Outdoor: Did you hear?...

Patagonia named "best" company to work for, Backpacker editor to appear on Today Show camping segment, new European paddlesports show to debut, Descente North America relocating headquarters, plus much more....
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>> Patagonia has been named one of the top 50 Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America. The list was made public on June 28 before 12,000 human resource (HR) professionals at the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 56th Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans. Patagonia ranked 14th out of the 25 medium-sized companies included on the list. This year marks the launch of the award list, which ranks the top 25 small and top 25 medium companies in America that have used progressive management strategies to develop mutual respect and trust between employees and management. The organizations, ranging in size from 50 to 999 employees, were announced by SHRM and selected and ranked by the Great Place to Work® Institute (GPTWI), based on the results of a randomly distributed employee opinion survey. Each evaluated company was given a score based on employees’ responses to a detailed questionnaire about the organizations’ workplace cultures. The winning organizations will appear in the July issue of HR Magazine, the Society’s flagship publication, available at www.shrm.org/hrmagazine and also listed on the GPTWI website at www.greatplacetowork.com.

>> Not often you'll ever see a full-blown campsite set up legally in Rockefeller Plaza in downtown New York City, but you will during the Today Show on Wednesday, June 30. Jon Dorn, Backpacker's executive editor and his two daughters, Hadley (age 8) and Abigail (age 5) will be showcasing a segment on where to take the family camping this summer and what gear to bring. Dorn's segment is scheduled for the 8 a.m. hour and, though not confirmed, it is likely Matt Lauer will be the segment host. While Dorn wouldn't let on what brands he'll be showcasing, he did allow that the set is packed with camping gear. "We will have some gourmet camp cooking accessories that will not surprise outdoor industry folk much, but it will surprise most of the general public," Dorn told us. "We really want to show that not only can you find great places to be but you don't have to leave your favorite dinner, coffee or desert behind when going."

>> GERMANY -- If you're attending the ispo summer show July 4-6 in Munich, Germany, be sure not to miss a conference about emerging European markets due to the expansion of the European Union. The speakers will discuss the potential for opportunities for the sporting goods industry. It will take place July 4, and all exhibitors, retailers and other industry members are invited to attend the English presentation from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The results of a study of the sporting goods markets in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia will also be presented.

>> As the Tour gets ready to kick off this coming weekend, on July 3, Nike has stepped up and donated $1 million to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to helping young people with cancer embrace Lance's motto, Live Strong. As a further tribute to Lance, Nike launched the Wear Yellow Live Strong campaign in an effort to raise $5 million for Lance's foundation through the sale of yellow wristbands engraved with Live Strong. The Live Strong Yellow Wristbands went on sale beginning May 17th for $1 each at www.wearyellow.com and Niketown locations. Nate Tobeckson, a Nike communications manager, told SNEWS® that sales have been brisk, and Nike expects to hit the $5 million goal by the end of July.

>> The Access Fund has announced the non-profit's annual dinner, being held Sept. 23, 2004, at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco's Presidio. The Access Fund relies heavily on funds raised from the dinner and trusts that mingling with the likes of Allen Steck, Hans Florine, Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden, as well as Access Fund board members, staff and friends is a sufficient enough enticement to pack the house. Proceeds from the $25O-per-plate dinner will go toward the Access Fund's mission to preserve access, continue active stewardship in climbing areas across the United States, and provide grants to local climbing organizations. For more information contact Michael Lindsey at Michael@accessfund.org.

>> GERMANY -- A new European paddlesports show will debut this year in September, called the "Kanumesse" (Canoe Show). It will be Sept. 23-26 in Rosenheim, which is south of Munich on the way to Salzburg. Organizers found that paddling exhibits as a part of either the ispo show or the OutDoor show were never a success – partly since the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen was during their summer high season. The show is in fact already sold out, according to the website, www.kanumesse.de. Werner Paddles has said it will be there and is excited about a paddle-focused show. "The new Kanumesse show in Germany is a great opportunity now that the Euro paddlesports market has its own show," Kelly Stone, Werner marketing director, told SNEWS®. "The timing is right for both dealers and manufacturers. This is the first time Werner will directly exhibit in Europe, and we're very excited about our growth potential throughout that market." Running at the same time nearby will be the Kanumesse Prijon and the Confluence meeting for European distributors and dealers, with shuttles transporting attendees to and from both. In addition, Klepper Folding Kayaks will also exhibit at their nearby factory. Information is available from Horst@kanumesse.de or arnd@kanumesse.de. Additional exhibitor information in English is available by clicking here. Check out the list of exhibitors by clicking here. Germany-based Paddler insiders have told SNEWS® that the show makes a lot of sense, but whether the segment is large enough to successfully pull off its own is yet to be seen.

