FantomWorks™ is a full service restoration company with seven divisions, it was created by Daniel R. Short in 2006. As you read the notes on the staff, you might think that it’s a dubious claim that every worker at FantomWorks is a professional; come on by and you’ll understand quickly that they absolutely are and that’s why FantomWorks is now the best automotive restoration, modification, and maintenance facility anywhere. Seeing is believing and you too will be a believer. By the way, for everyone we have on staff we’ve had about four try-out and about 25 apply.
“Only the strong survive at FantomWorks…”
Daniel R. Short - Owner and Restoration Project Manager
Dan has 31 Years of Experience including Certifications in Systems Engineering, Program Management, and Multiple Automotive Restoration Fields. Before starting FantomWorks Dan completed Numerous Restorations of American, European, and Asian Muscle Cars Dating from the 1930′s to the early 1970′s. Now with the ever growing hand-selected group of professionals at FantomWorks, he enjoys working to manage the overall operations ensuring every restoration is completed with attention to detail second to none. Dan’s ongoing goal is to make every customer’s experience at FantomWorks no matter how big or small, the best they have ever known in the automotive arena.
~: Office Staff :~
Melissa - Chief Financial Officer & Special Projects
She’s as talented as she is beautiful. She has worked behind the scenes taking care of the books for years since we first got off the ground and currently does all of that plus takes care of invoicing ensuring the customer accounts are updated and we don’t go broke in the process. She is well loved by all at FantomWorks for her work ensuring accurate and timely payroll for the ever growing crew. She is in charge of special projects and helps to keep all the insurances, taxes, licenses, certifications, documents, and permits “wolves” away from the back door. In many ways, she’s the “guy (or gal) behind the guy” for complex operations at FantomWorks. She just recently retired from the US Navy as a Commander now it feels like the Calvary has finally arrived. She’s also the love-of-my-life so don’t even bother trying…
Audrey - Office and Network Manager and Wounded Wheels Liaison
Audrey is an unbelievably talented office manager. When she interviewed she told me she had run an entire office to include reception, accounting, and payroll for another local company. I quite honestly didn’t believe her but she was so enthusiastic and extroverted during the interview I figured I’d give her a chance. It turns out, she didn’t exaggerate at all, she is the voice you will hear when you call our shop and whether you have a question about a car or a part, she’ll generally give you not only an answer; but it will be the right one. She runs the office and enjoys challenges that would scare probably any young women her age. Don’t let her youth and adorable looks fool you; she’s a tough professional office manager and doesn’t take any bunk from anyone. Audrey assists with the outreach efforts on Wounded Wheels to get this worthy cause off the ground. For more information on Wounded Wheels visit www.woundedwheels.org
Javier (better known as “Ha-vee”) - Webmaster
Javier is the guy we looked for since 2007 and unfortunately only found in 2012. We’re not sure how we survived without him but now that he’s here we know it was more luck than anything else. He has improved the website so greatly; it’s barely recognizable as the same site. He’s also the guy responsible for taking thousands of new photos and getting them posted to the hundreds of projects within our shop. He’s working on editing our ever growing collection of videos on YouTube and also takes care of much of the office administration as we’re busier than ever and he steps in to help whenever possible. He’s always in a good mood and when I’m busy, he’ll gladly take you around the shop on a quick tour.
