By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Hot Rod Industry Alliance (HRIA) named Flaming River Industries as the council’s newest company spotlight member. Company President Jeanette Ladina shares their story and the projects they are working on in 2022.
SEMA: Tell us the story of your shop. How did you start?
Jeanette Ladina: Flaming River Industries Inc. was founded in 1987 with a vision to offer quality steering systems for street rods, musclecars, classics and trucks. Our products use all-new parts to ensure that we can maintain quality standards, improve the original design and offer long-range product availability as well as lifetime serviceability.
Tilt steering columns, power rack and pinions, steering shafts and billet accessories are all made right here at Flaming River by a talented group of car enthusiasts. Our promise to customers is to provide the best-quality products and service possible.
I started working with Flaming River through the local high school co-op office program in 1987 and became an owner in 1990. We built a Berea, Ohio, manufacturing facility in 2000, which continues to evolve and allows us to build products in-house and develop new products to meet customer demand.
SEMA: What was your company’s breakthrough moment?
JL: Our breakthrough moment was manufacturing the Mustang II manual rack-and-pinion in response to the numerous requests we had received at SEMA. This would be similar to the version of our Pinto rack-and-pinion and it could be used in the growing hot-rod market.
Then from there, we started to manufacture stainless-steel tilt steering columns from all-new parts specifically for the custom market, which was the next milestone. Patented cradle kits that allow rack-and-pinions to be added to classic, vintage, and musclecars, as well as the development of an all-new power rack-and-pinion, further expanded the business. And, finally accomplishing ISO 9001:2015 quality standard registration reinforced our commitment to quality.
SEMA: Tell us about your business now in 2022 and what projects are you working on?
JL: We are continually working on new products. One of our focuses this year is to adapt the Microsteer electronic power-assist unit to a variety of steering columns making a bolt in installation possible for a variety of vehicles.
The next project is our growth in custom tilt steering columns. Since we make everything in-house, we can build a column to a certain size with a wire slot in a specific location and even powdercoat to any color in the RAL deck, and go on to produce it in a very timely manner.
Finally, the VDog continues to be a popular product we are offering to solve the 90-degree angle steering linkage situation at the firewall for LS motor swaps. It is a variable angle gear that won an award for SEMA Best New Product.
SEMA: Tell us about a build you are proud of.
JL: Hard Candy is our ’32 Roadster that was built in collaboration with Dominator Motorsports. It features our electric power-steering roadster column, a split axle and is showcased in our catalog and is featured at a number of trade shows. Our ’70 El Camino was built by the Flaming River team to develop a musclecar key column and cradle kit with power rack-and-pinion.
SEMA: What advice do you have for young professionals contemplating a career in the automotive aftermarket?
JL: This Industry is an exciting place to get involved. It is important to make connections, develop your talents and continue to learn and grow. SEMA and HRIA provide excellent opportunities to do this. As you pursue your own adventure, remain 100% committed to your goals.
Fill out an HRIA member spotlight form to highlight how your company is contributing to the hot-rod industry. Selected candidates are eligible to be featured on HRIA’s social media, SEMA News and future HRIA member updates.