The Synchrony Pillars Project set out to celebrate 10 individuals who define what it means to be from a particular place, help elevate their local economies, and foster community pride. Benjamin Madary's efforts on behalf of local, underprivileged students show him to be a true pillar of his community.
BENJAMIN MADARY | "THE TEAM CAPTAIN"
CYCLEWORKS | LAKE JACKSON, TX
The town of Lake Jackson, Texas, has changed since Benjamin Madary moved there in 1998, when he was only 12. Back then, there was a mall and just about nowhere else to go on a Saturday.
In the ensuing years, Lake Jackson has seen explosive growth, and residents even experience rush hour during the work week. Despite the town's expansion, it was still a leap of faith for Madary to open his bicycle shop, CycleWorks, in 2016.
"Our local area hadn't had a bike shop in over a decade," he says. Madary needn't have worried.
CycleWorks quickly established itself both as a successful business and a community hub. The shop became a place not just to buy a bike or get it repaired, but also a place for neighbors to congregate.
To learn how his business could be even more successful, Madary went back to school at Brazosport College in Richwood, Texas for a degree in business. He credits his professors and mentors for much of his business' success, so he jumped at the chance to give back to the school that had given him so much.
"One of my professors reached out with an opportunity to help get students who needed transportation used bikes," he says. "Attendance was lagging because many students didn't have the money for cars, or even a bike, and they had no way to commute."
CycleWorks partnered with the college, providing dozens of free used bikes for students "The bikes we provide help keep them in school and give them a chance to graduate so, one day, they can make their own contributions to the community," he says.