Meet My Little Brother

This story is about my younger brother! I’m so proud of him!

The Fincastle Herald/October 2008/Destiny Booze

 

Darin Rickman Lands a Dream Job for a Young NASCAR Fan

 

Have you ever answered your cell phone and heard Larry the Cable Guy on the other end saying that he was ready to be picked up at the airport? Have you ever acted as Brendan Frasier’s escort for a day? It isn’t in most people’s job descriptions to pick up celebrities at the airport or walk them around. Darin Rickman has performed both of those duties during close to five years with Motorsports Authentics – the souvenir company for NASCAR.

 

Rickman grew up in Buchanan and graduated from James River High School without much of a plan for his future. Through a friend, he learned about an open position with the souvenir company for a driver. He had just turned 21 and didn’t have his commercial driver’s license (CDL) yet.

 

Contingent on getting his CDL, the company chose to take a risk on a new and inexperienced driver and hired him. “It kind of fell into my lap,” he said.

 

For a young man that had yet to travel practically anywhere beyond a family vacation and that loved watching racing, it was the perfect job. “My first two years were great,” he said.

 

During his time in that position, he drove the souvenir truck for Elliot Sadler, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. He described seeing the country, new and beautiful places, meeting new people and living a dream job. That he worked in the shadow of some of his personal racing idols like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was another perk. “I got to see and touch and do things I’d only seen on the Discovery Channel,” he said.

 

He befriended his supervisor Josh Willis. Willis became Rickman’s mentor, teaching him about the inventory and computer systems on all the souvenir trucks. It was an informal apprenticeship that paid off when he was promoted after only a couple of years into his current position as Information Technology Manager. The new position required that he oversee all the trackside computer equipment and the sales operation. He was responsible for supervising approximately 70 employees.

 

Within a few years, Rickman suddenly found that he was relatively high on the corporate ladder. He – small town boy without a college degree – was suddenly the one in charge at the track. When there was a problem, it was his number that they called. The racecar drivers had his number programmed into their cell phones. He was the one called when a celebrity would be by the track to announce the infamous first words at the beginning of any NASCAR race – “Gentleman, start your engines.”

 

Does he feel like a big corporate executive? “No,” Rickman answered with a laugh, but he definitely doesn’t feel like the same Buchanan boy he had been when he graduated either. Does he wish he had gotten a college degree? Well, that answer wasn’t as simple. If he had gone to college, he was sure he wouldn’t have chosen computers to study. Does he feel disadvantaged without a degree? Sure, he admitted. “It takes a lot more effort to get where I am.”

 

Some of the greatest places he has visited on the road were narrowed down to a top three list – New Hampshire, Texas and Las Vegas. New Hampshire he described as extremely pretty and not overly inhabited. Texas he said is worth seeing because of its drastic changes in landscape from desert to greenery. As for Las Vegas, he said it is true that it is a city that never sleeps.

 

Still, his favorite place from all across the United States is home where he lives in Roanoke, near Bonsack. He said, “When you travel for work as much as I do, it makes you respect home. I can’t wait to get home.”

 

His favorite part of his job is the constant momentum and differences of each day. No day is ever the same. The most challenging part of his job is very similar to what he loves about it – the continuous change and movement, and doing what he referred to as keeping up with the lifestyle of long hours and long days. “Before you know it, you haven’t had a day off in a couple months.”

 

So, what’s meeting famous racecar drivers like? Well, he admitted the glamour wears off quickly. The environment he meets the drivers in or any celebrities in is a completely professional one.

 

Rickman has made a successful career with Motorsports Authentics. From here, he plans to work on getting in a more stationary position, perhaps settle down, and perhaps even start a family. He’s happy.

 

“I’m in a great place. If there’s anyone that takes pride in their work, they always want to do better. I’m satisfied where I am,” he said. “It’s an incredible experience.”

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Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Loved this post. An inspiration to us all..

  2. Thank you so much, Mark. I appreciate the comment. I love my brother!

  3. Sounds like a great brother and so glad life noticed him and his talents. You should be proud as I’m sure he is just as proud of you. Have a good day. Hugs, pat


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