Hooked on cars since age 2, Andy Lilienthal is now Warn Industries Strategic Communications Manager. That seems like a mouthful, what you need to know about Andy is that he’s a cars and community kinda guy. He can talk about them, write about them, and work on them. Our kind of human. Listen in as Andy gives us some background on how he got to this point in his career.
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2:44 – Hot Wheels were my jam.
7:34 – people swap sides of the desk all the time from editors to PR people
11:27 – united by horsepower
25:50 – basically, I was a toy tester
32:45 – there was a new way to talk to your customer
45:23 – the kindness of strangers
1:00:43 – this industry is full of lots of really awesome, passionate people
1:05:22 – we’re competing in the 2022 ARCA 5000 rally, a time-speed-distance rally through Canada and Alaska
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
[00:01:20.170] – Big Rich Klein
On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Andy. Lily. Andy has been around the off road and rock crawling world for quite a while. I know he got to start in some other things, media stuff, but I’ve known him basically for probably his entire career at Warren, which I thought was one stint, but ends up being a bunch of them. So we’ll talk about that. We’ll talk about Andy’s personal life. Andy, thank you so much for coming on board.
[00:01:51.310] – Andy Lilienthal
It’s my pleasure, Rich. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:53.200] – Big Rich Klein
Yeah, no worries. So let’s start off with where were you born and raised?
[00:01:58.990] – Andy Lilienthal
Yeah. So I was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and spent about almost 18 years there. I lived in Mississippi, actually, for a short period of time, about 18 months as a youngster, and then moved back up to the fridged north and then went off to Wisconsin in 96, I guess. I went off to Wisconsin and I went off to school there and then ended up living full time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for about over five years and then made the move out to the West Coast in 2006 to take the job with Warn Industries. And that’s where I’ve been full time ever since.
[00:02:44.700] – Big Rich Klein
Okay. Well, let’s dive deep into some of this history with growing up in St. Paul. It’s Twin Cities area. Like you said, it’s the frigid Northern part of the country. We have a daughter and a son that live up in that area. And yeah, it’s cold. So what did you do growing up for entertainment or activity?
[00:03:11.410] – Andy Lilienthal
Oh, what did I do? What did I do? Boy, a lot of car stuff when I was a little kid, like Hot Wheels were my jam. Hot Wheels Matchbox stuff. As a young kid, I never really got into the action figure thing that much. My parents bought me my first Hot Wheels, I guess, when I was two years old and I was hooked on cars ever since. I played video games, mostly car racing, video games, that kind of stuff as a kid. And then when I was old enough to actually have a car, that’s when the floodgates to my automotive passion really just kind of opened up. It’s all I wanted to do was car stuff, whether that was just cruising around as a kid in high school or working on cars in College, that kind of stuff. Everything I’ve done has always been about cars. Even like when I was in College, I have psychology degree, which doesn’t do much for me in the off roading industry.
[00:04:20.790] – Big Rich Klein
I beg to differ. I could probably pass and get a degree, having been an event promoter and dealing with everybody.
[00:04:31.350] – Andy Lilienthal
Fair enough. Fair enough. But I just remember, like, thinking when I was in College, how am I going to get into the automotive industry with a Psych degree? And I happen to have a I shouldn’t say happen to. I planned and ended up with a minor in journalism as well as a minor in history. And I ended up getting a job working for the school newspaper back in the 90s. And boy, I found out that I really liked writing.
[00:05:01.860] – Big Rich Klein
Was that College paper or high school?
[00:05:04.030] – Andy Lilienthal
It was College paper, yeah. And I ended up being a writer for the entertainment section. And then the year after that, I became the editor of the entertainment section and had writers working for me. And by golly, I was able to sneak in some car content into that publication. And my editor at the time, Corey Klein, who is still a good friend of mine, good last name, too. And he once told me, you write best about what you know. And I still believe that very true. I think that’s a very true statement. And so my passion I have a few passions, but my still number one by far, is still cars and trucks and automobiles and all that. And so when I graduated College a few months later, I was able to actually get a job as a magazine editor at a publication called Scale Auto Magazine. And that was all about building and collecting model cars and trucks before RC. Yes. This publication did not have anything to do with remote control.
[00:06:16.330] – Andy Lilienthal
It was all about mostly about building and collecting plastic kits. So maybe the younger listeners aren’t as familiar with building and collecting plastic bottles. But golden era was really like the 60s and 70s, where you go buy a plastic model kit and you glue it together and paint it and detail it. That’s how I really got into the industry, because a lot of these features I was writing, despite the fact that we made out of plastic, I was writing and editing features on the history of these vehicles and what you could do to, for instance, replicate a 392 or the right kind of throttle returns spring on a carburetor or the history of Mopar colors, that kind of stuff. So all those things gave me this background on full sized car stuff. So eventually I had wanted to move to Oregon for many years. My father had moved out here in the early 90s and I found this job working for Warn Industries. And I remember thinking, well, that would be cool. I wasn’t into offroading at the time, but I respected off road stuff. I liked looking through four Wheeler and off road and all those publications. READ MORE