While most clients never meet him, Jake Lehn is an integral part of almost every project at JHE. Since 2009, the fabricator has been helping to build and repair almost every display JHE produces. When asked to describe his job, Lehn says “We can build anything, as long as there is a vision and funds, and we can repair anything, as long as we have the tools and resources.”
Every day in the department is different but 90 percent of the job is making the art department’s renderings a reality. The Wyoming-native is sometimes given complete direction on how the final project should look and other times, the fourth generation fabricator is asked to create something unique and different that has a specific purpose. A “meat and potatoes” guy, Lehn is modest about his work but can make any vision an actuality.
Prior to joining JHE, the dad of 5-year-old Shelby worked at RAB racing where he was in charge of the engines and drive train, paint and body work, heavy fabrication and a backup truck driver.
Q&A with Jake
- What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned at JHE? To keep an open mind and be willing to branch off your norm to accomplish something.
- What is your best memory at JHE so far? Building the Daytona 500 opening ceremony stage for the 2012 race. We were given the stage a few days before the event and had to build a number of things. We finished, loaded it into the truck and I drove it to Daytona. I arrived just in time to pull onto the track as practice was about to start.
- What made you want to become a part of the JHE family? I was doing three or four jobs at the race team and the job wasn’t fun anymore. I come from four generations of fabricators and welders so I’ve always had an interest in the industry. At JHE, I am able to focus on fabrication, building something different and unique for each project.
- What is the biggest myth about your job? People don’t always necessarily understand how much time it takes to build and weld a project. Every project has a different timeline based on customization.
- What makes you good at your job? I think I’m easy to get along with which is important in this role because I work with so many different people and departments at JHE.I also always try to keep an open mind about every project.
- What is the best part of working at JHE? Every day is something different. It is not a factory job where you know day in and day out you will be doing the same thing. One day we are working on aluminum, the next day its wood and then the day after that is steel.I hate coming into work knowing exactly what the day holds and at JHE the project is always changing.
Seven Things You Might Not Know about Jake
- I’m inspired by… my grandpa and dad. My dad owns and runs a body shop full time. He also has farm with crops that he manages every day, all year. I’m always impressed by how much he does in such a limited amount of time and still has time to do things with his wife and grandkids. He is very motivational.
- My runner-up career would be… a diesel performance mechanic.
- My family is… a “meat and potatoes” family. We are very down-to-earth people who work really hard.
- I spend my weekends… with my 5-year-old daughter Shelby doing whatever she wants. I spend as much time with her as I can. When I’m not with her, I can be found four wheeling or doing mechanical work.
- My favorite sport is… short-track racing.
- My favorite vacation yet is… I’ve never slowed down enough to take a vacation. I’m going on my first vacation in the next few months to the Bahamas.
- My favorite movie is… Lawless. I love movies set during Prohibition with fast old cars and moonshine… and this one has all three.