Donna McAleer

The Bicycle Collective is seeking a Mechanic for its St. George shop.  Our Mechanic is an integral part of the team that builds on the Collective’s eighteen years of community bicycling initiatives, promoting cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation and as a cornerstone of a cleaner, healthier and safer society.  The Mechanic leads the effort to rehabilitate used bicycles, furthering the Collective’s contributions to its local citizens and communities.

It can be said that Forrest’s career in bicycling began on his 7th birthday, when his parents gave him a new red Schwinn Stingray bike. Almost immediately, he went to work recruiting his friends to help him build a dirt ramp in a vacant lot at the bottom of a hill near his house. There he and his friends competed with each other, pretending to be like daredevil Evil Kneivel, racing their bikes down the hill to see who could jump their bike the furthest. Pretty soon, after one of the boys got hurt from crashing his bike, and the boy’s mom complained to the other moms, Forrest and his brother went to work converting the ramp and jump site to a small BMX track. There the kids timed each other to see who could ride the course in the fastest time. Forrest and a friend cut and paint tin cans, making medals to award to winners. 

In time, Forrest learned more about bicycle maintenance and modifications  as he moved on to bigger and better bikes. He also coordinated group rides with friends from their neighborhood in the L.A. suburbs to Malibu beach. During high school Forrest learned more about bicycle technology from his stepdad, who was an aviation engineer and fellow cyclist, and the two talked about opening their own bike shop someday. Unfortunately, that dream never happened after his stepdad passed away from a sudden heart attack. Over the years Forrest continued biking with friends, and with his wife and two stepsons, while also coming up with different ideas for developing his own bike company. In 2016 he earned an MBA in sustainability with the goal of moving from the social services industry to an organization that focuses on positive environmental actions. Meanwhile, he built his career in tax and cost accounting, auditing, and HR management with several accounting firms and non-profit organizations in the Los Angeles area. 

After relocating to St. George with his wife in 2019, Forrest’s dream of working at a bike shop and promoting sustainability finally came into fruition when he was offered the position as Location Director at the St. George Bicycle Collective. Now Forrest is able to merge his experience in sustainability, accounting, HR and nonprofit management with his passion for bikes, the environment and helping the community in working to advance the Bicycle Collective’s mission. Besides working to get more youths, adults and seniors to ride and maintain their bicycles, Forrest’s goal is to help the Bicycle Collective get more bike paths and trails built in Washington County, provide more training in bicycle maintenance and safety, organize group rides and social events, promote the health and environmental benefits of biking, and introduce innovative and unique bicycle technology to riders in Southern Utah. Forrest is very excited to be with the Bicycle Collective and is looking forward to helping it grow as a key player in the Utah bicycle scene. 

Essen grew up hiking in the beautiful forests of Virginia and pursued her journey west through Kansas to Utah. She hopes to continue her west-bound trajectory by biking the Pacific Coast in the next year. Before coming to the Bicycle Collective, Essen worked to develop refugee programming in a Title 1 elementary school for parent engagement and English Language Learners, through AmeriCorps VISTA. She has also enjoyed directing events, teaching kiddos in special education, and conducting social science research. These experiences helped solidify her love for community engagement with diverse groups. She previously volunteered at the Provo Bicycle Collective and is excited to be part of the Salt Lake team! She is passionate about the healthy lifestyle cycling promotes and the community the Collective creates. You can find her rock-climbing, camping, or scheming ways to recreate the mochi ice cream she buys at Whole Foods.

Economic development takes many forms. The EDCUtah model of growing Utah one company at a time is one way. There is equally important work taking place at the street level, one individual at a time. The Bicycle Collective is an example of this people-centric approach to grow our economy, by giving residents more ability to engage in meaningful work opportunities or career paths. 

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