Meet “Team Leon”: A Q&A with Todd Malnar, Our Lane 2 Value Stream Supervisor
Meet the people behind our products. Next up is Todd Malnar who works on the production side of the business. Todd is arguably "The Most Interesting Man at Leon" and he truly embodies our core value of creativity in every possible way—from his work here at Leon, to his tattoos, to his over-the-top Halloween costumes, and more. And as you'll see, he has quite the eclectic background.
Q: After our photographer captured that epic shot of you with the American flag in the background (see above) a few years ago, you became the face of Leon. We've used that photo everywhere—and it was even printed on a 30 ft. banner that was hanging in the shop for a while. How did it feel to work under a giant photo of yourself every day?
A: I very much love attention, so having a giant banner of myself was really fun for me. Reps and dealers visiting the company would often ask me if it was strange to have to look at myself all day long at work. My typical response to that was “We leave it up because the shop employees like shooting nail guns at it”. It was a sad day for me when it had to come down, mainly because it was hiding all the dust that had accumulated on top of our paint booth.
Q: For those who don't know you, what do you do here at Leon? What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: My current position with the company is that of Lane 2 Value Stream Supervisor. Essentially, that is just a fancy way of saying that I schedule and supervise the work happening in the custom build side of the shop. My favorite part of the job is working on the really oddball projects, i.e. custom sound sculptures, doing custom finishes, etc. The nature of the position requires me to wear many hats, so I’m just as comfortable in front of a computer, as I am running a table saw. Well, maybe a little more comfortable running a table saw…
"My favorite part of the job is working on the really oddball projects, i.e. custom sound sculptures, doing custom finishes, etc."
Q: In addition to recognizing you from you from the aforementioned photo, people might recognize your car too because we've posted it on social a few times. Tell us about it:
A: I come from a family of "car guys", so the love of old cars has been there my whole life. Unfortunately, the mechanic skills must have skipped a generation. The Impala is a '65, with a chopped top and shaved door handles. I did a majority of the bodywork and painting, while my father did most of the interior and electrical. It's not a show car by any means, the windows leak and the headlights don't work, but it still turns a lot of heads.
Q: You lived many different lives before coming to Leon, including serving in the Marines. How long were you in the military for? Is there anything from your time in the service that you've taken with you into your current life and work?
A: People are often surprised to find out I was in the Marines; it must be all the tattoos that throw them off. I served four years in the infantry, which outwardly did not give me much in the way of transferable job skills—unless being an expert marksman counts. The leadership skills and values instilled in me have been invaluable though.
Q: Also in a past life, you were a special effects makeup artist. How did you end up getting into that? Is it something that you still do?
A: I’ve always been a horror junkie and at least somewhat artistic, so I thought being a SFX makeup artist was the best way to meld the two interests. I attended the Tom Savini Special Makeup Effects School shortly after my time in the military. To hone my skills further, I also pursued a BFA in sculpture at Eastern Michigan University. I do not do much in the way of makeup work nowadays, but I can still make a killer Halloween costume.
Q: Speaking of Halloween, it's no coincidence that we chose to profile you today. Over the years, everyone at Leon has been witness to your seriously impressive costumes. What are a few of your favorites—with pictures, please.
A: It probably goes without saying, that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I’m never entirely satisfied with the way my costumes turn out; it’s the overly critical artist in me. I’ve done some pretty fun zombies over the years though, and my Hocus Pocus costume was a big hit when I visited Salem a few years ago.