Favorite Part of Job? One of the things I absolutely love about 3D printing is that since my machines can make any shape I can help pretty much anyone. This means that in my day-to-day life I get to interact with the full range of odd, cool, and generally interesting personalities that Vermont has to offer.
Most Inspiring Mentor: I've been very lucky to have a wide variety of mentors as my career has progressed, ranging from are those who have been following Blu-Bin from the very beginning like Cairn Cross to those who are right in the trenches with me as the company grows like Pam Cowan. I have to say, though, that my most inspiring mentor is my mother. Growing up watching her succeed not only as a single mother raising two boys but also putting in the incredible effort needed to grow a thriving medical practice taught me almost everything I know about the strength needed to not only succeed in business but also as a person.
Tell us something fun about yourself that few people know: I originally came up to Vermont because I wanted to learn how to run high ropes courses and rock climbing walls. It's only natural that I now run a 3D printing company, right?
Favorite Hobby: To be honest, being an entrepreneur doesn't leave much time for hobbies, but I've recently rediscovered a favorite pastime from my year studying abroad in Japan: Karaoke. Nothing like getting away from emails for a few hours to sing wildly inappropriate ballads with some hackers from the Laboratory B hackerspace in Burlington.
Favorite Vermont Escape: I started my career climbing in trees and it's still in my blood. Take it from experience that the best way to enjoy some of those beautiful Vermont vistas and sunsets is by hanging upside down from a sturdy branch.
Favorite Social Media: When I first started Blu-Bin I reached out to at least 100 current and former Vermont CEOs on LinkedIn, and was blown away by the positive response. This might just be a favorite thing about Vermont, but LinkedIn has been an incredible tool for reaching out to people you just don't get to meet if you're starting out.
Favorite Website: Well of course it's www.blu-bin.com!
Vermont Business Person you would like to have lunch with: Oh man, I don't know about lunch but I'd love to get some ice cream with Ben or Jerry. What they created in terms of a retail business that is not only successful but also universally beloved by their customers is very admirable, and I would love the opportunity to hear their story in their own words.
Career Highlights: I started my career teaching leadership skills to kids at a summer camp in Connecticut and learning Japanese on the side. In 2008 I started school at Green Mountain College where I continued my study of Japanese with a year abroad studying law at Nagoya University in Japan and in 2009 came up with the initial idea for Blu-Bin. Set myself up for a career in finance through positions in student government and the management of a small portion of Green Mountain's endowment, and landed a job in natural gas on Wall Street shortly out of school. Scrimped and saved enough to buy my first 3D printer and after three years of planning launched Blu-Bin in 2012 out of a storefront in Poultney, Vermont. In 2013 we moved to Burlington and now in 2014 we are starting plans for expansion to more locations across the state and beyond.
Community Involvement: Community involvement is something I've done my entire life from soup kitchens to church events to volunteering for charitable organizations supporting families in need. No matter how busy with her normal business my mom always made sure that we were consistently giving back in some way, and it was by watching her apply her skills as a doctor to help people in need that I learned that helping people and being successful are not mutually exclusive.
As I've started my career I've always made sure to keep this ethic in mind, from founding a Rotaract at my college to making sure that education about 3D printing is a core tenet of Blu-Bin. At every opportunity we run free events or get into partnerships with organizations outside the normal tech sphere. From student discounts for members of Burlington City Arts to our up-and-coming ice cream and 3D printing classes at Ben and Jerry's we see our job as a company to not only do well as a business, but also to benefit people's lives with education about a technology that impacts their lives.