Twice is good: Husker wins History Channel’s ‘Forged in Fire’ again | Nebraska today

Junior management student and entrepreneur Colton Arias recently won the History Channel ‘Forged in Fire’ blacksmithing competition for a second time at age 20 – his youngest ever double winner. As a busy startup owner attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he likes to build on the interest he first discovered as a child.

“I started very young, probably around 10 or 11, making things out of wood or metal, learning blacksmithing. I started making knives because I always liked swords and stuff. medieval,” said Arias, from Ceresco.

Over the years, as his work improved, people would see his designs and ask if they could place an order. As a teenager, he receives more and more requests, realizing that he could make a lucrative business out of it.

Arias started Bridger Forge in 2016 while still in high school. At her Ceresco store, Arias began fulfilling custom orders. However, he knew that a college education would better position him for success in the future.

“I chose to come to Nebraska College of Business because it’s a great business school. My family went to college, and if I ever decide not to continue with this business or find another job, I will have a degree and business skills from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that can go with me. wherever I choose,” he said. .

Arias shared how many of the skills he uses on a daily basis were learned in his accounting, entrepreneurship, marketing and management courses. Besides being a full-time student and running a business, Arias also participates in bodybuilding and coaches others in weightlifting. With so many irons in the fire at once, he finds the lessons from his college courses on time, finance and employee management apply equally.

“It’s hard to dedicate a ton of time to the whole university, getting involved in organizations or networking outside of class. A few courses, like my Management and Entrepreneurship classes with Andrew Hanna, Assistant Professor of Practice in Management and Entrepreneurship, were excellent. They taught me how to manage my business and my employees. I keep these notes and review them regularly,” he said.

In Hanna’s Introductory Entrepreneurship and Innovation course, students learn what is expected of them when starting a new business. Then in Managing Behavior in Organizations (GMT 360), also taught by Hanna, they focus on how to be a good manager and leader.

“The first class I taught at Colton helps students build a business, and the other helps them develop the skills to manage people effectively and stay on top,” Hanna said. “Having student entrepreneurs like him in the classroom is great fun for me. When the course is immediately relevant to them, it really makes those interactions meaningful.

A typical day as a full-time student, business owner, and creator doesn’t leave much free time for Arias as he spends three to six hours a day on his business after finishing schoolwork. He launched the Bridger Forge website for orders in 2019. Especially since appearing on TV twice in the past two years business has boomed even more.

“I find a way to balance it all. Free time isn’t really a thing for me right now. After I graduate, I plan to continue working in my business, saving and investing money, and eventually developing a bigger store in Lincoln,” he said. declared. “Building a business takes a lot of work, but in the end it’s super rewarding because you can have absolute freedom over what you want to do, where you want to sell, who you want to sell to and what you do with your business. the money.”

Despite the demanding hours, Arias advises budding entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunities, even when they seem unconventional, like competing on a TV Pin up.

“Say yes to anything that comes your way. I had no idea what I was getting into when I agreed to be on the show, and it’s scary, but it turned out to be a amazing experience.

Learn more on Arias, his appearance in ‘Forged in Fire’ and his business Bridger Forge SARL.