A headshot of Zachary Richardson.

Zachary Richardson '21


Mansfield, MA


Mixing his coursework with his passion helps a small-business owner learn how the world works.

As the founder of the rapidly expanding Zack’s Custom Rods company, Zachary Richardson '21 has leveraged a passion for fishing into a business that builds and sells customized high-end fishing rods to a growing customer base. His Bryant education, he says, is helping him chart his own path on his own terms. “I always knew in the back of mind I was going to own my own business,” says Richardson. “I knew it 100 percent, ever since I was a little kid."

A Marketing and Entrepreneurship major, Richardson is learning lessons and honing skills that give him a real-world advantage. “My classes are helping me understand how the world works and how to get things done,” he says. In one of his favorite courses, Entrepreneurial Marketing, he worked with a team to develop innovative marketing solutions for the Championship Melt food truck company. “It was a great project,” he says. “We worked for a real client with a real small business and real small business issues.”

“I could kind of relate to him,” Richardson says with a smile.

His Global Foundations of Culture and Leadership course introduced him to Senior Lecturer of History and Social Sciences David Ciliberto, Ph.D., who’s become an important mentor. “He’s known for being pretty rigorous,” Richardson says. “But if you’re serious about what you’re doing, that’s exactly what you need. I’ve learned more about how to become successful from him than anybody else.”

A Jackson W. Goss Prize in Entrepreneurship, awarded annually by the University to students working on promising entrepreneurial enterprises, helped him open a storefront for his business. “The prize was really important,” says Richardson. “Something like that doesn’t just help you out financially. It’s a vote of confidence you can show your customers that somebody appreciates what you’re doing.”

Balancing a growing business with being a full-time student can be difficult, Richardson admits, but it’s worth it. “There’s value to an education like this,” he says, “even beyond the business things I’m learning. I want to be an educated member of society, and going to a university like Bryant helps you develop your understanding of the world and how you see life.”

Real World Experience


Founder, Zack’s Custom Rods
• Owns and operates a high-end custom fishing rod company

Recipient, Jackson W. Goss Prize in Entrepreneurship
• Received an award that advances the creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit of undergraduate students.

Consulting project, Entrepreneurial Marketing course
• Worked on a team to develop marketing strategies for the Championship Melt company


Bryant Ventures
• Collaborates and shares ideas and inspiration with other student entrepreneurs through the University’s student start-up incubator

A Connected Community

Bryant's purposeful student life delivers co-curricular immersion with an inspiring, collegial community. Students forge deep connections that last a lifetime.

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Alexander Bronk '17

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John Marotte ’23 MBA

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Elana Williams-Leonard '19

Exploring the world around her gave a passionate educator the skills to make the world better one light bulb moment at a time.