Our lives are full of moments; some seemingly whiz by while others feel as though they drag on. Think about what you’ve done in the past few moments of your life. Was it fulfilling? Impactful? Was it even interesting? Today we’re speaking with arguably the most interesting man in the world – Steve Radenbaugh. He’s someone who has done so much, inspired many, and continues to have adventure after adventure.
Steve, you’re truly one of a kind. What’s your approach to life?
I’m not shy, I’m outgoing, and not afraid of anything. Simply put, I lead. A few years ago, I was chaperoning my grandson for a 7th-grade field trip to Washington, D.C. and we visited The White House. In the park across the street, a guy was playing his music on a stereo. The group was all standing there, so I asked him to put on some music, like The Beach Boys, and about 300 people, kids, and teachers began dancing in front of The White House. One lady and I began swing dancing and everyone joined in. I could’ve stood around and done nothing like everyone else.
It sounds like you are someone who makes things happen and enjoys being active. Tell us about all the vehicles you know how to operate.
Cars, including racecars, sailboats, motorcycles, mountain bikes, gliders, planes, and helicopters. My first plane was a Cessna 150, which is a trainer. I flew twins and bigger single engines, but then I began raising a family and stopped flying for some time.
So, you got back into flying later?
After the kids were grown, I flew helicopters for 10 years and began flying airplanes again, which I still do. I still fly helicopters too and mostly love to fly through buildings in Downtown LA. It’s amazing to see people at work on the 20th floor in the evening! One of my planes is a high-country explorer for the backcountry. It requires that I find special places to land, like dirt roads. One of the most exciting parts about that is taking off and landing on a pinnacle, which I’ve done on the top of a mountain where it’s a 500-foot drop-off. And of course, flying is all about weather.
We hear you’ve even flown in a C4. Tell us more about that.
That was kind of an honorary deal, where certain leaders in the community get invited to go out there to the USS Truman, which is a nuclear aircraft carrier. I flew on the C4 out of the naval base in Virginia and landed on the aircraft carrier. It was an amazing experience! You get stopped by that cross-deck pendant as you land, also called an arresting cable—just like you see in the movies.
I know you have been honored in many ways, but what is one that stood out to you?
Being knighted with the Knights of Malta. A person must be invited, there are guidelines, and a lot goes into preparing for the ceremony, so it’s a whole process. That was a big honor with a ceremony over in Ireland and I was presented with a special sword.
What other countries have you been to?
I explored Europe on a motorcycle, all through Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, France, and I have also been to Mexico, Argentina, and Canada. Traveling as a young man, I was heavily influenced by a Mexican pilot who spoke no English while on a trip to Cabo. Six of us were in this little plane, and the pilot pointed to the yolk, pointed to the ball and wing indicator, which is an instrument that indicates if you are leveled or not, and tells me to fly it! We were over open water, so I just did it. What a thrill! I got home and went directly to the airbase and got my pilot’s license.
Tell us about other licenses you have had or still hold?
I’m a licensed minister, who can marry and bury people. Mountain bike, airplane, helicopter – I’m Type Rated in Gliders. I hold a Captain’s license for yacht & sailboat. Additionally, a motorcycle racing license, a professional racecar license, and of course a driver’s license. Also, as a contractor, I have six different licenses/ratings – I can build skyscrapers!
I know you briefly mentioned racing, but what other types of competitions have you participated in?
Back in school, I did track and field, high hurdles, pole vault, and the high jump. I’ve done ski racing, and raced Porsches on a track, like full-on race cars. That includes the GT4, GT5, and a Boxster Spec. As a mountain bike racer, I was listed 4th in the country. I’ve raced several motorcycles, competed in road racing as an eight-time champion, and I set a track record at Willow Springs for Formula 50.
Racing seems to be a big part of your life. What about auto rallies?
I’ve done the Cannonball Run with some sports cars. There was a movie about the Cannonball Run with Burt Reynolds years ago, and it’s a race where you go across the entire country as fast as you can. It’s extreme stuff! I have also done the Corsa America rally which is the largest sports and luxury car rally in the country. There’s the LuxRally, a private membership-only deal that I have participated in as well. I’m really a hobbyist with a wide scope of interests. I also fly fish and mine Crypto.
