"Can Scott Mann be far behind?" Short answer... No.
Long Answer: As long as customers ask us to make models, and we get enough orders, then I will continue to make model trains.
I don't know what I would do with myself if I wasn't working on something. For me, this is my hobby, running the business, reviewing the designs, traveling and checking production, interacting with interesting and interested customers at the shows. Getting a little golf in with the factory guys.
I get up early, 2- 3 AM most days and chat with Korea and China (end of their day), answer emails and maybe go back to sleep for a few more hours. I work with the office (remotely for now), coming in on their off days.
I don't wake early because I have to. I have always been an early bird. I love driving around town with no one out except me and the animals. I see Deer, Skunks, Raccoons, Owls... I have to drive more cautiously at that time because the deer tend to jump out from the bushes when they see my lights.
Before COVID, I traveled extensively to Korea, China and Europe (When we make European models), and Chicago and the East Coast (York). And I am the biggest white knuckle flyer you ever met, but I still traveled. That part of the business is gravy for the soul. To be able to pat the guys that make this stuff on the back, hold production models, make small corrections and changes with eager smiles from the workers. Everyone is invested emotionally. How could I walk away from that.
As time goes on I feel obligated to keep going to help those that make the designs, tooling and models, work at our office, print the magazines, all trying to make a living at it. We all have pledged to help each other in business, and so I feel the same obligation.
Dad was the same way. He came to work even during his Chemo at 75 years old, most every day. He was pretty tired most of that time. He passed away at 78, leaving me to run the business. I remember walking around the office early in the morning, before anyone was there. I could hear his voice, words of advise. Things I already knew, but we had rehashed over and over during our 10 years working together almost every day. He too loved running the business.
So that's the long answer. I am here to stay, as long as I have support from the factories, customers and a little luck.
BTW: Would you guys be mad if I dropped the SD40-2 for something more popular? After all this time we only have 190 reservations, only 1/2 of what is needed. What could the new diesel be that many want?
We're happy to read you will be around! For myself, I plan to keep purchasing your offerings not only because they are top-notch, but because you are great to work with. Also, it is a bonus to be able to conduct business with friends.
I like the idea of an SD40-2 run, but at half, maybe something like the Siemens Charger would get more interest? I'd also love to see the SD70ACe-T4 made.