Gordon tells us about how he landed at Toad & Co, his experience there, his time at the OIA, his love for surfing and much more.
First Exposure to the Outdoors
My parents are really big into camping, first tent camping and then we got travel trailer when they got older and didn’t like the tent set up. So did a ton of camping around around the East Coast. When I was young I was in the scouts and actually was an Eagle Scout before the age of 14. It wasn’t a particularly popular thing to be but we had a great scoutmaster that just loved adventure travel and just getting out. So we would do the 50 mile afoot floats in the Adirondacks just did some really cool whitewater rafting and fun adventures. So I think those probably solidified my love for it. And then when I went to college I got in the outdoor club in college and just became a lifelong participant and enthusiasm of those activities.
Things we talked about
I think in terms of getting in I think it’s a great time. I think 10 years ago there was not a lot of young innovation or there was no obvious next generation of brands coming in and now the whole venture out section has so many new business models, new products it truly makes me feel old. And I realize OK now that full generations are adults I need to figure out exactly how they operate because they have different views maybe than I do, and in a lot of ways involved in the right way. You’ve got this young energy and I see it in companies too. I mean we are I would say at least, I’d bet you almost 50 percent but certainly 40 percent are under the age of 30. There is no lack of enthusiasm and engagement for careers in the industry. Unfortunately our industries are not like the investment banking industry or the consulting where they have these very refined and honed recruiting engines. Hacking your way into the industry is still the case.
My best advice is Be proactive. Find out about the companies you are interested in, about the areas or interests you have. Go to outdoor retailer show or reach out and talk to the folks in these businesses. And you know just make yourself known and chances are if you have skills and a passion you’re going to get an opportunity.
I think if you’re in the industry the opportunity is what I call second generation, the first generation are getting to retirement age. The second generation has learned a lot but we’re not technologically savvy. We don’t really fully understand what the direct to consumer models are and so there’s so much innovation opportunity. I think treating the opportunity to have a career in the industry with a seriousness that says this is a profession and I’m one of the best in class and I want to the best I can be and enjoy everything the industry brings you’ll go far.
I think there’s just so much opportunity. I think the industry and I continue to grow and we continue to be more relevant than ever. And I think if we get better at telling our stories and growing our audience and we get more sophisticated in terms of our fashion style quotient and our business sophistication. I think there’s a lot more opportunity for the industry to have influence across many other industries. It’s a great time to start a career in the industry.
Other Outdoor Activities
E-myth by Michael Gerber
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Barbarian Days, a Surfing Life by William Finnegan
Best Gear Purchase under $100
Fly Fishing gear
Connect with Gordon