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LAKE NORMANECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Business incubator sees region's roots in racing industry helping fuel its success


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A group of entrepreneurs senses opportunity in the Charlotte region, hoping to spur innovation by utilizing the area's abundance of talent in the racing industry.

First Turn Innovations yesterday held an open house at its 5,000-square-foot facility at 11148 Treynorth Drive, between Cornelius and Caldwell. The business incubator focuses on mobility, manufacturing and hardware-based products. The venture is led by a group of seven co-founders. They have expertise in racing, machinery, wireless technology, engineering business development and patent law.

Co-founder Kevin Mahl is especially hopeful that First Turn can land entrepreneurs from the racing industry to focus on vehicle performance. With the emergence of NASCAR's Next Gen Car, Mahl feels First Turn can find an opening with workers in the industry.

"That's the potential that we see with this new car coming," Mahl said. "The focus of it is going to be the reduction of the engineering staffs. There's a lot of talented folks that will be looking for work, looking for opportunity. That's what we want to set up an infrastructure for."

First Turn's co-founders aimed to cover all bases for entrepreneurs that would be interested in working with them.

Mahl leads First Turn and is the president and CEO of Champion Tire & Wheel, which works in several NASCAR series. Co-founder Jeff Schultz's background is in business, product and technology development. Todd Mory helped found First Turn and is the founder of Techmor, which specializes in wireless technology, among other things. Albert Brunner owns AB Consulting, which specializes in automation and manufacturing.

 

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