As many of you know, I (Dave) am in the finishing throes (finally) of getting my MBA at the august University of Rhode Island. My dream of scoring a perfect 4.0 has died thanks to a few blunders in the Financial Management final (which I took moments after my second Pfizer dose so we’ll blame it on that) but it’s been a very productive experience all around.
This semester, there is one required Economics class to take, and then I have a choice of electives. Since I’ve taken so many of the electives that I wanted to already, and because course selections and offers are what they are on a schedule I don’t control, the ones I’d want to take between here and the finish aren’t my top choices. Looking into it a bit further, I learned that I could do an internship as an elective, and that’s what I’m doing.
As we’ve talked about a few times here, Rhode Island has a thriving composites industry. It started with boat building way back in the day, and has continued on developing with technology. A few smart citizens diversified away from the yacht industry (which is just as much of a hair-puller as the cycling industry, just with a lot less “bro!”), and now focus on industrial and defense applications as primaries, and some marine stuff as fill-in. The shop where I’m interning was actually my first choice for having rims built locally, because the rims they’d build would be out of hand perfect. Alas, they’d also be higher cost than where a lot of the market is now. There’s a chance we’ll try to put some prototypes together but it’s a small chance, and that’s not the point of the whole thing anyway.
The composites experience I have through past work history plus what I’ve done with November makes things a lot easier for me there, since I’m more or less fluent in materials and processes, but that’s not going to be my role - I’ll have only a little shop floor involvement. I’ll spend most of my time on marketing, business development, and workforce development.
What this means long term is undefined. It might totally transform our business and see us into product development and production, although that chance is slim indeed. It will certainly further our in-house composites expertise, which I already consider to be quite high as is. Life at the leading edge. It’s of course funny that the business that started life as a side gig now has a side gig, but if the last 18 months (on top of the previous 10 years) haven’t taught us to expect the unexpected, what will?