At Wegmans, he’s Front End Coordinator Paul Bilbo; in the ring, he’s professional wrestler PB Smooth, and at Mercyhurst he’s the donor of a new scholarship, PB Provides.
Paul Bilbo is a Mercyhurst University alumnus who is remembered fondly for his active participation on campus with the men’s basketball team, Black Students for Unity, video game club, and, most formatively, his involvement in the Communication Department.
“My time at Mercyhurst was pretty cool,” Bilbo said. “Being originally from New York, I didn’t really know anybody when I transferred in, so Mercyhurst served as a fresh start for me. Outside of building a brotherhood with my teammates, I was able to build relationships with teachers and different members of the student body that I still hold on to until this day.”
From Mercyhurst he earned both a bachelor’s degree in communication (2013) and a master’s degree in organizational leadership (2015). From there he took a management position with Wegmans Food Markets, which he found through the Mercyhurst University Career Fair.
“During my job search, I had a number of teachers/mentors on the faculty that really helped to make my resumé standout against competitors,” Bilbo said. “I also learned a lot of leadership skills throughout my time in the Communication Department and Organizational Leadership programs. These skills have helped me excel at my job.”
His career took a unique turn in 2016 when professional wrestling caught his interest, after watching John McChesney and Matt Hardy of Hardy Boyz fame take to the ring in the main event of a show in Erie.
Since then he maintained his job at Wegmans while wrestling throughout the country, performing for independent companies such as Pro Wrestling Rampage.
“Working at Wegmans has given me the flexibility needed to follow my passion with a career in professional wrestling, so it’s great that Mercyhurst helped me get there,” Bilbo said.
Bilbo recently started the PB Provides scholarship as a way to give back to the school that gave so much to him.
“Success means nothing if you aren’t helping others reach their own levels of success,” Bilbo said. “I’d like to see more students that look like me go into the programs that I used to help me get where I am today.”
The award will be given to an incoming African American freshman that has an interest in pursuing communication as a major.
“We are in a world that is lacking in the skills of reading, writing, reporting and leading,” Bilbo said. “We need more people to take the Communication major seriously and want to change the world for the better.”
Overall, Bilbo hopes this scholarship helps cultivate diversity in the Communication Department.
“I’m hoping that it helps a young African American student follow their passion,” he said. “I hope that it shows students and everyone else that a major in communications is very important and should not be overlooked. It is so broad with so many fields you could dive into. By finding students that take this seriously it would help to prove beneficial for our society as a whole.”