customers, I’d build the sets, we’d deliver ’em next day out of our car. So, it was fun. It was working at home and again, hanging out with the family. It was good,” Maxwell said.

After about two years they moved into a small facility and developed a consolidated spark plug wire line, and according to Rick, this is when things took off. “We’ve kind of just kept moving and morphing into the next thing. So we did that for a while, and then we moved into a little bigger facility, about 10,000 square feet, and we were there for about 10 years and grew the business, and then we moved into where we’re at today.”

Today the company has a roughly 20,000-square-foot facility in Cleveland, Ohio, and another 10,000-square-foot facility in Bradenton, Florida, offering an extensive range of engine-centric products.

During the podcast, Rick and Bill also talk about:

  • 0:53 Growing up in the family business
  • 03:26 The origins of United Motor Products
  • 04:41 What running a family business means to Rick
  • 06:11 A look at UMP’s full product offering
  • 07:11 The scoop on Rick’s other roles as partner in Engine Technologies and United Manufacturing Services
  • 07:33 How these three businesses work together
  • 09:14 Changes in the marketplace today
  • 11:43 The importance of staying nimble and agile
  • 13:32 Rick’s take on the EV market
  • 16:03 What’s next for UMP?
  • 18:54 Lightning round

AMN Drivetime is sponsored by Litens.

You May Also Like

Paired Power’s pop-up microgrid aims to solve challenges associated with fleet electrification

We discuss the challenges related to fleet electrification and why some fleets are turning to microgrid EV charging systems.

Amped-1400-pairpower-1920

Fleet electrification is tricky. Many fleet locations never planned to one day convert their vehicles to run using electric powertrains, and therefore lack the adequate electrical infrastructure to easily make the switch. The good news is that upgrade solutions are typically available, and today there are lots of partners out there who can help fleets get started. The bad news is that the upgrade process can involve lengthy wait times – sometimes up to two years – due to factors like utility management and equipment shortages.

AMN Drivetime: ContiTech Group’s Cal Ganda

As head of aftermarket distribution at ContiTech Industrial Solutions Americas, Ganda embodies servant leadership, prioritizing team success and customer-centricity.

AMN Drivetime Cal Ganda
AMN Drivetime: Schaeffler’s Jerry Conroy

Jerry Conroy shares insights into his career trajectory, the evolving landscape of the company’s aftermarket operations, and its commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Drivetime_ Conroy
AMN Drivetime: Grace Hovis, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply

Grace Hovis’s journey in Hovis Auto & Truck Supply blends tradition with digital innovation in the automotive aftermarket industry.

Drivetime_-Hovis-1400x700-1
AMN Drivetime: MEMA’s 120th anniversary with Bill Long

MEMA looks to the future as it celebrates 120 years making a big impact.

AMN MEMA

Other Posts

Why LEDs are the ideal choice for EV lighting

Advancements in LED and other lighting technologies allow brighter light to be produced from smaller fixtures.

EV-IQ-LEDlighting-1400
First Student’s blueprint for electrifying 30,000 school buses by 2035

We discuss the timelines and complexities involved in school districts around the country transitioning to electric school buses.

Amped-1920-firststudent-1400
Why a 12-volt battery is still essential in EVs

A device similar to an alternator, called a DC-DC converter, charges the 12-volt battery from the high-voltage battery pack.

EV-IQ-EV-12vBattery-1400
Tesla Model 3 TPMS service

Resetting and programming TPMS sensors for a Tesla is a lot like any other vehicle, and the challenge is still the same: keeping the light off.

bendpakEVgarageTPMS-1400