WHO IS GEARHEAD CONSULTING?

Franz Hofmann is the principal manager and founder of Gearhead Consulting, LLC.

WHY THE NAME "GEARHEAD"? 

Websters Dictionary explains “Gearhead” as a person who is very interested in mechanical or technical things (such as cars or computers). That about sums it up.

Born and raised in Central Texas, Franz has worked in the transportation industry for five decades.  Franz has expertise in vehicle diagnostics and repair, training, service and fleet management and all areas of alternative fuels.  In addition, Franz has participated in the research of augmented diesel supplement fuels, including natural gas, propane and hydrogen.

Franz has interests in composite utility pole distribution, curriculum development, classic car restomodding, and related automotive fields.

 
 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

  • Franz began working in the automotive service industry in the late 1960's.  Franz learned the intracacies of diagnostics and repair of automobiles and light to medium trucks working as an apprentice under a master automotive technician.  Franz later managed the business until the property was sold.  Subsequently, Franz operated his own service garage in Austin, Texas, and later working for the one of the largest independent service facilties in the city.

  • 1984 was a pivotal year.  He was invited to be a telephone guest on an Austin, Texas based radio program which featured local experts in various occupations.  The on-air host would field telephone calls and forward the questions to the expert for their opinion.  This short introduction produced the highest call-in numbers for the time slot.  Soon thereafter Franz became a Saturday morning expert, fielding calls from the Central Texas area.  The "Under The Hood" radio program became the top rated show in the listening area.  Franz was part of a syndicated radio network with affiliate stations all over the United States.  This venture lasted untiil 1990 when additional work responsibilities necessitated the retirement from the media.

  • In 1985, an injury required Franz to refocus his professional direction.  By invitation, Franz was interviewed and subsequently hired by the City of Austin, managing the full operations of a vehicle maintenance facility with an aggregate value in excess of 23 million dollars (330 vehicles) and managing a professional staff of 17 employees.  This position introduced Franz to various heavy duty street and road equipment maintenance procedures, including vacuum street sweepers, road maintainers, chip-spreaders, heavy wheel rollers, asphalt lay-down distributors, and other vehicles.  Franz attended numerous workshops and training seminars, even attaining operator and service recognition by several manufacturers.  During this period Franz became familiar with road construction and related road repair procedures.

  • From 1986 through late 1989, Franz taught automotive technologies and related industrial trades at the local community college. 

  • In 1990, he was hired to be the national director of training and in charge of prototype vehicle fuel system development for a new company based in Austin, Texas.  That venture took Franz all over the US training fleets and technical staff on fuel system operation, diagnostics, and developed prototype fuel systems.  In late 1992, the company unexpectedly ceased operation.  Shortly thereafter, Franz was contracted to provide tech support for an internationally recognized alternative fuel system component manufacturer.

  • In late 1994, Franz was contacted by the State of Texas Alternative Fuel Division of the Texas Railroad Commission to provide traiining.  This position continued to evolve into curriculum development, training, research, and national travel.  Franz retired from the State of Texas in late 2012 but continues to be involved in the alternative fuel arena.


 

PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION AND RECOGNITION:

Franz was an early participant in alternative fuels after being introduced to natural gas powered vehicles in 1972.  Often called one of the “senior” members of the fraternity of alternative fuel professionals, Franz has been fully active in LPG, CNG, and LNG engine fuel systems and training technicians to convert vehicles and perform diagnostics and repairs since 1988.

Franz was one of the first automotive professionals to be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence as a Master Automotive Technician in 1976.  In 1986 he added ASE Master Heavy Duty Truck Technician and in 1992 he added ASE F-1 Alternative Fuels and L-1 Advanced Vehicle Performance.

In 1999, Franz received the "Doctor of Motors" technical certification from Dana University, the technical education division of Dana Corporation.

Although Franz has retired from the active automotive service industry, he has served on multiple ASE advisory taskforces for the development of new certification examinations, primarily related to alternative fuels.

Franz has current certification from the Railroad Commission of Texas as a:

    * Category “E” LPG Company Representative;
    * Category "L" LPG Engine Fuel;
    * Category “III” CNG Company Representative;
    * Category 45, LNG Engine Fuel Management;

These are the highest levels of Railroad Commission of Texas professional certifications for LPG, CNG, and LNG with additional Motorfuel classifications.

Franz has recognition by many North American, Australian and European alternative fuel equipment manufacturers as a qualified installer and instructor, including the Roush LPPFI, Impco/BRC, and others.

Although based in the United States, Gearhead Consulting has international travel experience and provides multiple services to the international community.


 

ACADEMIC BACKGROUND:

Franz attended the University of Texas during the late 1970's and early 80's with focuses in mechanical engineering and business. 

In the early 1980's Franz attended Austin Community College and was later invited to become an instructor, teaching various automotive technologies including:

  • Advanced Fuel Systems

  • Electronic Engine Controls

  • Light Duty Diesel

  • Automatic Transmissions

. . . .and subsequent fields related to industrial arts.

Franz has participated in student mentoring programs for numerous educational organizations.



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Located in Central Texas

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