On Wednesday, Kyle Poissonnier’s hard drive crashed. Then he was up until 3:30 a.m. packing hoodies to ship to his customers.

Such is the life of a young entrepreneur who is trying to use the lessons learned on the football field in the business world.

Poissonnier, 29, is the man behind Katalyst, a clothing/concert promotion/public speaking/philanthropic company.

“All I’m trying to do is make a living,” Poissonnier said.

A Smithfield native, Poissonnier graduated from Skowhegan Area High School in 2003, and then from Husson University with a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing in 2008. A wide receiver, Poissonnier was a member of Husson’s first team in 2003. His junior year, Poissonnier transferred to Albany, where he tried his hand at a higher level of football. In the Football Championship Subdivision, football felt like a job. Poissonnier returned to Husson.

“As soon as I stopped playing football, I was left with the question, what do I do?” Poissonnier said.

He started his first business while still at Husson. He moved to New York City, stayed a few years, then returned to Maine. Poissonnier started Katalyst in May 2013.

The business, like football, is work. Lots and lots of work.

“You can’t hide on the football field,” Poissonnier said. “My first day at Husson, I was sixth string. When I was in high school, and my friends got me to come out for football, the first day I had my thigh pads on my hip and hip pads on my thigh. I put in the work. It’s one of those sports that’s very much like life.”

Life, like football, is a contact sport. When he speaks to high school and college students, that’s something Poissonnier stresses. The real world is hard and is doing its best to knock you down every day. The world cares not for your feelings.

“There’s a really big idea that’s it’s easy to achieve something now, and it’s not,” Poissonnier said. “When I speak at schools, I try to show them the good, and the failures.”

Poissonnier shows students a photo taken at the first event he put on, when nobody showed up. Then he’ll show them a photo taken last year at the State Theatre in Portland, where 1,200 fans went to a concert he put on with Maine rapper Spose.

“It’s shocking to see the looks on kids’ faces,” Poissonnier said.

One of the things Poisonnier is proudest of is Katalyst’s Clothing With a Cause. Sales of a recent fall hoodie benefited the Maine Suicide Prevention Program. Other groups Poissonnier has used Katalyst to help include the Susan G. Komen Center for breast cancer research, the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, and ALS research. Katalyst recently contributed to three animal shelters in Maine, Poissonnier said, and coming up will work with five food banks in the state.

“We’ll keep moving, keep seeing if we can help,” Poissonnier said.

Next week, Poissonnier will work with Maine Maritime Academy to design a shirt for the school’s female athletes. There’s always plans. There’s always something to push forward.

“If I took something from football it’s you have to continue to work,” Poissonier said.

Football didn’t instill the work ethic in Poissonnier. It just showed him how to use it.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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