Last year, Ryan Daughtridge almost sold his company and moved his family to Australia.

If that sounds drastic, consider the Hagerstown native's story: He went to Syracuse to play soccer, then quit the team and later his job as an insurance paralegal to design skateboards. He turned that passion into a company, Bustin Boards, which last week entered into a partnership with Under Armour founder Kevin Plank in Baltimore.

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Daughtridge, 35, first rode a longboard skateboard at the beach during the summer of his college freshman year in 2001, and quickly became enamored. He came home and tried his hand at making one, which he gave to his then-girlfriend, to whom he is now married. Designing boards became a hobby, and Daughtridge sold his early creations on eBay.

For a year after graduation, Daughtridge woke up at 3 a.m. each day to work on his boards, then longboarded the commute between the insurance job in Manhattan and his home in Greenwich Village.

It was a perfect way to get around the city, he said, which was in the process of adding bike lanes to encourage alternative transportation.

While Bustin now makes a wide range of skateboards and longboards, its flagship is the NY Push Series, a collection of low-riding, urban-friendly boards "designed to race cabs in New York," Daughtridge said.

Working odd jobs and waiting tables on the side, Daughtridge recruited friends to Bustin and opened storefronts in Brooklyn and Manhattan. He eventually moved back to Hagerstown with his wife and their two children to open a distribution warehouse, which sends customized boards to customers internationally.

When an Australian skateboard manufacturer made an offer to buy the company and bring Daughtridge to the other side of the world on a five-year contract, the couple seriously considered it.

Then an adviser put him in touch with Plank's Sagamore Ventures, the investment arm of the billionaire's private holdings company. Plank and his team were impressed with his product and offered to back Bustin and put up the skateboard designers in their City Garage incubator warehouse in South Baltimore. (The amount of the investment was not disclosed.)

"They said, 'We're gonna try not to let you leave,'" Daughtridge said. "I just said, 'Wow. I'd rather stay in Maryland. I'd rather keep control of my company. I've been doing it 15 years; it's my life's work.'"

Daughtridge's 5-year-old son will start kindergarten in the fall, and he is excited about moving Bustin's operations into Baltimore.

"We can be connected to our roots in Maryland," he said. "But the company can be in the middle of all that energy and development that's going on in the urban realm."

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Ryan Daughtridge

Title: Founder and CEO, Bustin Boards

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Age: 35

Hometown: Hagerstown

Education: Syracuse University, bachelor's degree in psychology

Hobbies: Skating, soccer, screenprinting/graphic design, spending time with kids

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