Engineering isn't just a set of chalkboard equations for Rodney Jones, a junior at Ohio State University who gets hands-on experience pimping out his Honda Civic. He shared more about keeping pace with the local import scene.

Engineering isn't just a set of chalkboard equations for Rodney Jones, a junior at Ohio State University who gets hands-on experience pimping out his Honda Civic. He shared more about keeping pace with the local import scene.

My dad was always a big gear head. He was big into muscle cars, and I kind of did a little work with him when I was a little kid. He did old Buick Skylarks and Grand Nationals. I would always watch him or help him do whatever he was doing.

Once I got to college, it was all about cars, cars, cars. As much as I hate to say it, I saw "The Fast and the Furious" and was like, "Oh, you can do that with a Civic?" From then on, the sky was the limit.

Three things I can't live without are family, friends and learning.

With imports, it's just something that you can take and make it your own. You can source parts from anywhere, pretty much. There's just some stuff that you can do with Japanese cars - like wheel fitment and different looks - that you can't do with American cars.

It's always evolving, too. When I got into it, it was all about how low you can go. Now it's how about how close you can get your tire to the fender without it hitting. It's nice, too, because you can do it on a college budget, as long as you don't go too crazy.

I do all the work myself. It's mostly at my dad's house or wherever I can get a lift. When I was 17, I worked at an import shop. I did an internship there and learned a lot of the skills that you need to do.

I'm the kind of person who takes initiative and gets stuff done. My dad instilled that in me.

With the local scene, I like to break it down into threes. You have the people that are really serious about it. You have the people who just want to have fun with it. Then you have the people who have an import just to say, "Hey, we're badasses - we have imports."

I just do it to have fun and be social. It's kind of a release, too, from engineering. If you have a bad day, you go and plug away at your car. I like to think of it as a graduation from playing with Legos.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at jross@columbusalive.com.