As a father, especially as one who runs own business since his youngest years, you definitely don’t recommend your daughter to join the family business.
Birgit, Julia’s mother, and I are married for more than 30 years – exciting, stressful and wonderful years. Some people say “why you don’t you do Ducati or KTM, there is money to make”. Unfortunately, we got hooked on the East Troy Twins, which has provided us a living now for some decades, but you don’t get rich.
So the recommendation to our daughter Julia was very clear: stay out of the business, get a proper education and live your life. Sounded like a good plan and nearly worked out, but beside a lot of cons, living the workshop life has its pros as well.
Julia had her first ride in the sidecar of an white painted URAL limited edition UN sidecar (with reverse gear and driven sidecar wheel), together with her dog Sheeva a huge black crossbreed (read about us riding together here). Later with the age of 10, she rode as passenger on Birgit’s Buell S1 – 2 small girls fit on that seat, no problem (read about them riding to a school picnic here). In that age, she already had her first years of experience on the bike shows. The legend goes, she sold her first Buell exhaust in the age of 12 and not only there, she was involved into the business from youngest age on. Julia took the German school up to 9th grade including Latin, when the family decided in 2006 to sell Hillbilly-Motors and move from the German Eifel/Ardennes, located between the legendary racetracks of Nürburgring and Spa Francorchamps, to Sweden.
2000km North, a foreign language, a completely different school system, new friends and a family business that again needed any hand. At the age of 16 in a new country, learning Swedish and with the “Högstadiet Diploma” in her pocket, she went on to Swedish Gymnasium studying natural sciences and then off to Sundsvall Mittuniversitet for her Bachelor’s Degree as a biomedical analyst. Between, always bike- and custom shows, holiday at the racetracks and helping to build up a new company. Then after 3 years in Sundsvall, off to Uppsala, the legendary place of education in the Scandinavian North since 1477. Honestly, I wish I would have had the determination and that smart brain of Julia back when I was young, but I didn’t. And more hard work to follow, when Julia finally took in 2015 her Master’s Degree in Forensic Sciences.
Even if she realized more and more on the weekends how much she missed the Northern country life, the dogs and her freedom, she followed in 2015 the call of the Uppsala University to do her PhD (Doctor) in analytical chemistry.
Again, focusing, learning to be prepared for a career in science or industry.
After another year, she decided to come home to reflect, if that that truly is what she want to do in the long run. Immediately, she got interesting job offers from research to production and service, but of course all from Stockholm and South. Good money to make for spending in fancy and expensive cities. Julia decided to take a moment to think and the family agreed that she can pick, because of her great Swedish, the phone at the company. But also, that she taught herself a bit of 2D computer drawing and help at the workshop when needed. Never underestimate a girl who studied for 10 years and who is in full training. After a day, the first usable drawings came out and from there she self educated her to 3D drawing and today 3D construction and printing is daily business at NCCR. Yep, she nearly never picked the phone at the company – but she did get her dog, Skippy, who gets along with Smilla just great!
Sometimes it’s amazing how things coming together. One of the weak sides of NCCR was for years that construction was an external department. Too much communication hassle, too slow, too much risk of indiscretions. With Julia, NCCR had reached the next level. We both work from mapping bikes to construction, we develop parts with the help of the newest technologies and now, the company runs long term development programs for the first time, like with the Docol R8 frames or the next level of the Helicon engine. Julia, Birgit and me make a great team, together we can achieve goals that before were simply impossible to think about.
In 2020, we started building out the NCCR presence in social media, it’s Julia and me who mostly produce the videos for the NCCR YouTube channel. There we talk together about Buell / EBR history, show new products and in our tutorial videos we try to help Buell and EBR owners worldwide to repair and maintenance their bikes in a correct way. Since 2021, after I made the websites of all our family business for over 25 years, we also gave that part over to her, but only with my promise to learn the modern tools, too, making sure we both can work on it.
Growing up with all those bikes, our oldest Buell is a 1200 RSS from the pre-HD era, which is the same age like her, for sure had an influence – but more important is Julia’s dedication to the family business and lifestyle. Above is for sure more money to make for a gifted girl like Julia, out on the free market. Birgit and me are grateful that it turned out the way it did and I think altogether we feel very well prepared for the challenges ahead. Time will tell how the next generation can preserve the heritage of the SportTwins, much more important is where we go today and if we are willing to focus, learn and rise. As we always say, the best is still ahead.