~: FinishWorks Crew :~
Spencer - FinishWorks Lead and Interior Specialist
Spencer interviewed for an electrical tech position we had listed but when we talked, I asked him what his true “Automotive Calling” was and he said he really wanted to be an upholsterer. Well it just happened that we were getting so much interior work that we couldn’t keep up with it so his timing was absolutely perfect. As it turns out, the only reason he applied for the electrical position (yes he probably could have done fairly well at that) was that he wanted to come on board at FantomWorks and work his way into the upholstery shop where he’s the happiest. We couldn’t imagine anyone having a more professional disposition or attention to detail than Spencer. His work is amazing, his attitude is perfect, and his energies are boundless. Oh, in case you’ve noticed the amazing difference of all of the incredible custom fabricated “old-school” awnings popping up in front of the shop; that’s him too. When the malt shop is ready for the 1940′s booths and interior, he’ll do that as well. If you need an amazing interior, convertible top, or some custom touch to your vehicle, give Spencer a call…
Dale - Electrical Wizard
Dale’s life’s pursuit has been that of electronic wizardry. He has installed more DVD, GPS, CD, Blue Tooth, Alarm, Satellite Radio, and amplifiers than perhaps any human alive. When he came to FantomWorks we had to adjust his repertoire slightly to include some AM radios, Cassette decks, 8 Track players, and even tube style radios but he adjusted very quickly and did an amazing job. He is the guy responsible for all the electron flow through all the cars here now at FantomWorks and so whether you have a tail light out on your Hudson or a ECM (Engine Control Module AKA Computer) issue with your Resto-Mod, Dale’s the guy that can figure it out and figure it out quickly. This guy sleeps on circuit boards, flosses with rosin core solder, and snacks on fuses. You won’t find a more dedicated electronics technician anywhere.
Joe - The “Boat Builder” AKA the Old Man
Joe is a wood worker from a bygone era. He has been running the “Boatbuilder’s Woodshop” for many years and has been involved in about every type of wood work you can imagine. He is with us part time to help out with the old pre war cars, the occasional boat work, and with the huge task of assisting in the wood restoration of this incredible building. He’s soon to be a member of the Hollywood group the Screen Extra’s Guild (SEG) for his role in “Lincoln” recently shot in Richmond. He’s able to turn a piece on a lathe with a similar zeal as he spins a yarn for a captivated group. Meet Joe and you will never forget him.
~: IronWorks Crew :~
JP - Metal Fabrications Lead, Artisan, and Genius
As business was exploding last year at FantomWorks; in walked an unannounced metal fabricator wanting to join our team. It’s easy to believe God is watching over us when the perfect artisan is looking for work when we’re looking for him and we find each other. We brought him into the team and knew instantly that his dedication, skill, and professionalism were a perfect fit. He’s been an amazing addition to our IronWorks team and a great asset to FantomWorks. I wouldn’t have believed we could have found/developed another amazing sheet metal artist but now I’m a believer. He is a skilled machinist as well and may be heading up our machine shop that is currently under development scheduled to open by mid 2013. JP graduated from and then became an instructor at the Street-Rod fabricati0n school in America. He now practically lives here at FantomWorks and is nothing less than amazing. His ability to do English Wheel, Planishing Hammer, Hammer-Dolly and Stretcher-Shrinker work is breathtaking. He can build anything from a full quarter panel to a floor pan to a roof panel to the trunk floor right down to the original corrugations and reliefs. He builds motorcycle frames from long lengths of tube and gas tanks, fenders, and oil tanks from flat sheets of 16 Gauge steel. He is my secret weapon as we move into the future as we will compete in and win the Riddler soon.
Walt - Welder and Metal Fabrications
Walt is the IronWork’s newest employee to leave the FNG status (friggin new guy). He’s a Texan and looks tough on the outside but a caring father on the inside. He came on board as a heavy welder with some experience as a body fabricator but had to start at the bottom as the IronWorks apprentice/shop helper. Kyle challenged him with ever increasingly difficult tasks and before long, Walt had commanded everything Kyle had given him and wanted more. Now, FantomWorks needs a new assistant in the IronWorks since Walt has graduated from his apprentice status and is a qualified professional metal fabricator. The education he’s received in the IronWorks has catapulted him beyond his wildest imagination and he’s fully a part of the team. Just in case you were wondering; we still call him the FNG.
Justin - Logistics Manager turned Metal Assistant
We were extremely fortunate to find this young man. His competence over the computer is amazing. His ability to find parts is uncanny, and his willingness to withstand the abuse every logistics manager gets at FantomWorks is unbelievable. He could find a flea on a dog’s leg from across the glove and he can find the parts we need to build your antique vehicle. We’re hoping he’s going to fail out of ODU and stay with us full time but unfortunately he’s an Honor student so we know it’s only a matter of time before he’s going to become a Lawyer or Congressman or some such silliness.
