Paul Reardon: when a good plan comes together!
“As a 43-year-old going back to school via online classes, I still say some of my favorite people are my Western instructors. They were patient with my lack of computer skills, and they made sure I felt like I belonged in the classroom. I surprised myself and graduated as a technologically savvy person with many new friends.”
— Paul, Welding and Business graduate
Reardon graduated from Western in 2007 with a welding degree and started his Blue Steel Bike business in fall 2010. At that time, he was already equipped with many years of bike mechanic and frame building experience complemented by a years-long stint perfecting his welding craft. In the beginning, Blue Steel was a part-time gig augmenting his full-time welding job. He was overly busy until he became a laid-off welder. With clarity only afforded hindsight, Reardon states, “It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Reardon completed a titanium bike building class in Oregon. He then earned Western’s nine-credit Entrepreneurship Certificate which, thanks to lively classroom discussions, blossomed into a practical, workable business plan.
Reardon has a passion for his craft. He teaches bike maintenance classes to kids in his charming and eclectic shop. The classes are more like essential life lessons: “Don’t resist learning, respect what they’re teaching you in school; it’s OK to be smart. I use geometry every day in a career I love. Take risks and try something new. Don’t settle and deeply consider what you enjoy.” He extolls the virtues of working with his hands to create something exceptional, beautiful, unique, and life-enhancing. His biggest regret is not starting his business a decade earlier. Advice he widely shares, “There’s never a good time to jump off a moving train; you just have to do it.”