058: Jay Getzel- Jay Getzel the President of Mountainsmith tells us how he networked his way to the top

December 12, 2017

Show Notes

Jay has been with Mountainsmith for over 8 years with stints at CAMP USA, Timberland and Kelty prior to that. He has an impressive career and we talk about how the Mountainsmith team has delivered consistent success as one of the smaller outdoor gear brands, the current state of outdoor retail and plenty more. Enjoy!

First Exposure to the Outdoors

My first exposure in the outdoors dates back to growing up on the East Coast. I'm from New Jersey and my dad was always a huge proponent of taking my brother and I out for adventures dating back to being little kids. Heading into scouts and stuff like that I'd say my earliest memories of outdoor trips were a split between camping up in the Poconos which was an annual excursion for my dad my brother and I, then also with the scouts they turned us on to an area down in South Jersey a lot of folks refer to as the Pine Barrens. If you're familiar with Jersey at all it's a place where the Jersey Devil lives. The Jersey Devil is a mythical creature that the hockey team is named after. He lives down in the Pine Barrens. The Pine Barrens is this really cool interconnected network of cedar creeks and there's a lot of Outfitters down in the area down there that will put you in with a canoe and pick you up a day later. It's a place where families and scouts and and folks that just want to go out and spend a little bit of River time camping and paddling.

Things we talked about


Eastern Mountain Sports



Camp USA

American Alpine Club

Big City Mountaineers

Continental Divide Trail Coalition

Advice, tips

I mentioned it earlier the fact that none of the jobs that I've found and grown into over the course of my career were ones that were not necessarily posted on the Outdoor Industry Association website or on snooze or SGP or what have you. They all came via word-of-mouth and networking. I think that's the most important thing that being in a sales and marketing role in the outdoor industry affords you the chance to meet folks at all different levels, whether that be at the brand level at the sales representative level at the vendor level or at the retail level and nationally and even globally. I think having that network especially on the sales rep side means that you've got these folks that have tentacles spread out through all different brands across geographic regions and thereby affords you the chance that once you develop these strong relationships with folks know who you are and know what your skills is. Generally speaking people like to work with people that they like to hang out with. Mountainsmith has a little bit of that. The people we want to work with are the same people that we want to be sitting around the campfire somewhere with drinking a beer at 10 o'clock at night. That's the kind of person that you tend to gravitate towards when you're out after hours at the Outdoor Retailer show and it's those people that, if you build those deep relationships with when an opportunity comes across their table they know that you'd be a good fit for you're gonna get a phone call. I think it's really really important is to be yourself and to make sure that those bonds that you create are lasting ones. I mean some of the friends that I've made 17-18 years ago in the outdoor industry are my best friends now and I know would have my back if an opportunity where to present itself. They could further my career. People tend to want to work together and help each other out and I think that's the great thing about our space, we are very collaborative. There definitely seems to be a bit of a insular nature to us, probably to a fault. I think a lot of folks in the outdoor industry tend to look at people that haven't worked in the outdoor space and say, I think I'm guilty of it too, you see a resume come across your desk like oh my god that guy's never worked in retail, wait a minute that girl never worked retail she can't possibly know what we do. I think the other industry has definitely opened up. 18-20 years ago if you didn't have at least some outdoor industry experience in your resume you immediately went into pile B. I think that as our industry grows up and the interconnectedness of our digital world grows up without a doubt people are starting to realize that a marketing manager from another consumer goods industry can easily segue over to the outdoor space, or a salesperson can easily segue to the outdoor space. I think anotherskillset that is really important is that skill sets are transferable across industries and building a good network of people that you would trust to throw your resume on the top of a pile is certainly an asset to you as you as you try to grow your career.

Other Outdoor Activities


Hiking, Camping

Skiing, Trail Running

Favorite Books

Contagious by Jonah Berger

Tribes by Seth Godin

Best Gear Purchase under $100

Mountainsmith Lumbar Pack

Apps, Tools, Podcasts





Connect with Jay










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