I often get the question “how did you end up in the bike business?” This is especially true with people I worked with years ago in telecom and at internet start-ups. The answer is that I chose to work in the bike industry - and feel very fortunate to do so.
I was the kid growing up who was always doing something with bikes. From building and riding trails to racing BMX, I spent every second I could on my bike. Growing up in Chicago that often meant building ramps out of snow!
Fast forward to 2001 and I'm working for an internet company as their Vice President of Sales Operations. It’s a great job - but I have this nagging feeling that this is not how I want to be living my life. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I knew I needed to make a change. So, I took a sabbatical to enjoy time with my family and do some thinking.
It was during this time that I rediscovered my passion for bikes. This quickly turned into starting a new business manufacturing and selling custom bicycles. Now I was really hooked! From there I joined Free-Flite Bicycles as their Purchasing Manager/Buyer. I consider this my “college education” within the bike industry. Free-Flite is very well managed and I soaked-up all the knowledge I could.
Four years after joining Free-Flite, I had the opportunity to join Hawley and experience the industry from the supplier side. This was great timing as Hawley was just making plans to transition from a regional distributor to a national one. My eight years at Hawley were incredibly exciting. I wore lots of hats (CFO, Project Director, Brand GM, etc.), gained valuable experience, and, together with an amazing team, helped grow Hawley by 400% in 8 years! For a 20+ year-old company, this was remarkable.
After 8 years with Hawley I had the desire to share my experience with multiple companies - so I started Cycling Project Solutions. It may sound geeky but I love helping businesses operate at their highest levels. By working as a consultant, I can use my broad business background to dive into almost any functional area within a company and figure out ways to make it run better.
So that’s my story. I hope we can talk soon so I can hear yours.