~: MotorWorks Crew :~
Bob - Mechanical Genius
Bob, or “Bobby” as we affectionately call him is the best old school car mechanic I’ve ever seen. When FantomWorks posted an ad looking for a senior maintenance mechanic, we asked for an obscene number of skills in an attempt to get the most qualified individual around. When Robert answered the ad, I asked him which of the skills he thought he had and he replied “all of them.” I didn’t believe him until I had a chance to see him work. He can rebuild any carburetor (Holley, Carter, Edelbrock, Rochester, SU, Zenith, Weber, or anything else that exists) back to factory specs including re-bushing all of the shafts to eliminate all vacuum leaks. He can build any differential, transmission (automatic or standard) generator, alternator, starter, and of course can build engines in his sleep. Recently a customer brought us an engine from a 60 year old Cadillac that needed to be rebuilt. He rebuilt it without a manual and discovered that a small cam spacer was missing which was the reason it had failed in the first place. I’ve never known a mechanic that you could hand a 1920’s Babbitt motor or a 2010 fuel injected motor to and he’ll know what’s wrong with it and how to fix it. He is the most senior member of the crew with more than 35 years of experience ranging from speed shops to dealerships. I didn’t believe him at first, now I’m a believer. Bobby is also the initial developer of our database which allows us to provide timely customer reports detailing parts, hours, services, and technicians; he’s unique in this field.
Dino - Automotive Technician
Every shop has to have an immigrant worker and ours is Dino. We kid him a lot about being our Mafioso representative but in reality he’s just a great mechanic. He is very skilled and I know whatever level of basket case of a project I give him, I have confidence that he will figure it out and do a great job. He is an extremely intuitive mechanic and can find problems that most mechanics would miss, especially on the older and more modified cars we see regularly like the 60’s Mustang Fastbacks that have been through a dozen owners and modifiers. He is the guy we’ll give your car to if there are just lots of different issues with it as I know he can figure it out.
Steve - Motorcycles, Special Projects, and Small Engines
Steve knows more about small engines (which I consider a small engine anything less than a V8) than anyone I’ve ever met. He takes care of the old school bobbers, nail heads, pan heads, the Harley EVOs, all the Japanese motorcycles, and even the Briggs and Stratton engines. He’s built the 1957 Heinkel engine (for the 3 wheeler) and every bike we’ve had since he got here. He’s also done an amazing job on our generators, power washers, and even our concrete powered trowel. When people bring us the oddball things like foreign 3 and 4 wheel mail carts and micro cars, he’s the first one we think of. We haven’t found a small oddball or motorcycle engine he’s afraid of and he knows everything there is to know about them. If you have a complex or even impossible motorcycle project, give him a try, you’ll be blown away.
~: BodyWorks Crew :~
Allan - BodyWorks Lead and automotive Painter
Allan started with us shortly after we opened and has been a great asset to our team. He’s the one responsible for that final perfection mirror finish you see on all of our cars. He’s extremely skilled in single stage systems, two stage systems and tri-coats. Whether you want your car to look factory original perfect, modified, or fully customized Allan is the guy you want. He has dialed in the booth to perfection and keeps his section running flawlessly. Whether you need insurance work on your classic after an unfortunate mishap or need an entire change of color and appearance, Allan is the guy that can make that happen for you.
Rodney - Auto Body Technician
Rodney is the epitome of the quiet unassuming professional. He started with FantomWorks three years ago and is the guy responsible for most of the perfect curves and lines on most of the cars leaving our facility. Rodney does one thing for FantomWorks and he does it extremely well; he perfects the shapes of the bodies in preparation for paint. His dedication to the art is so profound that if you visit the facilities, you probably won’t ever talk to him; he rarely talks to anyone, he just quietly works to get every car in the shop looking better than the day it was built 40, 50, or even 90 years ago. He’s the guy that says in the shadows but his work is extremely visible. We hope he will stay with us forever.
