Res Nova Law is celebrating local business owners in our new Small Business Spotlight series (check out January's Spotlight on Gold Standard Studio). This month, we interviewed Shawn Small, the owner of and chief engineer at Ruckus Composites here in Portland, Oregon. I've known Shawn since our undergraduate days in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, so it's been extra nice to catch up with him and learn about the exciting things happening at the Ruckus lab.
All images © Ruckus Composites.
“We are engineers, innovators, artists, problem solvers, scientists, and we are all cyclists. ”
— Ruckus Composites
Custom repair and paint job by Ruckus Composites.
What's all the Ruckus about?
Ruckus Composites is primarily a carbon fiber bicycle repair and fabrication company, though they can do much more than just fix your cracked frame. "Ruckus Composites is an agile and innovative composite facility with extensive materials engineering experience and opportunities," says Shawn. "Agile" and "innovative" are the perfect words to describe the company. Not only will they keep your bike out of the landfill by repairing it beautifully, they'll also fabricate custom components such as cable stops, fender eyelets, and custom CNC machined dropouts. In fact, Ruckus Composites is the only carbon fiber repair company that performs dropout replacements.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit:
Having parents who were both entrepreneurs and great role models, Shawn knew from an early age that it's possible to successfully build your own career. Also, despite having a degree in mechanical engineering, he has never seemed to the traditional "engineer" mold. "The thought of not being able to work with my hands seemed like tortuous future," Shawn told us. "I also have a strong passion to teach anyone about science and engineering in fun and wacky ways." Fun and wacky indeed—in 2012, Ruckus Composites sent a hot dog into space. No, seriously, you can read about it here.
“If you can dream it, we can do it. ”
— Ruckus Composites
Steady Growth for the Ruckus Team:
When I first heard of Ruckus Composites, the entire team comprised of Shawn and Graham. Graham is the development manager and master painter at Ruckus, though at the time, Shawn and Graham were both wearing many hats. More recently, Ruckus hired more team members to meet the demands of their quickly growing business, and now have six staff members, who have a range of expertise, from bicycle repair to painting to marketing. When we asked Shawn what he knows now about running a business that he wished he knew earlier, he simply stated:
“Hire slow, fire fast. ”
— Shawn Small, Ruckus Composites
What's Next for Ruckus Composites?
There are a lot of new happenings planned for Ruckus. Their current lease is up and the property is going to be redeveloped, so Ruckus is moving into a newer, bigger space that will allow them to set up formal offices and a carbon fiber bicycle showroom and museum. They're also growing their Non-Destructive Technology services and adding fun fabrication equipment to their lab. We're excited to see what's in store for Ruckus, and to watch this innovative Portland company continue to grow.
Installing custom machined carbon dropouts.
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