That’s certainly a lot of impressive accomplishments. What is up next for you?
I’m about to start flying in super STOL competitions, which means short take-offs and landings. I have a plane specifically for that called a just aircraft.
Steve, you are also quite interesting by association and have some well-known family members. Tell our readers about that.
My son-in-law Beau Eason was a pro football player and now a motivational speaker. His brother, Tony Eason, was a quarterback for the Patriots when they went to the Superbowl. My brother-in-law is Larry Yount, married to my sister Gail, and his brother is Robin Yount, Hall of Famer Infield and Outfield, and one of the best baseball players ever to live.
My father, Dick Radenbaugh, coached all of these young men for 30 years in baseball and helped build the little league field in Woodland Hills. He was also the best golfer at Bel Aire Country Club during his time. Growing up, we all rode horses, but my sisters Holly and Kelly were equestrian competitors, and their coach was Olympian Gold Medalist champion, Hilda Gurney.
You mentioned your father, and it sounds like he taught you a lot. What was his business?
He owned Bilt-Well Roofing which has been in business for 86 years and we still have the business today. My dad retired at age 50. I took over at 28 with my brother and I managed a team of a few hundred. My parents were good examples and taught us a lot. I grew up in a privileged home and never fell into the craziness of a teenager. Bringing goodness and leadership to the world comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t just do what everybody else does in your work ethic, raising kids, leadership role in the community, and business endeavors. I learned that living in the light is the most important thing. I never drank or did drugs. It was almost like an attitude I had about things that aren’t good for me.
Your parents certainly made a good impression on you. What’s a particular memory you have growing up?
My parents blessed us with a speedboat when I was just 16 and that responsibility impacted me greatly. I would go to the river with 20-30 people, and these guys would be partying, while I was making sure they were safe and doing the right things. I kept a leveled head. I could have been wild and crazy, but it’s like I had this leadership that didn’t quit. We would leave at midnight, and it was about a five-hour drive. I taught countless people to water ski there at the Colorado River.
With all that you have done, what are you most proud of?
My family, including the parents I came from, and the accomplishments of my children and grandchildren. Most of all, it’s about who they are. I’ve been truly blessed in life in so many ways but have always worked hard and had many experiences which helped shape me. As early as 11 years old, I’d stay at a ranch on weekends where we had horses and helped care for 100-200 horses, feeding them twice a day, and cleaning stalls. Some of those hay bales I dealt with were larger than I was when I started! I’ve also written 12 songs, all about my life, and some are about my parents. They are all on SoundCloud.
Steve, what other types of entertainment have you been a part of?
I can be found on Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and there’s information there about some movies I have been involved in. I have modeled professionally too. Right now, I am working on doing my own TV show.
Do you feel your hobbies and interests enriched your business endeavors and leadership qualities?
Absolutely. It’s about being an example and enriching the lives of others. When I began doing motorcycle races, I was in my 60’s, but I would do multiple races per day, so they called me “Animal”. I also led church service and chapel before the races on Sunday. I am humbled to know that I’ve influenced countless people. I stood up and led just like my dad did. I used to say to the kids growing up “Where’s there’s booze, there’s trouble,” and years later I was in line at the market, and this man further down the line hollers out to me, “Where there’s booze, there’s trouble!” and I said, “You got it!” I had made that impression and he remembered. Just like how that Mexican pilot influenced me and changed my life in an hour when he let me fly – that’s what it’s all about.
Sir Steve Radenbaugh is a speaker, entrepreneur, celebrity, social influencer, and philanthropist. He is currently the CEO of Bilt-Well Roofing, one of the nation’s leading roofing companies. Among many other things, Steve is also an athlete, motorist, cyclist, competitive racer, photographer, and avid lover of travel. He has a genuine love for developing and helping people achieve their goals and dreams, and for supporting the arts.