When I was 14 years old, I was hired on at Livermore Cyclery for the summer to help assemble a fleet of bikes for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. I mostly assembled the racks that were attached to the bikes, but I had a blast. Somehow, I convinced the owners, Steve and Melinda Howard, to keep me on beyond the summer and there I stayed.

I worked at Livermore Cyclery off and on (mostly on) for the better part of 10 years. For some reason, in my 20s I thought I needed to get a “real job.” Little did I know at that time that the lessons I learned working in that little bike shop would mold me into the person I am today. Almost daily I am reminded of a lesson learned while working there.

I’m pretty sure I was a horrible employee. I had been fired from every paper route I ever had. To me, being in the shop was magical. It was about fun, camaraderie and socializing. “Work” was secondary. But Steve never gave up on me. With his guidance (and occasional hard-knocks lessons) I began to learn work ethic, trust, and accountability. I began to learn how those characteristics were related to dependability, honesty, integrity, and loyalty. And now, 32 years after that summer job, I see how important those years were.

Steve and Melinda Howard were not just business owners. To those of us who had the opportunity to work for them, they were teachers, mentors, friends, and family. As were Steve’s parents, Bob and Jackie, and his brothers, Pete and Dan, and his sister, Ann. The Howard’s helped define downtown Livermore years before there was a Livermore Downtown!

Steve and Melinda recently sold their bicycle shops to Trek Bicycles. And with that sale goes a piece of Livermore’s history. I will be eternally grateful for them and lessons I learned from them. I am equally grateful that my oldest son was able to spend two years working for them as well.

Please, Livermore, join me in thanking two of Livermore’s greatest citizens and business owners, Steve and Melinda Howard. May the next phase of your life together be as plentiful and rewarding as the last. You've earned it!