Joseph Montgomery, founder of Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, presided over a business workshop on Monday that aimed to give the audience of students and international professors advice on starting and maintaining a business.
Montgomery, who launched Cannondale in 1971, reflected on his years of growing pains within the cycling industry and the adaptations he made.
“Once I found out what I wanted to do with my life, instinct took over and I was in the mindset that I would do anything required to see it through.” Montgomery said. “You can’t always predict every obstacle and problem that’s going to pop up, but if you lead with a sense of fairness and give it all you can, you can make it work.”
Montgomery, who now serves as the President of Systems4PT– a physical therapy software company, spoke on the difference in stimulating small and medium-sized businesses. His model came back to ethics.
“Let integrity guide you.” Montgomery said. “Network with people you trust and always give it your best. If you’re committed to your vision, you’ll find a way to make money. You also have to ask yourself if you want to deal with investors and partners who may see things differently from you.”
Several Chinese business and engineering professors were in attendance as part of HCC’s exchange program. Bill Griffin, HCC’s China Project Liaison, compared the manufacturing at Cannondale to the work the professors were contributing to at HCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Center.
“Manufacturing was key to what Joe was doing at Cannondale and a lot of it was here in Connecticut.” Griffin said. “It was very innovative. There’s even more possibilities now with how manufacturing has grown and evolved. Part of this (exchange program) is breaking down barriers.”
Now in its second year, the Chinese exchange program has demonstrated the power of peer-to-peer learning and collaboration. Montgomery was impressed.
“You’ll have to forgive my horrible Chinese.” Montgomery joked. “It’s encouraging you made the trip here. Trust me, these connections will be very beneficial for everyone involved. Now we just need the rest of the world to make those connections.”