Some people dream about it while others live it. Count Randall Davis in the latter category. Davis is a true adventurer and loves the outdoor lifestyle. Whether it’s mountain biking, hiking, camping, Jeeping or full-on desert racing, he’s up for all of it. He is also an integral part of the Axial team and as Product Developer (PD) for Horizon Hobby, he creates RC vehicles that are capable to take on his off the grid adventures. Read about the Axial Early Bronco that he worked on elsewhere in this issue. We recently got a chance to catch up with Davis to find out more about his thoughts about all things RC.
You’ve worn a lot of hats at Axial and Horizon Hobby. What can you tell us about your time there?
I’m a Product Developer for Horizon Hobby. I’ve been with the Axial brand for 14 years and with Horizon Hobby since they acquired Axial. I started with Axial in 2007 as their in-house IT Specialist and worked in Customer Service. In a small company many people wear many hats and I quickly helped in other areas such as Shipping/Receiving (you have no idea how many vehicles I tossed straight from container to courier), Inventory Control, Public Relations, Quality Control, Part Number Management, Instruction Manual Proofing, Website Design, Ideation and eventually Product Development where I am now. I have really been having a lot of fun with my job and enjoy developing new products for the consumers.
What do you do as a Product Developer?
I bring the dream to reality. Well it’s not all me, we have a team of designers, engineers, testers, suppliers, and many others that work together to bring a project to market. My job is a bit of a mix of Product Developer and Project Manager since it is my responsibility to execute the idea with our designers and engineers but also to work with the suppliers for production, product testing, and keep it on track to meet the release date we have planned. I also work with the sales and marketing teams, as the project gets closer to being finished to help them understand the vision of the project so they can create a marketing plan that works best for the company. There really is a LOT that goes with being a PD and, to me, it’s very challenging and that is part of what keeps me interested in my job.
Let’s talk RC. What is your favorite RC category?
Rock Crawling and Scale Trailing. I’ve been doing both of those in the 1:1 world as hobbies for quite some time. I’ve enjoyed the technical aspects with Rock Crawling and it can really translate from RC to 1:1 to help make you a better driver. Scale Trailing is a lot of good fun while I am out camping and hiking. I had very few RC’s when I was growing up so my experience initially in RC with Axial was very little.
Which is your favorite RC vehicle?
That’s really a tough one, since I have been with Axial for so long I have many favorites. And now that I am a PD, I have a few more that have become favorited simply because they are my projects. The one I seem to go drive the most is my SCX10 II Jeep Rock Racer. The OG AX10 is what started the RC rock crawling craze for me, so that’s a fav. More recent will be the RBX10, and the SCX24 B-17 Betty. But all of that may go out the window with my recent project, the new, SCX10 III Early Ford Bronco. It was a lot of fun to capture the design of the 1:1 Bronco and also add in some special Axial scale details to the project. I did buy a re-release Tamiya Hornet recently, only as a collector, since it was my first hobby grade RC that I owned.
What future projects can you tell us about?
The next one on my list has 4 wheels, 4 shocks, a couple axles, a roll cage, some interior design, LED lights, an electric motor, it won’t go very fast, but it will perform well, and once we smash it all together we will put it through the shrink machine to get it the right scale. Hahaha. You know we can’t let the goods out but the team has a lot of really cool stuff in the hopper of design and we look forward to bringing them to market. We are always working on future projects. Some get done quicker than others. Let’s just say King Of Hammers (KOH) will be fun.
What other hobbies do you enjoy?
Some will consider my job a hobby, well it kind of is, but I do have many that can sort of relate to my job. I enjoy most things that involve getting me outside. I own a Jeep, so I go Jeeping a lot and a lot more now that I live in Hurricane, UT. I like motorsports, I helped build a race Jeep and competed in KOH for four years with Desert Turtle Racing, I’ve competed in Rock Crawling as a spotter and a driver for Lasernut Racing for several years now. I like to go camping and hiking and mountain biking and I enjoy teaching others how to drive off-road and navigate the rocks. I’ve started a part-time company called EctoVentures and that is where I create, plan, and host different types of outdoor events, the most recent was a Movie on the Rocks.
Is there anything else you want to let our readers know?
Sure, follow me on the social outlets, you can find me as @Ectosports on FB, IG, YT, and so on, and so on. My online ID is the same everywhere. And if you’ve read this far, thanks for staying interested.
Stay up to date on Randall Davis’ adventures by following him on social media under the account @Ectosports!
Text by Leigh Guarnieri and Jerry Tsai
Images Courtesy of Randall Davis