Director of Field Operations Matt Rose draws on his experience with the US Bobsled team in his daily work at BLOCK.
In his role as BLOCK’s Director of Field Operations, Matt Rose is constantly calling upon his past experience to get the job done. Sometimes it’s his background as a Superintendent on multi-million dollar projects across the country, others it’s his hands-on knowledge derived from years of running his own construction shop. Yet, as Matt will tell you, one of his sources of knowledge and experience comes from an unlikely source – a bobsled track.
AN OLD DREAM, A NEW OPPORTUNITY
Growing up, Matt’s passion was on the football field. He was a standout athlete at Xaverian Brothers high school in Westwood alongside BLOCK VP Cory Bailey. Matt and Cory were team leaders, often helping to organize morning lifts before the day’s classes started. This dedication to his craft led to Matt receiving an opportunity to continue his football career at Springfield College.
Matt quickly became a star wing in Springfield’s devastating option offense. Matt continued to get faster and stronger in college and the results showed. At one point, he clocked in a 4.37 second forty-yard-dash. With all the success he was having on the field, it was only natural that Matt started dreaming of an opportunity to continue playing after his college days were done. In order to make that dream a reality, Matt spent the months after his senior season hitting the regional combine circuit. He showed off his speed in front of scouts from all types of professional leagues.
Disappointingly for Matt, the phone call from the NFL never came, but his skillset did catch the eyes of one major athletic organization – one that was perhaps a little more unique. “I got a call from the US Bobsled Team, they wanted me to come out to their training facility for a big tryout they were doing. At that time, I wasn’t ready to give up on being an athlete so I thought I might as well make the trip to see what it was all about.”
A PERFECT FIT
The tryout Matt arrived at was called “Dry Land Training,” there would be no snowy hill to fly down just yet. Instead, the first thing Matt and other athletes participated in was another combine, testing their ability to run fast, lift heavy weights and make explosive movements. “If you performed well enough, they brought you to a dry land track and essentially saw how fast you could push a sled down the hill.” Matt aced both tests. Before long, he was a brakeman (the last push athlete to enter the sled) being sought after by multiple different sponsored bobsled teams.
For the next three years, bobsledding was not only Matt’s career – but his whole life. He traveled around the world competing against the world’s top bobsled teams. In between the Olympics, bobsledding revolved around a cup circuit. Matt still holds medals he won at both the American Cup and the Canadian Cup. He never was lucky enough to get a coveted European Cup medal but fondly remembers those events as some of the most exciting since European fans would pack the house to watch the sleds fly down the hill.
The memories Matt holds from those years are endless. Whether it was being one of the first individuals to ever slide with eventual Olympic medalist and bobsled legend Steve Holcomb or getting to homologate the new track built at the US facility in Lake Placid (a job that was fun, but also would earn you some serious bumps and bruises). Despite all these amazing experiences, there was only one more thing that surely Matt would consider a crowning achievement in his bobsled career – an appearance in the Winter Olympics.
MOVING ON TO A FAMILIAR PASSION
While Matt would’ve still had to compete for a spot, there was no doubt that a spot on the US Olympic Team for the 2002 games in Park City, Utah was well within his grasp. Unfortunately, in 2001 Matt was involved in a major motorcycle accident that left him seriously injured. While he was grateful to still be alive, Matt knew that he wouldn’t be able to get his body right in time to compete for a spot on the team.
“I ended up making the tough decision to end my bobsled career. While I was disappointed with how it ended, I’ll forever be grateful I had the opportunity to continue my career as an athlete after college. Not many people get to do that.”
With bobsled behind him, the only question for Matt was what was next. In the end, all the signs pointed back towards construction, a job he had for many summers during high school and college. “I love the process of seeing a project through from planning to the finished product. I knew it would be a rewarding career.”
So what lessons does Matt take with him from his days on the US bobsled team? “I think the most important thing I learned is the level of commitment, focus and energy it takes to accomplish something. I learned a work ethic that I absolutely carry through to my work at BLOCK. There’s no substitute for rolling up your sleeves and doing things the right way.”
Having traveled the world for competitions, Matt also acquired skills that make him a perfect fit for BLOCK’s philosophy of being Built on Relationships. “I met so many people from different backgrounds, different cultures and different mindsets. Sometimes those people were your teammates, sometimes you competed against them, but you also had to be able to come together and find common ground when the race was over. It gave me a real appreciation for the fact that everyone you meet brings something positive to the table and you’ll find out what that is if you build a relationship with them. I take that same approach to interacting with all the partners of BLOCK that I cross paths with.”