Richard (AKA Rick) - Composite fabrications
Rick comes to us from the aerospace and defense world. He’s a talented composites expert and he’s also a CAD guy which will come in handy but he’s new so “more to follow.” Ok, so I have figured out that Richard is a composite genius. He has put together corvettes for us from pieces and has helped create the world’s first 63 Split window Corvette Convertible (Yes, you heard right, go on Youtube and put in 63 Split Window Convertible Corvette and see what he’s help build). We love seeing Richard build amazing works of art from composites that frankly would scare the hell out of most people (and certainly scares the hell out of me).
~: Building Maintenance Team :~
AJ - Building Maintenance Lead
AJ’s appearance is amazing and you’ll swear he’s the drummer from ZZ top. He is quiet and rarely says anything but “Right” when you ask him a question or make a statement. He was a roofer before joining us as our maintenance lead and has impressed us immensely ever since. He’s taken on the job of fixing our 55,000 square foot wooden roof and has done a yeoman’s job at it. In just about one year, he’s removed many tons of build up roofing rocks and has taken our roof from one of massive leaks everywhere to now just a few small drips here and there. Our Paint shop and metal shop are completely leak free and the guys don’t know what to do with all of this newly “dry” area. AJ also has brought power and air to the far reaches of the shop. You’ll find him on the lift, ladders, or roof of the building, he rarely hangs out on solid ground. He’s a quiet professional in every sense of the word.
Mike (AKA Mikey) - Facilities Repair
Mikey is one of those guys that no shop can exist without. Mike is the guy responsible for getting the cars stripped down to bare metal (or glass) for each of our paint jobs. More importantly, he’s the guy that helps bleed the brakes, fixes the broken lights, changes filters and takes care of the building. He paints the inside and out, pressure washes cars and bricks, and is the “guy behind the guy” for many of the building operations at FantomWorks. Mikey gets a lot of crap for doing “Mikey’s” around here but his heart is true and his loyalty is solid.
~: SPECIAL STAFF :~
Our Special Staff is a group of folks that works at/for FantomWorks but not necessarily on a full time in-house capacity.
Ray - Web Designer and Architect and designer behind our new Database Nov 2012
Ray is the smartest organizational and technological individual I’ve ever encountered. I have no idea why he continues to help out FantomWorks as much as he does but I’m also not one for looking a gift horse in the mouth. We met at the Granby Church of Christ when luck befell me and ray backed into a tree with his truck. He needed his tailgate fixed and I needed tons of help. I don’t think he had any idea what he was getting into when he offered to help us out in exchange for some truck repairs but we have certainly reaped the overwhelming advantage in this relationship. Ray is responsible for not only the new look (the architecture) of the FantomWorks web site, he is more importantly responsible for the ease at which we can now post pictures to the site. He understands people, advertising, web sites, computers, customers, cars, and about anything else that is important in developing a wonderful site. I can’t thank him enough for what he has done for us. Starting in 2010 I asked him to help design the new database so we can manage information in a 21st century manner. Ray took this request to heart and has spent hundreds of hours designing a database so intricately cross linked and relational that it is like nothing else that exists anywhere. Again, we’re not sure if we deserve him but I’m glad he thinks so.
Lisa Z. - Accounting, Taxes, and Payroll
Finding Lisa was one of those “one in a million” lucky finds. FantomWorks lost our accountant of 3 years and with all of the taxes (and there are a bunch of them including but not limited to: Payroll, Income, Sales, Property, Personal Property, License, Corporation, Impermeable land, Waste Water, Sign, Compressor, Unemployment, and others) Lisa came in to “save the day” and stop us from either getting in trouble or closing all together. Her phenomenal knowledge of business and background as a corporate accountant has been invaluable in the success of FantomWorks. You can’t have her, she’s ours!
Allyson (AKA Ally) - Videographer
Now that the FantomWorks facility on Hampton Boulevard is not only the best classic car restoration facility anywhere, but also is an international television set, we needed someone to assist in capturing video footage of the behind the scenes activities here. Ally is creating the back stories so that the program will be informative and detailed going beyond reality TV boundaries providing a learning environment. Her work will be available online in the spring when the show airs. She is doing an incredible job filming, so much so that the production company has hired her part time as their third set cameraperson. We see great possibilities in the future for this beautiful young lady.