Paul Suhey ’10 Named to Forbes “30 Under 30”
When Paul Suhey ’10 received a text message from a family member that said, “Congratulations,” he thought, “Thanks, about what?” He soon found out that he had been named to Forbes “30 Under 30” in Consumer Technology. Suhey is the second Mercersburg graduate in two years to be named to Forbes “30 Under 30.” Read about last year’s featured alum, Magdalena Kala ’09.
“It’s exciting and humbling for sure,” Suhey says. “There’s been a lot of work to get to this point, and there’s definitely a lot more to do, but I’ve had a lot of help. I’m definitely grateful, and it makes me thankful for all the help I’ve had. I wouldn’t be where I am so far without that help.”
Suhey is cofounder of Revel Transit, a dockless electric moped-sharing startup based in New York City. Founded in 2018, Revel has now expanded in New York City and into Washington, DC, Miami, San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, CA.
“When people talk about electric vehicles and when mass adoption [will] really start, a lot of people talk in the context of decades,” says Suhey, “but our goal is to make that happen much, much faster than people think is possible.”
Suhey has always been interested in energy and transportation. Following his graduation from Mercersburg in 2010, he studied chemical engineering at Pennsylvania State University and pursued job opportunities in the oil and gas industry, traveling to Washington, Houston, and Baton Rouge, LA. While these experiences solidified his interest and gave him a great deal of respect for the oil and gas industry, he says, he wanted to move on to the next thing. “I became much more interested in where things are heading,” Suhey says. “I’ve always been kind of fascinated with the next idea.” This interest led him to New York City where he met his cofounder.
Suhey relates to the metaphor that starting a company is like building an airplane while flying it, but he has an adjustment to that concept: “Before you get to that point, you are standing at the edge of a cliff. You have a plane that you know doesn’t work, but you have to have the optimism to jump off, knowing that you’ll find a way to build it and fly.” He says there is no perfect time when everything is exactly aligned. Entrepreneurs figure it out as they go.
Suhey shared some of his experiences starting Revel Transit when he participated in an entrepreneurship webinar for current Mercersburg students in spring 2020. Suhey joined fellow alums Lois Findlay ’80 (host) and classmates Nikolai Paloni ’10, Ethan Keiser ’10, and Taria Griffin ’10 as part of a panel. Access a recording of that conversation.
As for Suhey’s own time at Mercersburg, he enrolled as an 11th grader from State College, PA, and considers Declamation to be one of the defining moments of his years as a student. “That was the first time I ever tried public speaking,” he says. “I wasn’t that good at it, but I really liked it. It was this really unique environment where it forced me to act. I had no reason to publicly speak before, so I had to learn this new skill, and when I came out the other side of it, it led to more things. I got more interested in it in college, I got more comfortable with speaking in front of clubs, and now that has just paid itself back in dividends when leading a company.” For the record, Suhey is a member of the Irving Literary Society, and he declaimed both years during his Mercersburg tenure.
When Suhey thinks about his advice for current Mercersburg students, regardless of their aspirations to be entrepreneurs, he encourages them to “have fun and don’t stress yourself out. A lot of what I’ve seen in people who are enjoying their careers and are successful are people who let their natural tendencies and passions lead the way, and when you do that and have a good time and enjoy your job, these opportunities just pop up: meeting my cofounder, coming up with this idea for the company, it happened really naturally because I allowed myself to follow what my interests are. If you do that, you’d be surprised by opportunities that come up.”