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Personality+: RedSkys Stephen Lavin Ollie Over Again

Solution provider RedSky Technologies Inc.’s vice president of professional services, Stephen Lavin, said police officers are usually surprised when they have to ask this 47-year-old to take his skateboard and leave places where skating is banned; but Stephen (aka “Topsider”) wants to skate every chance he can get, and why not? Stephen is a decorated competitive skateboarder who is moving up through the ranks with a hobby he’s had nearly all his life.

Stephen takes on the giant slalom at the Texas Outlaws Cold Fusion Sizzler in Austin in March. Photo by Greg Stubbs (aka “Stubbs”).

Starting with roller skating at the age of five and then playing in a roller hockey league, Stephen remembers modifying his roller skates with a pillow and riding his cushy “skateboard” around the basement of his apartment building. He bought his first real skateboard in 1971, and according to Stephen, learned to use it by skating incessantly, without any formal training.

Although he expected he would someday be a recognized skateboarder, there were very few professional slalom skateboarders in the late ’70s when he was skating his best. He knew he had to learn a living, so got a “real job.”

Thanks to his teenage sons’ interest in the sport, he got back into skateboarding after being “retired” for nearly 20 years.

Stephen places third in tight slalom at the Sun Prairie Wisconsin Wiggle War in June 2008. Photo by Jonathan Harms (aka “The Librarian”).

Since 2006, Stephen has competed in about six to eight events each season for points. He recently has taken first, second and third place honors alongside skaters less than half his age. In 2008, he was ranked 39 globally out of 363 registered competitors of all ages. He is ranked 15 in the United States for the “Masters” class of skaters, age 45 and up. “My four-year average position amongst all-age skaters is 57th globally out of 1,241 places and registered competitors,” said Stephen. “I’m getting faster.” And speed is what it’s all about. Stephen does downhill racing and slalom skateboarding, where speeds can reach 40 miles per hour.

This adrenaline junky athlete pretty much summed up how he felt about skateboarding when he said he would compete as long as he could stand. “I have always loved this sport and it makes me feel good to be with others like me and to help bring along new skaters,” said Stephen. “Some of the most genuine people I have met are skaters. …Don’t believe everything your parents tell you about how ‘bad’ skateboarders are. None of it’s true.”

Sure, Stephen … tell that to the cops next time you get reprimanded for bombing a hill that’s off limits.

Brushes with fame: Stephen is the son of ’60s high-fashion model, Carole Galanaugh, who was the Ivory Snow girl, the Pennsylvania Bell spokeswoman and on multiple covers of Glamour, Vogue and Redbook.

First job: At age 12, Stephen worked for his grandfather in his women’s ready-to-wear stores in Cocoa Beach, Fla., for 50 cents per hour.

Words to live by: “If you are not scared, then you are not living.”

Currently reading: “The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Timothy Ferriss

Thoughts on telecom: “This is a great time for telecom. Although the business environment is challenging and fiscally difficult, we are seeing some wonderful opportunities in rising voice technologies and technology standards that are revolutionizing the industry. Existing data infrastructures are being leveraged like never before, and mobility, including voice mobility, is moving forward in leaps and bounds.”

Do you know someone who has Personality+? We’re looking for interesting characters in telecom to take the spotlight! Please send nominations to Cara Sievers at csievers@vpico.com.


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