Note: gentle string music

John: Trek’s a company that my father started in 1976. We’re in the bicycle business, so we sell premium bicycles around the world at the higher end of the market. We’re focused on two things -- let’s make awesome products that we love and, taking care of our customers. And that, to me, is the most important thing we do here at Trek.

Ben: John’s leadership style is amazing. What I love about working with John and the team at Trek is clearly the energy.

John: JPMorgan Chase has always been the lead bank here at Trek.

Anthony: We started with them virtually at the beginning and grew the relationship over years.

Chad: There are multiple instances where we can look back and be like, “It was JPMorgan Chase that helped get us to the next level.”

John: '97, '98, '99. We’ve got a problem, who’s there? JPMorgan Chase. They’re there when you need them. That’s why I’m a fan of JPMorgan Chase. Globalization has had a huge impact on Trek. Back in the late '80s we decided we’re gonna go global.

Chad: Since then, more than 60% of Trek’s global revenue comes from outside the U.S. And JPMorgan Chase has helped us to expand into new markets.

Anthony: We helped them explore international growth in countries that can be hard to do business in, but our expertise in those countries makes it much easier for them to do business. We have world class solutions for clients that we can deliver on a local basis. It’s a strategic advantage that we have and we know that companies like Trek really value it.

Chad: This has been a true Midwestern success story.

Ben: They see the international market as a tremendous opportunity, and John has put together a very aggressive growth plan. But he’s putting the right people in place to accomplish all those goals that they have. It’s extremely important for JPMorgan Chase to work with a business like Trek because we’re looking for the right companies and it all stems with culture, community involvement, and that's something that Trek just embodies.

John: If you take a look at our culture here, it’s ah... work hard, play hard, have some fun.

Dylan: We’re definitely encouraged to stay active. I mean, it’s a great way to break up the day, it’s always gonna help make you feel better and make you work better.

Ross: They give us that flexibility to make our own schedule and do what works best for us.

John: There’s a balance and I think we do that pretty well here. We want to run a really profitable and successful business but we also want to make a difference. And so we came up with DreamBikes, where we take all these used bikes, we’ll put this bike shop and we'll hire kids from the Boys and Girls Club and we’ll run a business.

Toni: They teach them business skills. They really set them up for a more successful career and then they sell the bikes back out into the community.

John: We’re always trying to find out ways that we can use Trek to make a difference. We have great strategies in place. We’ve never been more clear as a business as to, this is how we’re going to be successful. I’m pretty optimistic about the future.


In 1976, inside a red barn in Waterloo, Wisconsin, Trek founders Richard Burke and Bevil Hogg established a company that would solely focus on manufacturing high-end bicycles in America. They built about 900 bicycles that year.

Trek, now led by Richard’s son John Burke, has since grown to become a global business producing millions of bicycles every year. Its custom road bikes are still made by hand in the U.S. The company’s goal, “build only products we love,” is a legacy that Burke wears with pride.

“I’ve inherited this jewel,” Burke says. “I need to pass it on in better shape than I inherited it.” 

Making a difference

Like the elder Burke, John places an emphasis on giving back to the community. “As a business, there’s making a profit and there’s also making a difference,” he says.

One of the many ways Trek gives back is through the DreamBikes organization. The idea formed at a food pantry where Burke and his daughter were volunteering, when the pantry’s manager mentioned that the real help they needed was to get more job opportunities for their patrons. DreamBikes hires and trains teens in disadvantaged neighborhoods to repair and sell donated used bikes. With the first shop built in Madison, Wisconsin, DreamBikes has expanded to multiple cities, including Chicago and New Orleans.

In addition to community-building, a core component of Trek’s philosophy is building a great workplace environment for its employees, known within the company as the “awesome bus.” The term was coined in a meeting when the head of human resources showed a photo of “a super cool bus,” Burke says, “and said he wanted to create an awesome bus here.”

Some of the ways Trek strives to create an awesome bus are by offering mountain bike trails that employees can ride, along with a comprehensive health program that encourages employee wellness. Trek employees also collectively own almost 30% of the company. “It is a family business,” Burke says. “If you take a look at the majority of people who work at Trek, they’ve been here for a very long time. It’s their life’s work.” 

Going global

From the bike manufacturer’s earliest days, their relationship with JPMorgan Chase has supported the business at each stage of their growth. “It was JPMorgan Chase that helped get us to the next level,” CFO Chad Brown says.

When Trek decided to break into the international market in the late 1980s, JPMorgan Chase’s global reach and expertise helped facilitate their expansion. The firm’s world-class banking solutions—delivered on a local level—help Trek do business even in countries where it can be difficult to operate.

Trek’s expansion into new markets has been crucial to its success. Today, more than 60% of the company’s revenue comes from outside the U.S. 

3 lessons for success

When Burke took over as president of the company in 1997, Trek faced some troubled times. It took three years to turn that around, but it was during those years that Burke says he learned three key lessons to maintain a successful business:

  1. Keep quality high. “If you create amazing products, people are going to buy amazing products,” Burke says. Trek started doubling down on creating best-in-class products in every category of its business
  2. Have a clear, simple direction for each business unit. “When we focus, we win,” Burke says.
  3. Practice continuous improvement. Burke was inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen, which involves actively engaging employees in every job function to suggest and implement improvements to the company. He also decided to involve Trek customers in the practice. In 2017, Trek held 760 continual improvement events with customers around the world.

For Burke, strong leadership is grounded in inspiration. “My job is to make sure, as a company, that we have a dream and we are moving it all the way through the organization,” he says. “We need to push the envelope, dream big, think outside the box and make a difference.”

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Visit for disclosures and disclaimers related to this content.