You may know Ryan Roberson as the man driving the day-to-day operations at Master PT in Columbus, Ind. On the weekends, however, he’s a driving force behind a wheel.
When Roberson received his MBA from Indiana University in 1999, to celebrate he told his family he wanted to buy a motorcycle. His wife and father didn’t like the idea, so he bought a go-kart instead.
He purchased a 125cc shifter that topped at 105 mph.
“My dad was like, ‘Maybe you should get a motorcycle,’ ” Roberson chuckled.
Go-kart racing quickly changed to sports car racing. Within a 4-hour drive of Columbus, Roberson now races his Spec Miata at raceways in Chicago; Indianapolis; Lexington, Ohio; and South Haven, Mich. This year he will race for the first time at Elkhart Lake’s Road America in Wisconsin.
Roberson had owned a Lotus but sold it, as a Lotus Challenge Series on the East Coast didn’t pan out. He also races Corvettes and Dodge Neon cars, and participates in 24-hour endurance series with three friends.
“Racing is very competitive, and really, working in a plant, I would be bored to death if there wasn’t some competitive aspect to it,” he said. “Everyday I know there are a lot of competitors out there looking to take our business. I’m always thinking about ways we can improve because there’s always competition in the marketplace.”
It pays to work at an industrial power transmission company, too. In a recent race involving his Dodge Neon, the transmission blew, and he had some experienced folks he could probe for answers on how to rebuild it.
“The confidence to see what these guys are doing and understand what it takes to do it right, it makes it easier to dig into an automotive transmission,” Roberson said.
As vice president of manufacturing, Roberson manages the plant in Columbus. For more than 11 years he has helped give Master PT the competitive edge in providing high-quality, reliable power transmission products.