Every so often, our editorial staff selects one aftermarket industry professional to get to know a little better Participants are asked to respond to a series of questions that can be answered in about the same amount of time you might spend chatting at the office coffee pot or waiting for an elevator. In this installment of “Five Minutes With,” we get to know Frank Buckman, who was recently named GM and CEO of Bondurant High Performance Driving School. Bondurant is now under new ownership. In May, Stig Investments Inc., a group of entrepreneurs who are racing enthusiasts and automobile collectors, announced it has finalized its purchase of the performance racing school.
What was your first job in the industry?
I started out washing cars at a Ride and Drive for Infiniti while in college. I was actually a marine biology major and now I’m in the completely opposite environment here in the desert.
What do you like best about your current position?
To be a major player in the changes that are taking place. To be someone who can influence the direction of the school with such a great new owner group.
Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?
I fell in love with the automotive industry working the Ride and Drive’s. I started out as a car washer, then I became a people handler, then a host and then I started supervising at events. This took me then to the racetrack, which took me then to IndyCar, which was my first motorsports job, doing PR and hospitality. That eventually landed me at Firebird Raceway. I literally didn’t look for a job that entire time. So, when the IndyCar Ride and Drive company was sold to Firebird International Raceway, I went with it and spent 18 years there. The last five years I was vice president of sales and marketing. So, interviewing for this job was the first time I’ve interviewed since I was 19.
What do you do when not at work?
We like to go to the beach in Mexico. We have a place in Rocky Point that is our downtime.
What one word best sums up your personality?
Do you have a nickname?
Frankenberry. When I was learning to walk the Frankeberry cereal was popular and I would fall down with my arms straight out in front of me and my uncle would make fun of me and call me Frankeberry. Still calls me Frankeberry. Over the years it has become “The Berry.”
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading the Gary Sinise book, “The Grateful American.”
If you know someone who would make a great “Five Minutes With,” email AMN Editor Amy Antenora.