I picked up my first skateboard in 1979 and after 44 years of continuous skateboarding, I am still feeling the stoke every time I step on board. Growing up in the Washington DC area was such a blessing. There was always somewhere to ride. Ramps could be found in every community, and I gained some very important life skills in those backyards as a kid, as well as lifelong friendships. Commitment, Perseverance, and tenacity are just a couple examples of those lessons that still shape my life today. I had the privilege of riding with many of the top riders of the 80’s as a Cedar Crest local. It was nothing to show up to skate and find Craig Johnson, Fred Smith, or Mark Rogowski on deck, as well as countless others. Being pushed by the eras best provided me a foundation that still holds strong today. It showed me that there was more to being a skateboarder than just a roll around the block. There was a family of support, friends to drive you and push your limits, and a community that looked out for each other. That is The Heart of Stoke.
As a Father, my children were introduced to skateboarding at a very early age. My Daughters and I spent countless hours riding our local parks, and streets. They found the same lessons that I did. Now, their children are skateboarders too, making three generations strong. In the early 2000’s I was chosen to lead Skaters for Public Skateparks as the Executive Director. SPS became the world’s foremost authority on skatepark advocacy. The Tony Hawk Foundation was just starting, and we were able to help them streamline their advocacy. We partnered with THF to write the skatepark advocates “bible”. We helped build parks on nearly every continent on the planet. I wrote the first study on skateboard related deaths in 2008 which went viral amongst Parks and Rec professionals, then followed that up with the first ever Skatepark Programming Guide. In the following years I stepped away from the professional side of skateboarding to raise my daughters after losing my wife of 15 years suddenly. Through those tough years skateboarding kept me grounded and centered. The Heart of Stoke still beat with the same power it did as an 8-year-old kid in 1979. It’s just as strong today. I am here to share that passion, and give every child a chance to explore their creative side through skateboarding. I look forward to my journey with the amazing team at The Heart of Stoke, and continuing to Do Good Things.