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  1. #1
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    How do I enter the corporate bike world?

    I know, this question should probably be under the career sub-forum, but I feel a special bond with C & V. I don't post much, but I lurk everyday, so I feel like I know all the C & V regulars. You guys are the most helpful, kind people people I've ever encountered on the internet.

    Well, here's a little background. I got my JD a couple years ago, and have been working as an analyst and compliance manager for a large corporation that has holdings in real estate and medical products. Duties included income projections, product development, and analysis of data.

    Getting to the point-- with this type of experience, what kind of jobs can I seek in the bicycle world? Much like everyone else on these forums, I'm obsessed with bikes, and my dream would be to work in the industry.

    I live in Southern California, and would like to stay local. What companies should I target in my job search?

    Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    You've got me. I've been trying to break into it myself for a few months now, and no luck yet.

  3. #3
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    if your looking for a corperate level position I suggest you just surf the companies websites and see what jobs are open in your field or one you can handle and submit your resume.

    if you want to turn wrenches get rid of half of what you own and move into a studio apartment and apply to all the local shops around you
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  4. #4
    car guy, recovering aixaix's Avatar
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    If I were you, I'd start by going to my friendly LBS and mooching some trade magazines from them, then go through the advertisers index to see if any companies are in your area.
    Michael Shiffer
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  5. #5
    rhm
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    I guess I'd seek out the forum members who are actually part of the industry, one way or another. Forum member downtube, for example, who started his own bike company (www.downtube.com) (I ride one of his bikes).

  6. #6
    Senior Member Alan Edwards's Avatar
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    What kind of job and desired salary? The bike "industry" goes from minimum to crazy money for building wheels. Sales jobs are tuff to get in SoCal. Competitive Cyclist is looking for good people and pays well if you want to go to AR.
    Totaly cheap wieght weenie. Totaly cheap bike snob. But I love Italian hand made stuff. 84' Ciocc, 85' Raleigh Super Course, 96' Sakae Litage, 2000 Lemond Maillot Jaune,
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  7. #7
    Senior Member DavidW56's Avatar
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    +1 to what Bianchigirl says -- it's the same as looking for a job in any other field. You might try hiring a first-class headhunter to do the searching for you. How many cycle-related corporations remain headquartered in the U.S.? You may need to relocate and learn to speak Mandarin.
    Schwinn - World's Finest Bicycles.

  8. #8
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    Sounds like you don't really want the local marketing/sales/relationship manager type position that the guys I know in the industry have. The industry local guys here all have a road/tri racing background for those positions. Not saying that it shuts you out, but that's whose been hired in my area. And that's more than likely where their regional managers come from as well

    Your training sounds better suited for the corporate HQ, and off the top of my head I don't know of any manufacturers in SoCal. Maybe a major importer is in the area? Possibly a start. Where is Dorel's Cycling Sports Group/ Pacific Cycles located?

    If you're really interested in not making any money, USA Cycling has occasional opportunities. Their HQ is in Colorado, but they have different types of regional positions.
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  9. #9
    working on progress treebound's Avatar
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    First off, where is the career sub-forum? I know the mechanic's section has a sub-level, but beyond that I don't know of one.
    Down to the matter at hand:

    Do you like what you are currently doing?
    Do you feel like it could lead to a lucrative and long term career growth?

    If yes to both then stay there, you'll be better off and will be able to buy bikes and gear most of us can only dream about.

    Apart from that, only you can say what you'd enjoy doing. Corp is Corp, specific industry is almost secondary apart from specializations. Marketing, Engineering, Manufacturing, Distribution, Acquisitions, each has it's own access portal, and each have many examples of roagues who came in via different atypical pathways.

    Spend time on corporate web sites and rummage around in their career sections. You might find you'd enjoy working for a race series sponsor or for the Olympics than for a corporate manufacturer. Or not.
    Probably no real help, but maybe so, don't know, I'm in my shoes - not yours - so what I'd do (if the opportunity was available) will be different. I've applied to Trek before, didn't even get a no thanks reply. Hopefully you'll have better results.

  10. #10
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    The only attorney I know making money in the cycling industry represents bike messengers over accidents, employment issues and the like. He's not getting rich, but he enjoys his work and is doing OK.

  11. #11
    N+1 redxj's Avatar
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  12. #12
    Senior Member vettefrc2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MACAQUE View Post
    I know, this question should probably be under the career sub-forum, but I feel a special bond with C & V. I don't post much, but I lurk everyday, so I feel like I know all the C & V regulars. You guys are the most helpful, kind people people I've ever encountered on the internet.

    Well, here's a little background. I got my JD a couple years ago, and have been working as an analyst and compliance manager for a large corporation that has holdings in real estate and medical products. Duties included income projections, product development, and analysis of data.

    Getting to the point-- with this type of experience, what kind of jobs can I seek in the bicycle world? Much like everyone else on these forums, I'm obsessed with bikes, and my dream would be to work in the industry.

    I live in Southern California, and would like to stay local. What companies should I target in my job search?

    Any suggestions or tips would be appreciated.
    START HERE!

