Good Take

"Mind driving?" Robert Rivera asked his customers. They didn't.

Suppose you've recognized that it's time to do some entertaining -- time to work some business-relationship mojo on the folks your company needs most. What do you do? Front for dinner and a '74 Brunello? A ball game maybe? Right. We thought so. And we hope you'll understand when we explain that we find Robert Rivera's solution a bit more ... memorable.

Rivera, founder of Spectrum Communications Cabling Services Inc., a $33-million data-networking company in Corona, Calif., took his top customers (along with some of his employees) to go racing. On a racetrack. At 150 miles per hour.

Now then, golf anyone?

"There's just no way to describe it," recalls Spectrum client and district school superintendent Roland Skumawitz. This past summer Skumawitz, along with some 80 other Rivera favorites, adjourned to California Speedway, a stop on the NASCAR circuit that Rivera had thoughtfully rented for the afternoon. There Skumawitz donned a racing suit, a fire-retardant head sock, a helmet, and sunglasses, and hit the track strapped into car number five. He began the day incredulous that he, an amateur driver, would be allowed on the track at all, much less at peak speeds; he ended the day in complete awe of the experience. After 10 laps, Skumawitz admits, he was hot, sweaty, and tired -- and had a new appreciation for the stamina of race-car drivers. "It's an absolute thrill," he says.

The day at the races cost Rivera $490 per guest, which bought each driver an hour-long lesson and 20 minutes of pure racing fun. It also bought car-freak Rivera the simultaneous opportunities to burnish business ties and score a speed fix for himself. Perfect, he says. He's already planning a repeat excursion for early this year.

Copyright © 2002 Rebecca Dorr

The Inc Life

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