By Aaron Lewis
Co-Founder / CEO, Sphere Brakes
I grew up out in the country, near Waterford, Pennsylvania. My parents divorced when I was really young, so I lived half the year with my mother in North Carolina and half the year in Erie county. Fortunately, my parents’ divorce was atypical. They loved each other more apart than together. I enjoyed a very loving, caring family despite the interstate shuffle multiple times a year. After high school, I attended East Carolina University, Penn State University, and served twelve years in the military.
Transitioning Back to NWPA
After a tour in Iraq, I returned to Erie primarily due to my wife. We went to school together and kept in touch through college and my early military career. I had the idea for developing the sphere brake product before deploying to Iraq and refined it while waiting to push into Iraq, acclimating to the Kuwaiti desert. While deployed, I refined and patented the sphere brake. After returning to Erie, I met an individual at a local auto parts corporation who guided me down the automobile industry path. I simultaneously boot strapped development, in partnership with Ben Franklin Technology Partners, to build the company I run today.
Benefits of NWPA
Sphere Brakes has validated technology and grown significantly due to strong strategic partners and investors all tied to the manufacturing core of Erie and the auto industry. Sphere Brakes wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for the resources that northwestern PA has to offer, including product development, investors, partnerships, suppliers, and manufacturing. Beyond that, the cost of living is low and the access to national parks, amusement, and beaches is unparalleled. My success stems from access to strategic partners and mentors to execute a world class business strategy.