Customer Testimonial

Pro Motor Engines

From engine builder to business owner: advice from the pit.

When you’re a business owner, the path ahead isn’t always clear. At every turn, there could be a new challenge that gets in your way. Or an opportunity that requires you to act quickly. It’s important to be prepared so you don’t lose momentum—and to have a team at your side that can see you through to the finish line, successfully.

That’s the case with Dennis Borem, owner of Pro Motor Engines in Mooresville, a company he took over after his predecessor, Mark Smith, passed away from cancer in 2017. Mark was a successful NASCAR team owner and engine builder. Dennis had been Mark’s right-hand man for decades building engines for the team and for road racing as well.

There’s a lot of winning in racing, but to win at business is a whole other challenge. You’ve got to set yourself apart from the competition by finding your competitive advantage, build the right team to support you, keep steady cash flow, solve challenges around every bend—and always be on the lookout for ways to get further ahead. Dennis shares some of his tips for success and the challenges he overcame on his path from engine builder to business owner.

Serving the customer

“I think in our industry, there’s a lot of really good engine builders, good people in the business,” Dennis said. “You have to have a good product that goes without saying, but at the end of the day, the customer needs to feel like they’re being taken care of.”

For Dennis that means getting the customer exactly what they need, communicating throughout the process, taking care of them after the sale, and continuing the relationship. He’s had some customers who’ve been in a real bind and come to him with an urgent need. Their success rides on his ability to get them back on the racetrack quickly. He makes sure to get the job done well, so his customers can be successful—and happy.

That’s his company’s competitive advantage.

Taking the wheel

To go from right-hand man to owner of the business was a big transition for Dennis and he needed guidance. For help in purchasing the business, the building, and the property, he turned to Peoples Bank, the company’s longtime financial partner.

“Peoples Bank met with me several times at the shop and gave me a lot of good advice on how to go forward and how to try to figure out how to make this work,” Dennis said. “And in the end, it did, it worked really well.”

What Dennis appreciated most was his banker’s ability to explain things simply, and in language he understood. After all, he’s an engine builder, not a banker. He knows what it’s like when he talks engines with someone who doesn’t understand the mechanics of what he’s saying.

“A lot of times when I go into somewhere like that, the doctor, the bank, you hear them, but you just don’t take it in,” Dennis said. “And I think my bankers were good at spelling it out, so I understood where the numbers went and how it worked.”

Getting out of tight spots

Bridging gaps in cash flow is a big challenge for most businesses. Dennis encountered one situation several years ago that was quite a challenge, so he called on Peoples Bank who assisted with a line of credit. Initially, he didn’t want one but once the bank explained how it worked, he agreed to it, and he’s grateful that he did.

“That got us through a really important time,” Dennis said. “Because there’s two things we cannot miss, and that’s paying our taxes and our employees. And those are the first two things that you take care of. And that allowed that to happen.”

He remembers years ago as an employee working for Mark that Mark also relied on—and trusted—Peoples Bank: “There were times when things were really tough in business for Mark, and for the sport, and the bank stuck by him.”

Staying a step ahead

When you surround your business with experts who can anticipate what you need, you put yourself at a real advantage. His financial partner, Peoples Bank, is always readily available to guide him, which makes him more confident in pursuing new projects.

“They’re a very big piece to the puzzle on what keeps things going here.” Dennis said. “I feel they’ve been a step ahead of us when we’ve asked something. Their customer service has been fantastic.”

Serving your employees

Dennis spent most of his working career serving his employer. In addition, he’s a veteran having served in the U.S. Navy. Now that he’s an owner of a company, he realizes he works for everyone, serving both his customers and his employees. He works side-by-side with his crew, helping when needed, and working through problems as a team. There’s a lot of longevity at Pro Motor Engines, which speaks to a positive and supportive workplace culture. There’s one employee who’s been there since 1977; now his son works there too.

“We pride ourselves on being like a family, and picking each other up, and trying to get better,” Dennis said. “And that’s how I feel with Peoples Bank. It feels more like a family.”