Few teens have the opportunity to build a three-axis motion chamber, but I did just that with Pete Lenarcic as my guide. Meeting Pete was sheer luck. I’d asked around for large men to provide security during my haunted house, and then a neighbor introduced me to Pete. In talking with him, I discovered Pete is an engineer and runs the 600,000+ square foot automated fulfillment center responsible for distributing 95% of North and South America's pots and pans. Needless to say when my automated lighting system was having issues, I knew who to call. Pete taught me how to troubleshoot systems and many good practices in systems management. Like a sponge, I absorbed every word, learning concepts in physics to techniques like cutting air hoses. His attitude instilled in me the belief that there is almost nothing you can’t build with hard work and greasy industrial surplus from eBay.
With this mindset, I developed an idea that blurs the line between haunted houses and theme park rides. I envisioned a scaled down version of the popular Tower of Terror ride at Disney Parks for my haunted house. Pete was on board and we began building the most complex contraption I’ve ever built. Building it was a learning experience for both of us. Pete had minimal building experience and I lacked technological know-how, so we were both forced to broaden our skills and teach each other. Our “Hellevator” was the highlight of the haunted house. It featured dual sets of automated sliding doors and utilized car suspension airbags controlled by a custom-fabricated solenoid manifold that could raise or tilt the entire room by 5 inches. This, combined with audio and video components, created an immersive experience that stimulated our visitors’ senses. Working on such a complex project with support from such a knowledgeable professional allowed me to grow my skills and create something I wouldn't have imagined possible.