Rich is a veteran, designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
He is currently serving in the Army Reserves and was recently assigned to the 303rd Psychological Operations Company, which drills in Coraopolis, PA. Upon moving to Pittsburgh he joined TechShop where he launched his business SHPlates. In addition to running the business, serving as a Reservist, and working full time, Rich has run fundraising campaigns through SHPlates raising well over ten thousand dollars for a number of veterans and other charities.
SHPlates designs and manufactures custom steel weight plates for military-style athletic events in addition to a variety of other custom motivational products. All manufacturing, artwork, and business operations are done by Rich and a very small staff operating out of TechShop. The business concept and its name were inspired by veterans as well. Says Rich, “SHPlate stands for Strength and Honor plate. The first SHplate was designed after a buddy of mine, a prior Army Infantryman who became my close friend after moving to Pittsburgh, gave me a hunk of steel- and I got an idea. Not a few days later, I had etched a plate to honor Todd Harris and Jason House, the two military deaths that have hurt me most. Their memory gives me the strength and honor needed to push through my training.”.
Rich has a lot to be proud of, but when you talk to him it’s immediately apparent that his charitable giving is a top priority and perhaps his greatest point of pride. To date he has executed two highly successful steel plate raffles that raised well over $1000 and also made a donation of PSYOP promotional patches to OVArts. His dedication to giving back is not limited to his substantial monetary donations. As an accomplished entrepreneur and designer he loves to tell other veterans, “I did it, and you can too.”. He has given back to the TechShop maker community by hiring TechShop members and giving informational and inspirational presentations at TechShop’s Veteran Meetups.
Our profound gratitude goes to Rich for all his contributions. OVArts is honored to work with such a skilled artist and maker that embody the values that our projects are designed to promote. Staff Sergeant Sanders, we salute you!