There’s no grass growing under her feet, that’s for sure! Owner of TorqMasters Industries, Cora Jokinen, shares the divergent path that got her to the place she’s at today. But she’s not done yet! TorqMasters releases a new product every two month, Cora is involved with SEMA, competes in the Rebelle, and is building the space she aspires to own. With her architectural background and her husband, Erik, and bestie, Petunia at her side, this woman is unstoppable.
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3:16 – hockey was my focus in high school
6:43 – I built a house in college instead of renting
8:10 – my first vehicle was The Gouda, a 1980 Mercedes Diesel Wagon
9:57 – spent Thanksgiving break on my first off-road build
13:09 – I would tig architectural models in the 2nd story laundry room
16:12 – Tech official for Monster Truck
23:50 – got my first sponsor for the Vermont Jeep Girl Challenge
25:43 – hey, Bill, I’d like to buy your company
33:24 – it’s a swiss army knife
37:55 – phone call to delivered product in 10 days
43:53 – releasing a new product every two months
58:32 – going back to the Rebelle with Ford
1:07:09 – we have our dream driveway
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
[00:01:20.030] – Big Rich Klein
On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich. We have Cora Jokinen with TorqMaster Industries. We will talk to Cora about her beginning years, like we always do, and give as much information about how Cora has gotten into the off road sector as a business owner, an enthusiast, and now with the SEMA Women’s Business Network. So, Cora, thank you very much for coming on board this morning and sharing your history with us.
[00:01:52.700] – Cora Jokinen
Thanks so much for having me Rich. It’s an honor.
[00:01:55.900] – Big Rich Klein
So let’s just jump right in. And what do you consider your hometown? Where were you born and raised?
[00:02:03.220] – Cora Jokinen
So I grew up in Littleton, Massachusetts, which is North West of Boston, about 45 minutes.
[00:02:10.100] – Big Rich Klein
Okay. And that’s fairly rural.
[00:02:13.740] – Cora Jokinen
It was. But now it’s like considered a commuter town.
[00:02:21.000] – Big Rich Klein
As is most of America nowadays. Yeah. We sent some Shelley and I spent some time up in that area. We went up to Boston for 4 July celebration, which was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, and then toured, drove up the coast line as much as we could, and then went around Nova Scotia and then came back down, but absolutely gorgeous area, no doubt about it. Yeah.
[00:02:48.800] – Cora Jokinen
And there used to be some good off roading in Massachusetts, but most of it is all closed down. I know.
[00:02:53.820] – Big Rich Klein
Right. So you guys have to head over to Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or over to in New Hampshire. There’s still quite a bit off roading. Yeah.
[00:03:04.070] – Cora Jokinen
Field of Forest in New Hampshire. Rausch Creek, Pennsylvania. Those are pretty much an AOAA also in Pennsylvania. Those are the big parks.
[00:03:12.780] – Big Rich Klein
Okay. Cool. So let’s talk about those early years.
[00:03:16.920] – Cora Jokinen
Yes. So I went to public school and then as a kid, I grew up playing ice hockey, and that became a lot of my focus for high school. So I applied to a bunch of different prep school and ended up going to Lawrence Academy, Brotton. And so hockey was a big focus there. And my player was always just playing College. And as a little girl, I want to play in the Olympics. And what’s cool is some girls from my team growing up actually did play in the Olympics.
[00:03:50.720] – Big Rich Klein
Very good. That’s cool. What position did you play?
[00:03:54.520] – Cora Jokinen
I was goalie.
[00:03:56.440] – Big Rich Klein
Okay. I was just talking to Jesse Haines, and he played goalie, too.
[00:04:00.130] – Cora Jokinen
And I know that’s so funny. I was just reading his podcast, and I was like, That’s so funny. But I don’t know, goalies are a little crazy, but they also have kind of that sheep dog mentality, which we also see in the off road world, too. Like, leave nobody behind.
[00:04:18.210] – Big Rich Klein
Right. That’s true.
[00:04:19.540] – Cora Jokinen
I thought that was an interesting connection.
[00:04:21.470] – Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I did. As well. As soon as you said hockey, I know a lot of that, like a very primary sport in the Northern climates. It’s becoming more so because everybody is moving out of that area. And I know they offer hockey leagues down in Phoenix be the last place you’d expect to find ice, but indoors, they can do anything nowadays, can’t they?
[00:04:47.080] – Cora Jokinen
Absolutely. Hockey brought me to College. I went to RIT Rochester Institute of Technology for undergrad and then went to Grad School, Buffalo.
[00:05:02.090] – Big Rich Klein
And what was your major?
[00:05:05.960] – Cora Jokinen
So undergrad. I have a BFA with interior design and two minors in architectural history and archeology. Oh.
[00:05:16.620] – Big Rich Klein
[00:05:18.090] – Cora Jokinen
And my plan was always to be an architect, but RIT didn’t have an architecture school. So I went there to play hockey. And then I only played one year, then went to Grad School for Architecture in Buffalo.
[00:05:30.860] – Big Rich Klein
And that’s the University of Buffalo.
[00:05:32.660] – Cora Jokinen
[00:05:34.250] – Big Rich Klein
Okay. So growing up in those early years, what kind of student were you? Were you, you know, bookish where you not so bookish more technical or were you just kind of did your own thing?
[00:05:48.840] – Cora Jokinen
I was kind of in the middle. I did my own thing. I never really fit into a category. I was kind of like a floater socially. I hang out with the international kids because it had cool stories. I was inherently a Jock because I played hockey. And I also was really into the art classes and stuff like that. But school itself was pretty easy for me. And I think because of the quality of the teachers and everything, they made it engaging. And in prep school, the cool kids were like, cum laude, got A’s in everything.
[00:06:26.720] – Cora Jokinen
So it was very different than public school. And my public school experience, right? Yeah.
[00:06:33.920] – Big Rich Klein
I only experienced public schools. So did you go back to your hometown after graduation?
[00:06:43.420] – Cora Jokinen
Only for internships, when I was in undergrad the first year, you had to stay in the dorm. And then I was looking at, like, the cost of rent versus buying a house. And I had all these hockey girlfriends. And I ended up building a house nearby, like, 2 miles from campus. So I built a four bedroom house, and we built out two in the basement. And so a six bedroom house, and it paid for more than my mortgage.
[00:07:12.160] – Big Rich Klein
[00:07:14.080] – Cora Jokinen
And that was my parents idea. They’re like, well, why don’t you make money instead of just spending it all on rent? And I did a flip that into my next house.
[00:07:25.260] – Big Rich Klein
That makes perfect sense. Let’s talk about vehicles. When you were a young kid, I know you played hockey. Did you ride bikes or motorcycles or anything like that?
[00:07:41.240] – Cora Jokinen
So it’s interesting because a lot of people ask me, like, if my dad was a mechanic or something like that, or if I had brothers. And and I was an only child, and my parents were pretty cool. They told me I could do whatever I wanted. Nothing was like stereotype girls or boys activities. I got in to mountain biking. And then when I got my license, I took my vehicle on the same trail. But this time I could bring my friends with me. And my first vehicle was in 1980 Mercedes diesel wagon in that yellowish color they were doing. READ MORE