Professional Q&A: Mike Bosley
Mike Bosley is the owner and engineer at SeatbeltPlanet.com LLC. I’ve known Mike for over two decades, so I was honored he agreed to be interviewed. Mike has been in the seatbelt industry for years, and I think you’ll enjoy getting to know him.
Q: Do you live in Edmond, work in Edmond, or both?
A: I lived in Edmond as a student during college at Oklahoma Christian University from 1990-1995. And I’ve lived in Edmond full-time as a resident since 1995. For 9 years I commuted to Moore. For 13 years I commuted to Midwest City, then in 2018 I built a small manufacturing facility in Edmond and moved our company operations here.
Q: Where did you grow up and go to school?
A: I grew up on a small farm outside of Ardmore, Oklahoma, with cows, chickens, and all the things you’d expect for such an arrangement. Summers were full of hauling hay, exploring on our land, and fishing. The school year was full of classes, homework, and feeding animals through the winter. I went to Plainview schools (a school without a town) outside of Ardmore and graduated with ~60 people in my class of 1990. My first family member graduated from Plainview schools in the 1940s and my last family member to graduate from there was in 1991. My high school librarian was even my mom’s high school English teacher when my mom graduated from there in 1967. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Oklahoma Christian University graduating with honors in 1995 and obtained my MBA from there in 2001.
Q: What did you do prior to getting involved with your current company?
A: I’ve been in the business of manufacturing seat belts for 26 years, starting with my first job out of college at a company called Beam’s Industries. I was the first full-time engineer they hired since the company began in 1955. During my time there, I served in a few engineering capacities, director of operations, and eventually president and part-owner. Beam’s was the oldest existing seat belt company in the world. It was a privilege to work there for 18 years before it sold in 2013. I was president at the time and had a wonderful team and equally wonderful business partners. I’ve also served as a professor in the business masters program at Oklahoma Christian, teaching many of the same principles I’d used and learned in business.
Q: How did you get involved with your current organization?
A: I, with the help of many others, started SeatbeltPlanet.com LLC as a separate legal entity operating alongside Beam’s Industries in 2009. The goal was to have a part of our company that worked with and sold to individual consumers. When Beam’s Industries sold in 2013, SeatbeltPlanet was still partially depending on Beam’s to make ends meet and cover all its costs. I worked for the acquiring company for a year while also running SeatbeltPlanet and then I started full-time with SeatbeltPlanet in 2014. As is the case with most start-ups who launch out on their own, my wife and I enjoyed a long period of no pay and living off of our savings!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Seatbelts are a surprisingly fun and unique industry. The government regulations on such a critical engineered automotive safety product are strict but the applications are incredibly diverse. We sell seat belts for construction equipment, agricultural equipment, classic cars and hot rods, experimental aircraft, handicap vans, and pretty much anything you can think of with wheels. One of our most interesting product lines is custom seat belt colors, including custom printed designs on seat belts, for any car on the road. We’ve worked with many celebrities, pro athletes, and most automotive shows on TV. We even make seat belts for the spaceships on the TV show The Expanse. But the very best part has always been the people with whom I’ve worked. Not only is our company culture built around the ideas and ideals of an actual family, but we’ve also been through a lot together and have bonded as a result. We’ve shared each others’ successes, failures, and hurts while walking alongside each other. When someone is down and can’t do their part, everyone steps in to take up the slack until the family is back together again. It’s really just been so wonderful.
Q: What’s something you’re passionate about in your personal life?
A: Having grown up without a father, having a family, and being a dad was something I always hoped for and looked forward to. Now that my kids are 17 and 20, our relationships are so strong and fulfilling… but I still miss having the little ones around! My bride Dana and I have been married 26 years and are slowly finding ourselves, willing or not, moving into the ’empty nest’ phase of our lives. We have a wonderful church family at the Edmond Church of Christ where we’ve attended now over half our lives and formed so many deep relationships as a result. I dabble in photography and have sold a number of photographs here and there. I’m particularly passionate about homelessness and children in need. There are so many incredible non-profits doing amazing works along these lines.
Q: What do you like about Edmond?
A: Edmond has been home now for about 31 years. It has almost everything a family could possibly enjoy – restaurants, a lake, great parks, a movie theater, plenty of retail, etc. We have spent an enormous amount of time as a family at Lake Arcadia. We have been annual lake pass holders for most of the last 15 years, and Hafer Park has been a frequent stop as well. Dana has actually lived in Edmond for three different stretches starting when she was a young girl, so the roots run fairly deep for us as a family.
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About Tim Priebe
Tim is a public speaker, author, publisher of Edmond Business, and the owner of T&S Online Marketing. He helps businesses that are worried they don’t have the expertise or time required to invest in doing their own digital marketing. He helps them plan where and how much to invest and often helps execute the plan.
Tim started the Edmond Business online magazine in May 2020 to fill a need in the community when The Edmond Sun shut down and stopped publishing their monthly magazine, The Business Times.