Paul DeMaio is kind of a big deal. As the principal for MetroBike, LLC, he is a successful businessman, a global authority on bike-sharing programs, an environmental activist, avid cyclist, health advocate, blogger, and – as Capital Bikeshare’s Arlington program manager – he may even be the man responsible for how you got to work today.
“What’s fulfilling about my job is that I have married my concern about the planet with being an entrepreneur and cycling advocate,” he smiles.And Paul has plenty reason to be pleased. The fusion of his passions launched an innovative service that has revolutionized movement in the DC area and beyond. Bike-sharing allows city dwellers to rent bicycles from convenient outdoor docking stations, use them to get around town, then drop them off for a sensible fee – a system he first observed in bike-friendly Copenhagen, Denmark.
And Paul has plenty reason to be pleased. The fusion of his passions launched an innovative service that has revolutionized movement in the DC area and beyond. Bike-sharing allows city dwellers to rent bicycles from convenient outdoor docking stations, use them to get around town, then drop them off for a sensible fee – a system he first observed in bike-friendly Copenhagen, Denmark.
But there’s more to the back story of being an around-the-clock pioneering, globetrotting, green, cycling superhero: Paul is also an alumnus of George Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government – earning a master’s degree in Transportation Policy, Operations, and Logistics (TPOL).
Paul was working in a local government position when he decided to take on the graduate degree at Mason. At the time, the transportation policy graduate program was new and a good fit for his career goals. To boot, he found the classes affordable, conveniently located, and manageable for someone with a full-time job. Upon graduation in 2005, Paul said goodbye to his 9-to-5 job, and MetroBike, LLC – the nation’s first bike-share consulting business – was born.
“My degree from Mason helped me develop my thinking on critical public policy issues that are ever-present in my field,” he asserts.
This field was ripe for innovation. With concerns about climate change gaining momentum and gas prices on the rise, individuals and communities were ready to welcome green solutions to their streets.
“I found a wonderful client in Arlington County, Virginia, which continues to be supportive of transport options, like cycling and transit,” says Paul. “There we drafted a public tender for a bike-share service, which became Capital Bikeshare.”
Today, MetroBike leads the program management for the Arlington side of Capital Bikeshare and is also responsible for siting stations in Montgomery County, Maryland. The business also has its fair share of clients across the U.S and abroad.
Paul credits his experience at Mason with nurturing his dream. “I had talented professors that challenged me, helped me grow, and provided me the flexibility to follow my interests through substantive research, which later turned into practice,” he maintains.
Many bike-share enthusiasts are grateful for that guidance. The publicly-owned Capital Bikeshare recently reached nine million trips – a milestone, Paul notes, that contributed to a significant reduction in the region’s carbon footprint while concurrently making residents healthier and saving them money. It’s enough to make Paul beam.
“Every time I see someone riding a Capital Bikeshare bike, I smile,” he says.