It's tedious – drawing ideas, putting in numbers, visualizing - but I'm exposed to designing things all the time in my engineering classes, so it clicks.

Don Lioi

Congratulations on your graduation, Don!

"In high school, when my friends were outside doing kickflips and noseslides, I was inside, building my own skateboard. I started because I didn't want to pay for a new board, and I had an urge to make something. My friends and family were impressed – I think they were surprised – so I kept going. Now I have clients.

"I start with in-person conversation where I sketch out an initial design. Then after talking with my client, I'll refine the design and craft as much as I can from scratch. It's tedious – drawing ideas, putting in numbers, visualizing - but I'm exposed to designing things all the time in my engineering classes, so it clicks.

"It's exciting to think of how much I've progressed since that summer in high school. I turn a small profit and could see myself expanding the business, but it isn't about the money. While my initial goal was to make a cheaper skateboard, now that I see how much I've improved, I strive for higher quality with every board."

Don is from Basking Ridge, N.J.

Posted June 14, 2013
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