Thomas Folder has moved from being a project manager for one of the world's largest construction companies to being CEO of his own business, now based in Harrisburg at 200 S. Granger St.
He is laughing all the way to the bank.
Formerly working as one of five project mangers for Bechtel during construction of the behemoth power plant, Prairie State Energy Campus, in Lively Grove, Folder was employed by Murphy Co. out of St. Louis and jobbed out to Bechtel.
As a project manager he traveled a lot and was looking for a way out.
In 2002 he founded TLF Performance Parts in Chatham, 5 minutes south of Springfield. The company remanufactures fuel injectors and flow matches them in sets of 4, 6, 8 and 10 depending on the motors for which they are intended.
The flow matching is the key to his success. Each of the injectors in a set performs in nearly identical fashion to the others in the set. The result is increased power and economy. That is a combination that is hard to beat and many new vehicle owners immediately remove the factory injectors from their engines and replace them with Folder's flow matched injectors. The injectors are good for 200,000 miles and come with a one year warranty.
Sales have been good.
Amazon and E-Bay have both given TLF Performance Parts awards for sales volume. The city of Harrisburg awarded the business with its Business of the Month award in October.
Who uses TLF injectors? NASCAR drivers, high-performance vehicle owners and the average driver who really knows his fuel system. Folder says the injectors are superior to factory parts.
The names of the NASCAR drivers are confidential due to non-disclosure agreements. NASCAR and the National Hotrod Association both use his products, Folder said.
His building is deceptively small for such a high-volume business and he keeps a lot of stock on hand to meet orders quickly.
"The post office in Harrisburg is one of the best I have ever worked with," said Folder Monday. "They are fantastic people. Today alone I shipped orders to Australia, Spain and Norway.”
TLF makes injectors for motorcycles, boats and jet skis as well.
He moved to Harrisburg to be near his childhood sweetheart. Things are working out.
TLF has a website at www.tlfperfomanceparts.com.