Hometown: Boulder, CO and Lake Geneva, WI
Current location: Trapped on planet earth
What do you do for/with/to bicycles?
My last real job ended 11 years and three days ago as the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Development for Schwinn Cycling and Fitness. I was incredibly lucky to be picked as part of the management team that brought Schwinn back from bankruptcy. When they got ready to sell the company for the third time I quietly snuck out the back door. Then took some great time off but alas cashflow was needed because the ‘kids needed shoes” so Alien Truth Communications got started as a brand/marketing/strategy firm. By design, I’m a "one person shop" with a deep network of world class subcontractors around me. The team is versatile and can cover everything from copywriting to product development. Honestly? After leaving Schwinn I just wanted to see how long I could last before I had to get a real job.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Two things: No. 1, I’m a conslut’ant not a consultant. That means I spread love all over my clients instead of typical consultant behavior. No. 2, Non stop learning. Because I specialize in "enthusiast" brands it takes me across many categories and industries like ski areas, bikes, outdoor photography, alternative medicine, natural foods, green automotive, etc. Major learn’age plus you meet great people, work on cool products and hopefully flow some cash while doing it. I love this planet!
What’s the toughest part of your job?
Two more things: No. 1, being self employed means there isn’t a pile of work on your desk every day when you walk into the office. Instead you have to go out and find it. No. 2, the Alien Nation predicted the economy would shift so I started spending twice as much time prospecting, selling and netpuking (networking). This approach helped us green ones to hold our own. Especially in a market environment where there’s too many unemployed white collar types calling themselves consultants until they find a real job.
What was the path that led you to work with bicycles?
I have always been a bike freak. At age 11 I strung Christmas tree lights and taped a huge battery on my Schwinn Bollegiate (bought used) and cruised the neighborhood singling Christmas carols. I look back now and ask myself, “self? WTF was wrong with me?” then I come to my senses and realize that two wheels is the only way to celebrate! It’s in my DNA.
What was your first bicycle?
Unbranded but still lovely red 12-inch wheeled bicycle my dad bought for both my sister and I. I learned to ride in an abandoned parking lot in Middleton, Ohio. No training wheels ever. I also walked to school barefoot in the snow, it was uphill both ways. Fuckin’ A!
What bike do you currently ride the most?
Road: Giant Advanced SL road bike w/hodge podge of high end parts (super bro deal otherwise I’d be riding a trendier brand) teehee. Dirt: Maverick American mtn bike : I just can’t quit you man….. Round town: Miyata pista track bike : raced this one 20-plus years ago now funkily converted to town ride. Sidewalk: 1961 Schwinn American : girls frame, pink &white/we call her ‘bunny’. Basement: Schwinn Spinner.
Where is your favorite place to ride?
I live in Colorado fall/winter/spring and love riding my road bike up the canyons on both asphalt and dirt roads. If you know the area you know Left hand, leehill, superjames, sunshine, poormans, ward, peak to peak. Climbing seems to clean up the inside of my head and spark me all up. In Wisconson its mountain bike at Kettle Morraine. World class trails only about 20 minutes from our lake cottage. Black sticky dirt, tree canopy, some roots and rocks, glacier cut terrain and rollers. Granted it doesn’t have the steep, long up/down action of Colorado but the upside is if you fall you don’t have to worry about balling up in the fetal position and bouncing off of bone breaking rock filled trails. Bottom line, either location is epic in my mind…..as long as it’s two wheels. I’ve convinced myself that my best ideas come on a bike. Plus it’s always a safe place to dispel my mental disturbances.
What music goes through your head while you ride?
This five minutes of my life?… Black Sabbath, my morning jacket, citizen cope, beatles, the black keys, elvis Costello, foo fighters, guster radiohead, jimmy eat world, the kind, ozomatli, dada, fugees, brother ali, charles Lloyd, arcade fire, gil scott heron, al dimeola, mavericks….
What are your interests aside from bicycles?
Eating dessert, it’s why I ride. Snowboarding. Yoga/kinetics/stretching/movement. Reading great books. One with the universe baby! Still trying to learn how to levitate and/or walk thru walls by focusing on my breath, posture and thoughts. Netflix online.
If you weren’t working around bicycles, what do you think you’d be doing?
Probably Natural foods business or music/events or maybe acupuncture?
Please share one of your favorite stories you’ve seen or been a part of while involved with the bicycle industry.
No. 1, Stingrays on the bottom of the ocean. It was ’98 or ’99? Right before the millennium, everyone was getting all retro and nostalgic. We reproduced a limited number of very nicely produced original Stingrays. Had em all pre-sold. Of course we made them overseas and the domestic manufacturing gods got even with us. Because when they were coming over on the boat a super-bad storm comes along and when that happens the cap’n doesn’t hesitate to push containers into the ocean to avoid capsizing. All those Stingrays ended up at the bottom of the pacific. Proof that creativity only lives when you build, ship and deliver!
No. 2, A World Cup dump. We went big with pro mtn bike teams during our Schwinn comeback. Teams are always high management/juggling act and one of our soigneurs was kinda crazy. Seems our rubdude got all celebratory after one of the World Cup events, climbed up a power line tower, pulled his pants down and took a dump from 80 feet up. I wasn’t there but got an immediate call.
No. 3, J-Lo impersonator turns into best group practical joke ever. Couple years ago I walked the Interbike show floor with a J-Lo impersonator. She was quite pricey but was a ringer. I must have taken 100 Polaroids and digital photos with all the big cheeses of the industry. What they didn’t know I previously arranged the placement of a large photo of her with an industry type’s arm draped around her. The headline? “Dude Looks Like A Lady”. I neglected to tell anyone the J-Lo impersonator was really a man. The only person who suspected was Mike Ferrentino (Santa Cruz Bicycles), of course he’s from SFO. Anyway, people are still talking about it.
Who would you choose for the next subject for the Bicycle Industry Insider Profile Series?
He’s a product development stud, been around forever, still remains relevant and chicks dig him.