089: Lee Fromson- a funny story about his first job in the outdoor biz and how he got into the outdoors.

March 29, 2018

Show Notes

First Exposure to the Outdoors

You know most people on your show tell you the stories of my grandfather or my father taught me how to hunt, fish etc. I grew up in Cleveland Ohio and played a lot of ball sports as a kid. The only thing my dad and I ever did together was play golf. And so really my intro to the outdoors happened starting as a freshman in college. I just fell into a bunch of folks who were really into the outdoors and we were living in southern Ohio, kind of near the Ohio Kentucky border. So we did a lot of whitewater rafting down down in West Virginia, a lot of hiking all over the place. And they’re the guys who kind of gave me the bug. Then the crazy part was the first real job I ever got was with Cascade Designs. And from there I just had an unbelievable opportunity to do all kinds of fun things in the outdoors.

Things we talked about

Cascade Designs


Goal Zero

Simms Fishing

Outdoor Retailer


National Forest Foundation

Advice, tips

I think it’s a really interesting time for young folks because I have this belief that the outdoor industry the outdoor customer has kind of this barbell thing going on right now. There’s this cool part about the baby boomers moving towards retirement and there’s nothing better than having people who fuel your industry retiring with money and time to go play. But you know that’s going to tail off over time. And it’s really the next generation coming up that’s so critical for the future of companies in this space and companies need to attract these folks. I’m a great believer that one of the best ways to be successful is to make sure that your company reflects either what your customer base is or what you’d like it to be. There’s no better way to drive business, so I think it’s really important for companies to find these folks who’ve got the passion about the outdoors and bring them in and find those spots to bring them in.

I think another part of it is to think creatively about the side doors and the back doors to get in the outdoor industry. It’s really hard coming in the front door. You know if I graduated from college and I have a degree in fashion design or something man it is hard to have a outdoor company hire you.

So to me the opportunity is through some of those side doors and back doors. There’s a way in through the nonprofit world. They there’s a way in through professional services that are servicing outdoor companies. I mean we Ken Miedell a great guy who works for me who’s now over at another brand doing a great job. He was a guy doing our big ERP implementation and who we ended up hiring then ended up coming into the company doing a great job. And you know went from from Cascade came in to our research area and then to Dakine. I mean those opportunities happened. You just got to look for those opportunities and make those connections and for somebody to be willing to say the gene pool needs to widen, let’s just not rehire all the same people over and over again.  Make your move.

I also think you and I have this interesting story where there’s been these companies that have been amazing breeding grounds for people. The A16 story, how many people came through A16 and went on to other things. Cascade Designs was  and is a great place for people to come in and then go on to other things. Those companies that will incubate people, I think they’re out there they’re still out there and that’s great place to start.

Other Outdoor Activities





Favorite Books

Read Me by Neal Stephenson

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne

Best Gear Purchase under $100

Goal Zero Flip Charger

Apps, Tools, Podcasts


Connect with Lee 


This Episode Sponsored by: https://www.kabbage.com/outdoorbiz


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