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...8879#tabs-jobs

    http://tbe.taleo.net/NA1/ats/careers...&cws=1&rid=167

  13. #13
    Senior Member The Thin Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    The only attorney I know making money in the cycling industry represents bike messengers over accidents, employment issues and the like. He's not getting rich, but he enjoys his work and is doing OK.
    That's a growing field here in Portland too.
    Accidents happen and people get angry. That is an industry that will never be phased out.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Heck, the biggest money lately in the bike world might be writing tell-all books that tattle on former champs and their "training" habits........
    But I do agree that any kind of advanced former racing career can always help to break into the industry as it adds icing to your resume when it is reviewed by a propective employers in the industry........in the least they might like it that you can participate in rides and races they might be involved in.

    Chombi

  15. #15
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    Wow, thanks for all the responses everybody. I have been scouring the corporate websites for the last couple of weeks, and have found a few opportunities that I may be qualified for.

    Thanks for the specific website recommendations, vettefcr2000 and redxj.

    I will be contacting downtube shortly as well, thanks rhm.

    Scrolling through the advertisers is a great idea, thanks aixaix.

    As far as working personal injury cases, it does get the bills paid, but I'm more interested in being involved with the creation and distribution of bicycles.

    treebound, I believe there is a sub-forum called "employment wanted" in the Market Place. I do enjoy what I do, but the analyst work that I did for my employer was under a 3 yr contract that is expiring soon. They were just starting out when they hired me to help establish the business, and no longer have the budget to keep me on. I figured that since I would be looking for a new job anyways, it would be great if I can make the transition into the bike industry sooner rather than later.

    Thanks again for all the tips, I really appreciate the help!

  16. #16
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    What undergraduate degree(s) do you hold? I'm not in the industry, but I do hold an advanced degree and work in niche manufacturing.

    How many hours per week do you think a good [Lawyer] works? Do you like getting calls in the middle of the night, after working a 17 hour day?

  17. #17
    iab
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    In addition to corporate websites, tradeshows are an excellent place to meet contacts. Besides the sales force, you will also have the chance to meet product/marketing managers. They are the best way to network through a corporation. Go to Interbike.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    If you can find a LBS willing to take you on as an apprentice mechanic, I can't believe that would hurt you in the long run.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    There's always the chance you could be a stateside rep handling product liability cases for Chinese manufacturers.

    Just kidding.

    Like you, I've often contemplated the many possibilities (most of which won't support my family, sadly) of working in the bicycle industry. I wrenched at a shop in my university years and have many times considered opening a shop of my own, but have never taken the leap (and don't have the money to do it, anyway). I've toyed with the idea of starting with a side hobby - taking up the torch and learning to build frames - but that would be a long, expensive road towards any form of trade-based income.

    I've looked at the many corporate positions - I am a project manager. I know how to bring a project from inception through completion. I know little to nothing about manufacturing, though managing the manufacturing cycle (from the corporate side of things) is not unlike managing a large construction project.

    Anyway, best of luck to you - you are not alone in your desire to work in the bike world.
    Currently one bike: Singular Gryphon do-it all bike with Nuvinci N360
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  20. #20
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canyoneagle View Post
    There's always the chance you could be a stateside rep handling product liability cases for Chinese manufacturers.

    Just kidding.

    Like you, I've often contemplated the many possibilities (most of which won't support my family, sadly) of working in the bicycle industry. I wrenched at a shop in my university years and have many times considered opening a shop of my own, but have never taken the leap (and don't have the money to do it, anyway). I've toyed with the idea of starting with a side hobby - taking up the torch and learning to build frames - but that would be a long, expensive road towards any form of trade-based income.

    I've looked at the many corporate positions - I am a project manager. I know how to bring a project from inception through completion. I know little to nothing about manufacturing, though managing the manufacturing cycle (from the corporate side of things) is not unlike managing a large construction project.

    Anyway, best of luck to you - you are not alone in your desire to work in the bike world.
    I thought about it too...a shop that's been around FOREVER here called Wolf's was going out and the owner was inquiring if I'd have interest. I thought long and hard, but I just don't think there's enough money in it. The investment for product is so high...and the seasonal lulls so damning...that it's a tough racket.

  21. #21
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidW56 View Post
    +1 to what Bianchigirl says -- it's the same as looking for a job in any other field. You might try hiring a first-class headhunter to do the searching for you. How many cycle-related corporations remain headquartered in the U.S.? You may need to relocate and learn to speak Mandarin.
    +1 Network, network, network. Just like any job search. Local to southern CA? That makes it doubly hard.

    The only thing I disagree with is the headhunter approach. In my experience, headhunters are typically looking for people to fill slots they were hired to fill. They are not interested in finding you a job, its all about the jobs they have been hired to fill. If you fit one of those slots, great. If not, go away. Networking always works better.

    Lots of consolidation out there, a lot fewer companies in the US. Look at Dorel Industries for example. They now own Cannondale, Schwinn, GT, Mongoose, Iron Horse, Pacific, and Roadmaster. Can you say streamlined corporate organization? Oh, and Dorel makes/sells everything from child seats, to furniture, to bicycles....

    No joke, a little Mandarin would be useful.
    Last edited by wrk101; 05-26-11 at 08:42 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member canyoneagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    No joke, a little Mandarin would be useful.
    What you getting at?

    Currently one bike: Singular Gryphon do-it all bike with Nuvinci N360
    Coming soon (winter project) Ciocc Designer '84 mod build
    Temporary (on loan from a buddy): 1985 Raleigh Prestige

  23. #23
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    I wish I knew Mandarin! Thanks for all the advice. I think I will be checking out all the local tradeshows that will be coming up.

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