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Guest Editorial: A tribute to Bill Duehring

Published October 1, 2018

By Megan Duehring

Editor's note: Megan Duehring is the daughter of Bill Duehring, who stepped down as president of Felt Bicycles last month.

After almost 50 years in the bike industry, my father, Bill Duehring, has decided to part ways with Felt Bicycles and take some time for himself to focus on family and health. He has never liked being in the spotlight, simply putting his head down and giving everything his all without asking for recognition or acknowledgment of any kind, but I think this is overdue. He is hands down the hardest working individual I have ever met. He is passionate, loyal, driven, and an example to everyone of what hard work can bring you.

He wasn't given anything in this life. Bill came from very humble beginnings with a father who instilled a work ethic second to none. Bill worked endlessly for everything he has today. As a teen, he worked in my granddad's bike shop after school. As a young man, he swept floors at Jamis Bicycles and worked his way into sales then product development where he designed the mountain bike line for Ron Jamis.

In 1985, after 7.5 years with Jamis, he made the decision for his family to move to California and work under his soon to be mentor Richard Long at GT Bicycles. Through his work ethic he quickly became Director of Product Development. He helped create and design the original GT mountain bike line from the ground up, as well as the classic triple triangle and the ever popular custom paint GT was so well known for in the 90s. It has been quoted that Bill Duehring structured the way the bike industry works with Asia factories today because of his persistence and attention to detail.

"Bill and I got acquainted with each other when he worked at GT and worked with Mr. Richard Long. When the career is smooth and the family is happy, Bill suddenly had to face a triple blow of losing family, a dear friend, and work. There is no happy life forever. However, when facing so much loss at the same time, Bill chose to stand up bravely and face the challenges of life. This is the reason I respect Bill most, his endurance, courage and attitude to challenge difficulties in life. These are spirits that I, as one of his friends, hope to imitate," Stell Yu, Velo.

Mike Sinyard, founder of Specialized said, "I have known Bill for a long time. Anybody that knows him would agree that he is one of the hardest working, most driven people you would ever meet. Bill gets more work done before 10 a.m. than most anybody else does in a day. I have tremendous respect for Bill; he is one of the people who has succeeded against all odds. If there were world champions in the bike business, Bill Duehring would definitely be one of them."

Finally, after Richard's passing and being appointed Senior Vice President at GT, Bill decided to part ways with the company and partner with Jim Felt to relaunch Felt Bicycles in 1999. Here he shaped a brand founded on passion for riding and impeccable engineering.

"Bill Duehring's legacy in the industry will leave a lasting impression for generations. For me, Bill took a chance on me as a rookie sales rep to lead a regional sales team. He revealed the global landscape of bicycle production and introduced me to product development and sourcing. He taught me the fine line of negotiating fairly by creating relationships and a win for both sides. He's been a mentor with an inspiring work ethic and unrelenting desire to win. We will all miss his leadership and stewardship; no doubt we've all benefitted in some way as I have from a life devoted to this industry," says Dave Koesel, Specialized Bicycles.

Thank you Bill for giving so many the opportunity to be a part of an industry they love. You've always seen the best in people and give chances to those others would shut down without a second look. This is my standing ovation to you for being not only an exemplary father, but an exemplary human being. Thank you for all the years you've committed to cycling.

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