Finding out what you want to do with your life at an early age is a significant accomplishment. Most college students change their majors several times, and the average adult will work in several different industries throughout their lifetime. Ronald Hickland Jr. found out what he wanted to do in his teens, but there was a problem – only several positions in the world included what he wanted to do. Ronald wanted to become a bowling ball designer and engineer.
When thinking of a rare job, astronaut almost always comes to mind. As of May 2012, there were 58 astronauts on NASA’s payroll. Pretty rare, but in the entire world – there are only 4 people that design bowling balls, and Ronald Hickland Jr. is one of them.
Ronald is Manager of Technology at Ebonite International, which produces 60% of the world’s supply of bowling balls. Ebonite has four brands: Columbia 300, Ebonite, Hammer, and Track. Ronald oversees the research and development for all four brands and makes sure that product performance matches each of the brands’ specific niches.
So how does someone get started as a bowling ball designer?
Ronald Hickland Sr. was an avid bowler and took him to a bowling tournament. Ronald, 15 at the time, met a designer at the tournament and started asking questions about what it took to be a bowling ball designer. He learned that an engineering degree would be a necessity and creating strong ties with people in the industry was needed due to the small number of designers. Not only did he take the advice to heart, he successfully accomplished his dream of becoming a designer and has excelled in a career he loves.
2013 CEO National Conference
Ronald Hickland Jr. will be speaking at the upcoming 2013 Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) National Conference in Chicago, which will be held October 31 – November 2. Ronald will be speaking about how to take things you know and have learned to grow within a company. He will also cover how he was able to earn his highly coveted position as a bowling ball designer and what he has been able to do as a result. Although working within a larger company, Ronald has used his entrepreneurial skill-set to impact the organization and achieve his goals.
Don’t settle for a spare, listen to the full interview with Ronald Hickland Jr. here!
– Reaction Ronald gets from people who learn he is a bowling ball designer: “I thought that they are all round.”
– The specifics of what goes into bowling ball design, from the outside cover to the core of the ball.
– Ronald’s thoughts on working for an established company before starting your own entrepreneurial endeavor.
– Favorite professional experience: Being able to give back and coming to work. “Going to work is going to play…worth more than money can possibly buy.”
– Best piece of advice: “Surround yourself with like-minded people.”