Entrepreneur, creator, engineer, innovator, husband and father, Phil LaBonty is a local Orange County resident who is changing the world and the way we travel in it.
The say the mother of invention comes from necessity, Phil LaBonty did just that when he kickstarted his concept, from idea to Cycleboard production. Frustrated with no solution for his family bike riding dilemma, the gears in his brain shifted on a day when the family bike ride seemed impossible, and he became determined to create a product that would revolutionize the family riding experience. Since June of 2015, what started as a concept, grew into a full time job and developed into a company with production, employees, an engineering team and of course the CEO, Phil LaBonty.
How did the idea for the Cycleboard come to you?
I had a problem. We were riding home from church and my wife suggested that we go on a family bike ride. I remembered the previous two bike rides with my kids, and my son would make it about 50ft and say he was done. It was brutal because we would be all geared up and ready to go, and then have to stop. My kids age and ability limited what we could do on a bike ride and they hate bike trailers. They felt claustrophobic and disconnected from us, it wasn’t a shared experience. I thought there has got to be a better product out there that will allow you to bring your kids with you and have a shared experience that is fun and safe. I looked and looked and looked and there was just nothing. That’s where the idea started. So I solved my problem and I think that’s where our best ideas come from.
Has anyone ever crashed on a Cycleboard?
Not one person has ever fallen and I have probably had over 500 people demo the board.
What are you passionate about?
My background, my main passion is biomechanics, physiology, kinesiology, sports and fitness. That’s what my college degree is in, but I actually spent most of my career starting and running a financial services company. To me I have always been searching for what I like to call the “Hat Trick”, do what you love, enrich people’s lives by doing it and make a living at it. In other words, make it pay the bills. This is my hat trick, at 45 years old, I feel like I finally figured out what I want to do when I grow up. I want to do a lot more than this. This platform really provides a lot of opportunities for other ideas that I have.
>What are some of your proudest achievements in regard to Cycleboard?
That’s a tough question. I mean basically it’s just a ton of work, a ton of frustration, a ton of road blocks, a ton of no’s, you can’t do that. You have to be crazy resilient to power through. I’ve powered through.
How do you define your role as CEO of Cycleboard?
I have an interesting background that I think lends itself well to leading the company. I was in the financial services business but I was really sales oriented. I was a leader, I had about 40 employees at the pinnacle of my company, and I hired and trained about 500 people in 15 years. So I know how to work with people, I know how to inspire them, train them, lead them, guide them, partner with them and I know how to sell. That’s a big part of bringing a consumer product to market, executing on the marketing side. For me it’s so fun because it’s got wheels, I get to ride it, it’s crazy cool and I get to use the physiology and kinesiology part of my brain that I’m passionate about. When you put all that together, I think that I am the right person for the job.
What made you become the man you are today?
I have a history of persistence and seeing things through. I grew up the hard way. My dad was military and we moved every 2 years. I joined the Army when I was in high school, I went to boot camp in between my junior and senior year when everyone else was at the beach. I went to Germany, I served in Desert Storm and the Gulf War. When I got out of the Military I put myself through college at Auburn, and worked full time as a fireman and EMT. Everything I ever had, I had to work for.
What are your sources of inspiration?
My children. My oldest son is profoundly gifted, defined by a remarkably high IQ. My son Greyson actually helped me develop this product. He was right there with me day in and day out for the first 8 months, the conversations, the riding, we would talk about it…how it felt, how we wanted it to feel. He doesn’t even realize his own contributions to the project.
by Nicole Sayer