By day, Sam Eitel ’10 works in business administration for Beltway International Trucks. By night (and weekend, and every other spare moment he can find), Eitel indulges his true passion: dreaming up and making his own line of longboard skateboards.
Though Sam has only been out of college a few years, it’s clear from the moment you meet him that he is passionate about his labor of love: Roots Board Company. After a childhood spent body surfing and longboarding during family trips to Ocean City, in fall of 2009, Eitel found himself wondering just how hard it would be to make his own board. He combined his own experiences as a rider with some guidance from his uncle on the finer points of woodworking, and voila: his own hand-made long board.
“I just tried making one,” says Sam. “My friends loved it.” And since that first board, Eitel hasn’t looked back. He’s been refining the process ever since, experimenting with different types of wood, painting styles, and hardware. He started making boards for friends, and in the last two years, he’s made more than 70 custom longboards.
When asked how he finds the time outside of his career and family obligations, Eitel explains that his passion for the work inspires him to make the time for it.
“I like to be on the go constantly and I delegate time to it, especially on the weekends,” he says. “If the sun is up, I’m out there [in the woodshop] cutting, sealing, and shaping boards.”
Right now, Eitel makes most of his boards for custom orders, but he’d love to branch out into local shops and to even establish his own storefront in the next 5-7 years. In part, Eitel says, this dream is the direct result of his education at UMBC.
“I’d always been infatuated with business and how to run one, but I never thought about how to start my own company,” admits Sam. “UMBC pushed me in that direction.”
“I really enjoy this,” says Eitel. “I can see myself doing this [making longboards] as long as I can ride them.”
Learn more about Roots Board Company.