LONGMONT, CO (BRAIN)—Forrest Yelverton, who had been with GT for 21 years as an engineer, has left Cycling Sports Group (CSG). He had been serving as CSG’s vice president of advanced product. CSG owns GT.
“I do have a fair amount of personal reasons for leaving, but the time was right to leave and spend time with family,” Yelverton said. “The direction of the company, and moving everything to Bethel, that certainly aided in my decision—it didn’t hinder it in any way.”
In the last few years CSG has consolidated its satellite office locations including Lake Forest, California and Madison, Wisconsin, having personnel move east to its Bethel, Connecticut, headquarters. The Longmont, Colorado, location—where Yelverton and a few others worked out of—continued to stay open.
Yelverton goes back to GT’s earliest days when Gary Turner and Richard Long were running things. “I had my own framebuilding shop in Estes Park, Colorado,” Yelverton said. “We built frames for GT and Gary, and also did some engineering work for them before they had an engineering department down there [in Southern California]. We did third party/consulting work with them for three or four years.”
Not soon after industry veteran and former GT vice president Bill Duehring spotted a Yelverton-made tandem and the engineering whiz was brought on full-time as a senior engineer. “He ended up calling me based on that frame that he saw,” Yelverton said. That tandem, Yelverton recalls, was actually made for another longtime GT employee, general manager Mark Peterman, who was the manager at the Durango, Colorado, shop Hassle Free Sports.
Perhaps no major bike brand has endured the amount of change GT has seen over the years—to the sudden death of Long, to different ownership groups, to bankruptcy—and Yelverton has been there through all of it.
“We’ve been up and down here for the last 20 years that’s for sure,” Yelverton said. “Certainly the days with Richard were the most memorable. The company started with next to nothing. Then it went gangbusters and pretty much ruled the earth for a little while.”
Yelverton is most proud of producing GT’s Olympic bikes along with sponsorship bikes. Bicycles have definitely come a long away since Yelverton first started with GT.
“When we started there was nothing with a spring in it,” Yelverton said. “Now everything has a spring in it. We went from rigid to now everything has a spring, to every possible suspension system you can imagine. Of course, everything was metal back then. Then it went from steel to aluminum, then hydroforming, then carbon. I've kind of seen the gamut.”
Don’t think for a second Yelverton is retiring from the industry. After all, he said, bikes are in his blood and part of his DNA.
“I’ll be floating around at the shows and what not,” Yelverton said. “And as time allows, I’ll hopefully be able to help people here and there depending on who they are, what they’re doing, what their needs are and how much time I want to spend on it.”