1. First and last name
Kouts, Indiana (Northwest Indiana)
3. Style of boot you wear most often
I typically wear a Thorogood American Heritage safety toe with the wedge sole. I have a long line of Ironworkers in my family and they have me hooked on the wedge sole. Next boot I would like to try out is the Wellington with a wedge sole. Something I can slip on and off at home when I'm working on the property or doing fabrication work in the shop. My wife also likes a slip on boot that she can use in the garden and miscellaneous yard work.
4. What inspires you to do what you do
One huge inspiration for me at a young age was my dad. I got to watch him build, create and design everything we needed at our home. He taught me to be self reliant, pay attention to detail and always take pride in what I do. Those tools and that mindset made me the craftsman I am today. He is now a retired 395 Ironworker with 42 years in the trade. He still pushes himself everyday and continues to be an inspiration to me.
Currently, my biggest inspiration in life is my wife and two daughters. They inspire me to want more for our family and push through long hours knowing there’s a better life on the other side. I'm realizing more and more how much my career as an electrician takes time away that could be spent with my family. Im very grateful for my success in the trade, but these are days I can never get back. I want to inspire my daughters to think outside the box, be creative, and find ways to turn their passion into a career.
5. What is your purpose for doing what you are doing
I'm trying to create a workplace at home where I can provide for my family and be more present. I've learned that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is one of the best things you can do for personal growth. I've always enjoyed working with my hands, and I’ve finally found a platform where I can share my knowledge with others while learning from them as well. Overall, I do what I do because I love to design and create. I have so many ideas going through my head, and I want to share them with others.
6. How do Thorogood boots help you or why do you wear them
I was introduced to Thorogood boots early in my career as an electrician. Its been almost 18 years and I’ve never looked back. I’ve worked many 16 hour days in the steel mills with no pain, soreness or discomfort. They are the only boot I’ve ever purchased that instantly felt broke in. If I'm going to spend my hard earned money on a boot, I want a product made in America with pride and that’s what I get from Thorogood. I wear these boots because of the quality, value and craftsmanship. I could only hope to build a business of that caliber one day.
7. How did you get started with your business
I've always had a lot of interest in metal fabrication and design. A couple years back, I did a job for a guy that runs a wood moulding shop. I picked up quick that this guy had some serious talent. He was always showing me these parts that he would design with a CAD program called Fusion 360, then he would 3D print them to fix machines. I realized that this was just what I needed to take my skills to the next level. So I downloaded the program and taught myself how to use this CAD software. I am not an expert by any means, but I can design everything I need for my business. Once I had that figured out, I purchased my Langmuir Crossfire Pro CNC plasma machine. Since then, I’ve slowly started to build the foundation for a business that I really enjoy doing. It still has a long way to go, but I'm hopeful for what it can turn into.
8. What struggles have you encountered
Well, there’s always going to be struggles. I try to think of them more as growing pains, but sometimes I just feel defeated. My biggest struggle is just finding a balance between my day job, my personal business and my family. I have two young daughters so I can’t let myself get too wrapped up where it starts to take time from them. I also have a huge list of projects to finish on our home I recently built, along with ten acres to maintain. I have a lot of ideas as to different avenues I can take my business to make it grow. I also have a handful of immediate opportunities I can pursue. Only problem is I don’t have the time to fully commit while still working full-time. The most important thing right now is providing for my family.
9. How has a video platform helped you grow
The video platform has provided huge growth for Spicer Designs. I'm able to turn my designs, builds and projects into content that people seem to enjoy watching. It's a great way to network and develop new relationships while making money and getting sponsorships with other companies. I've received a ton of positive feedback from viewers along with all kinds of ideas relating to my fabricating work. The more I build the channel, the more I'm realizing it may be the key to my brand's success.
10. What advice would you have for others that are interesting in doing what you are doing
My advice to someone that’s looking to get into CNC work would be to not let it intimidate you. If it's something you're genuinely interested in, put in the time, do the research and you will figure it out. I'm constantly learning and sharpening my skills. I've noticed that when I have issues with my machine or software, it forces me to comb through every detail until I get it resolved. It's frustrating in that moment, but the end result is resolving the issue and learning more about my machine. My original plan starting this business has totally changed as its progressed. You have to be able to adapt and keep an open mind as different opportunities arise.