When Don DiCostanzo first meets people, he often asks, “Are you looking for fun, or are you looking for trouble?” If the answer is “trouble,” he replies, “We’re all out of that, but we have plenty of fun!” This one exchange sums up a lot about Don’s fun-loving personality. While he’s an experienced and savvy businessman, he is also a happy family man whose lifelong friendship with partner Terry Sherry led to the creation of Pedego — where the motto is, “Hello, Fun!”
A Love of Cycling
After 30 years in the automotive world, Don started an electric bicycle shop in Newport Beach, California. This was a labor of love. Over time, he developed an interest in electric cycling and tried to find quality electric bikes for his bicycle shop. His frustration with existing suppliers led him to contact his friend and future Pedego partner Terry Sherry and make plans for Pedego. In 2008, the two men co-founded Pedego Electric Bikes, where quality, innovation and customer service are among the top core values of the company.
“Pedego fuses the best in bicycle components with evolving electric technologies to create best in class electric bikes,” he explains. “As we look at how trends are evolving, styles and colors are playing an increasingly important role in the electric bike category. We are establishing Pedego as the best brand of electric bikes throughout the world by combining quality, service and style into awesome electric bicycles.”
Today, Don rides regularly with other Pedego riders, friends, family and co-workers. He enjoys visiting Pedego branded stores around the world and taking part in group rides with the local Pedego owners. As a regular rider, Don can personally attest to the quality and style of all Pedego electric bikes. As the CEO of Pedego, he makes quality, innovation and customer service happen every day. And he makes good on his company’s goals to delight Pedego customers and assist Pedego dealers to be successful.
A Big Wheel in the Business World
Prior to founding Pedego, Don spent over 20 years at Wynn’s, rising to become president of the global leader of innovative products and programs for the automotive industry. When Wynn’s was acquired by Parker Hannifin in 2000, he took over as Group President of Parker Hannifin providing strong leadership in a dynamic marketplace. This proved an exceptional foundation for his entrepreneurial ventures that followed.
Don went on to build several of his own successful companies. Starting in 2002, he acquired Zak Products along with a financial partner. The company owned and operated 40 car washes and distributed chemicals and automotive service equipment to franchised car dealerships from Florida to California. During that time, he also co-founded Prism Automotive, a very successful trade magazine publishing company and is the first angel investor in TicketSocket.
Though he doesn’t recall actually learning how to ride a bike, Terry vividly remembers the sense of freedom he enjoyed while riding as a child. “Every day, I would get up, have breakfast and then get on my bike to visit friends, go to the park, playground, baseball field, and more,” says Terry. “There was only had one rule: Be home for dinner!” Later, he loved teaching each of his three kids how to ride.
Terry’s youthful education on bicycles did not end with riding. Bicycle design and mechanics were central throughout his childhood and into adulthood. “As a kid, I was always tinkering with my bike. After all, it was my prized possession,” he says. When he was around 10 years old, his father took him to garage sales to buy junk bikes for $5 each. Then, he would take them apart and rebuild a good bike from the parts and sell the new one for $30 to $60. “I learned so much about bikes,” he says with a laugh. “Who knew that all of that would come in handy 40 years later?”
A Lifetime Friendship
He met Don DiCostanzo in August, 1975, when they both attended the first meeting for a pledge class at Cal State University, Fullerton. That night, the first order of business was to pick a pledge class president which was no easy task in a roomful of 21 potential leaders who also happened to be strangers. Terry and Don both wanted to be the president, so they walked outside to talk about it. They made a deal that Don would support Terry as pledge class president that night … if Terry would support him later when he ran for fraternity president. They agreed and have been friends ever since. Over the past 40 years, they served as best man at each other’s weddings.
He first encountered electric bikes when he was seeking a unique and special Christmas gift for his wife after more than 20 years of marriage. They lived in the hills of Orange, California, which had proven difficult for riding. They often rode their standard pedal bikes down the hill to the bagel shop for Saturday morning coffee. Riding home, uphill, left them sweaty and exhausted – even when they walked the bikes up the hill to return home. Then they discovered how electric bikes flatten hills and make headwinds a breeze. On their Pedego bikes, they now enjoy cycling around with the confidence that they can ride home at the end of the adventure.
The Business of Pedego
For 15 years out of college, Terry worked in the mortgage banking industry. He then started a sales and marketing company that catered to the automotive field and proved his talents in the entrepreneurial arena. That company is still operating. Ten years ago, Terry was approached by Don with the idea of starting a magazine for the automotive industry, and together they ran Fixed Ops Magazine, which is now celebrating its 10-year anniversary and going strong.
One day, Don invited him to lunch, and together they wrote — on the back of a napkin — the plans for what eventually would become Pedego. For several reasons, Terry decided to follow those plans and co-found the company. His deep friendship with Don and the fact that he loves to work on startup companies were major factors. Plus, he was ready to try something new and exciting. The biggest reason though was that he owned a couple of electric bikes and understood the possibilities. “I knew first-hand how such a simple machine could bring back such positive memories of when I used to ride bikes as a kid,” he explains. He realized that many people could benefit from an electric bike. On that napkin, Don and Terry decided their electric bike company would commit to a promise of quality, innovation and customer service that put customers first. It’s a business that grew out of friendship and love – the dawn of a company that was destined to create many happy Pedego fans!