Throughout this time of enjoying his truck project, Jake was working jobs from electrician apprentice to union laborer, but really wasn't happy at either. His parents encouraged him to follow his passion. Dynomite Diesel is based in Jake’s hometown of Monroe, WA, and he had previously applied there twice, because “they’re the biggest, nicest diesel shop around,” he says. “I would drive by there and think there were so many cool trucks and thought it would be so fun to work there.” His persistence finally paid off after his third attempt. Lenny Reed, the owner, called him in for an interview. It went well and he offered Jake a job. Jake recalls that he had also had an interview with Boeing, but that he felt like he’d just be a number at Boeing and not learn as much as he would at Dynomite.
He began at the bottom of the totem pole with duties such as changing oil, mopping floors, and being the mechanics’ “helper.” Although these duties weren't exactly what he had envisioned, it was an atmosphere where he could thrive, being surrounded by diesel trucks and all things related. Fortunately, Lenny and Ryan (Lenny’s brother and the shop foreman) saw his drive and mechanic potential. Fast forward 3 1/2 years and after countless hours of hard work, on-the-job training and hands-on experience in working on light-duty diesel trucks, Jake is now a lead mechanic at Dynomite Diesel.
When he first started, he put his truck on the dyno to see how it stacked up. Surprisingly, it made 508hp. “That was before I started learning exactly what I was doing,” Jake says with a laugh. “After that I got addicted to horsepower. I needed to see what I could to get some more power out of it.” He says that Ryan is a tinkerer and a “mad scientist,” so they would think up outlandish things to do to the truck to make more power. After all the work (and three blown transmissions), the truck is sitting at a high-water mark of 789hp. His goal is to hit 1,000hp, but he knows the current manual transmission and clutch aren’t up to the task.