Williams Winning in the Business of Racing
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Competitionplus.com, publisher Bobby Bennett and Columnist Tim Charlet.
Winning has become second nature, both in the board room and on the track, for Steve Williams.
Whenever you see a K&N sponsored race car on the track, including Steve Williams'(above), you see a car that has the fingerprint of Williams' marketing plan on it, whether it's sportsman heavy-hitter Dan Fletcher or Pro Stock Legend Warren Johnson, photo by Roger Richards
Dan Fletcher, photo by Auto Imagery
Warren Johnson, photo by Roger Richards
Williams, the vice president of K&N Filters, uses his passion for the job and love for the sport to ensure the growth of the company created by a couple flat-track motorcycle racers named Kenny and Norm.
He’s done well for himself as a businessman and has become equally impressive as a drag racer.
Williams began his career at K & N in 1996 when company owner Jerry Mall approached him about restoring a hot rod he had purchased. The restoration left a good impression on Mall who subsequently asked Williams to join the staff at the Riverside, Calif.-based company.
Williams was given an offer he could not refuse.
“I was working two jobs at the time and knew working for Jerry would be a great opportunity,” said Williams who lives in nearby Loma Linda, Calif. “It seemed like a good time to change careers; it worked out and I’ve been there ever since.”
Williams oversees product development and nearly 50-percent of the marketing efforts to help grow the business. He subscribes to a simple method of marketing the product.
“We sponsor cars in divisions where our products are used,” said Williams. “We believe racing engines are the most expensive and most critical to maintain protection. In essence we try to show our customers if it’s good enough for these high performance applications, it will work great in your own car.”
Williams goes one step further to ensure the public is properly educated about the company's quality products. K & N also uses television commercials during events where the product is being showcased to educate their customers about who they are. Williams chose popular NHRA track announcer Alan Reinhart to broadcast his message.
On the race track, Williams has become one of the ‘hitters’ on the NHRA LODRS series. A four-time NHRA National event winner and 20-time LODRS divisional Wally recipient, Williams uses his Super Comp Dragster and Super Gas Corvette to provide on-track marketing. He use to compete at 30 races annually in one class, but now spreads his time at half the races in both super category divisions.
“I figured if I have a bad day in one car, I might do well in the other,” Williams said with a smile.
Williams believes he is truly blessed to work and race for a company like K & N Filters. His dedication to the growth of the company and motorsports are shared by others at the company.
“Since K & N is still privately owned, the other members of the board of directors love the fact I am out there racing and winning while showcasing our products and brand name,” said Williams. “The cool thing is that nearly 40 other K & N employees are also racers in several other racing series. So we are well represented in motorsports.”
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