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Phil White has been an avid cyclist ever since he can remember. It was this initial curiosity and appreciation of how things are made that set him on his quest for design innovation and excellence.
A true entrepreneur, Phil thrives on challenge. He credits much of his perseverance and never give-up attitude to his experience as a motor racing mechanic and occasional racecar driver. The ability to have belief in one’s self, to get in the race, and to never give-up is strategic to Cervélo’s development. Relationships formed in that industry, from Formula Ford to Formula 1, today help contribute to Cervélo’s innovative products. Several of them now serve as consultants to the company.
Phil initially set his goals on majors in both mechanical engineering and business, but it was the business degree from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa that he graduated with after working for several years part time on naval systems engineering. After graduation he worked in project management for Lockheed and SPAR Aerospace in Montreal.
With engineering still in his blood, Phil returned to McGill to complete a Masters degree in engineering. There he met Gerard Vroomen, an engineering student in his composite lab.
“It’s funny the way fate works. When I teamed up with Gerard to help work on his Aerodynamic Time Trial bike, it was for the love of a challenge. We were students, with time on our hands and a common interest in cycling and design. The idea of a career as a bike designer, or starting a company didn’t occur to us; though in retrospect the rigors we experienced building that first bike have served us well and certainly was the catalyst that lead to the formation of Cervélo.”
Fate once again took its course with Phil using his tuition money to fund the fledgling bike company he and Vroomen had started.
Since those early beginnings fate has often intervened in the course of Phil’s journey with Cervélo. The bikes have been ridden to glory at every major road and triathlon cycling race in the world. Cervélo was the first bike company in decades “to put our money where our mouth is” to quote Phil, by sponsoring for two strong seasons Cervélo Test Team, a professional cycling team.
2012 has been a particularly fateful year for Phil White and Cervélo:
- January - the Company releases the new P5 Triathlon/Time Trial bike, to great consumer acceptance and stellar reviews.
- February - Pon Bicycle Group (RBG) in the Netherlands acquires Cervélo. About which Phil White commented: “The combination of Pon’s considerable resources and expertise and Cervélo’s cutting edge technology will make us stronger and more competitive as we continue to engineer the best bikes on the planet.”
- May - Vancouver’s Ryder Hesjedal, riding for Team Garmin-Sharp, rides Cervélo to victory to become the first Canadian to win the Giro d’Italia and a Cycling Grand Tour.
Phil’s mantra is clear-cut - To strive to constantly innovate and to design and build better bikes than anyone else.
Phil White and Gérard Vroomen founded Cervélo in 1995 when their design for a new time trial bicycle failed to garner interest from traditional bicycle manufacturers. Today, Cervélo is the largest triathlon bike manufacturer in the world and partner with the world’s most established and successful triathlon team, Team TBB and one of the world’s top pro road cycling teams, Team Garmin-Barracuda. Cervélo is recognized internationally as one of the most innovative and fastest growing bike manufacturers. Readers of VeloNews, CycleSport, Inside Triathlon and Slowtwitch (all publications for serious cyclists and triathletes) all voted Cervélo as the #1 brand they intend to purchase in 2012. For further information visit www.cervelo.com.
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