>> REI has announced plans to open a store in Pittsburgh, Pa., in September 2005 -- right in Dick's Sporting Goods backyard. A lease has been signed with the Soffer Organization for a 27,000-square-foot store in the Southside Works, located on Pittsburgh's south side on the Monongahela River. Southside Works is a 34-acre, urban mixed-use, brownfield redevelopment. The REI store will employ approximately 70 full-time and part-time staff. The two-story retail store will feature a free-standing climbing pinnacle, as well as an interactive shopping environment, including a camp stove demonstration area, water filter testing station, hiking boot test trail, bicycle and ski/snowboard repair shop, as well as space to climb into tents and heft backpacks. A gear rental department will also be offered to encourage customers to try new outdoor activities. For more information on Southside works, visit the Soffer website: www.sofferorganization.com/sub%20pages/SSWretail.html.

>> Salomon Snowboards has re-located its International Snowboard Sports Marketing management from Annecy, France, to Salomon's North American offices in Portland, Ore. Salomon indicated that it made the move to "better facilitate sports marketing initiatives and maximize impact with grassroots actions, athlete management, events and partnerships."

>> Descente North America is relocating the company's North American headquarters from Englewood, Colo., to Ogden, Utah. The search for a new location began in 2003, after Descente management recognized the need for the company to be closer to venues that fuel its existence -- ski areas. An internal search committee investigated several locations in the western United States before deciding on downtown Ogden. The committee based its decision on Utah's favorable economic conditions and excellent quality of life as well as Ogden's close proximity to various world-class ski resorts. Customers should experience no interruption in service and shipments during the relocation, which is scheduled for November 2004. New contact information for the American office will be made closer to the actual move.

>> Petzl has hired Eric Wynn as the company's Communications Manager. In his new position, Wynn will be responsible for public relations, copywriting, translating and providing web content. He will work closely with headquarters in France to help ensure that Petzl communicates its message clearly and cohesively. Wynn joins Petzl after spending two years in Paris working as a financial journalist for newswire and television media. He has been climbing for the past 15 years and has seven years of outdoor retail experience.

>> Outdoor Research has hired Louis-Julien Roy as the company's sales representative for Saskatchewan, Alberta and Eastern British Columbia (Columbia -- Kootenays). Roy is a certified ACMG climbing guide, an international competitive ice and mixed climber, and an established rep for Kayland, Simond, Stonewear Designs, Flashed, Edelweiss-Ropes and Triop -- we could go on with the accolades but his website covers it much more succinctly -- www.mountainx.ca.

>> Kamik, a division of Genfoot America, has hired Peter Baker as the vice president of global marketing. Prior to joining Kamik, Baker served as the senior director, global brand management for the Timberland Company. At Kamik, Baker will oversee the brand’s effort to expand its reach within the core outdoor segment and more mainstream channels of distribution for all of Kamik’s business segments, including men’s, women’s and children’s. According to the Kamik release, while at Timberland Baker was responsible for all brand and external business development activities for Timberland around the world, including positioning, sub-branding, consumer segmentation, external partner negotiation, communication strategies and platform development.

>> Asolo USA has named Mike Fisher as the company's sales rep for the Northeast territory (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut). Fisher also reps for Lowe Alpine (owned by Asolo). Fisher can be reached by email at: mfisher@vermontel.net.

>> A new rep agency, named The Great Lakes Outdoor Group has been formed via the merger of veteran sales reps, Chris Rounds of Specialty Sport Reps, Greg Larson of Larson Outdoors, and Scott Parr of Great Lakes Sport Group. The new main office is located in Holland, Michigan, and will be managed by Stephen Wilkinson. Brent Anslinger, who spent the last 2 years in marketing at Backpacker magazine has also joined the team as an agency rep. GLOG (interesting acronym) represents the Watermark brands (Yakima, Perception, Dagger, Harmony), CamelBak, Timex, Princeton Tec, Osprey, Katadyn, Clif Bar, Garmont, Bridgedale and Brunton.

>> GERMANY -- ispo show management has named Martin Koessler as an ispo senior associate to open a so-called "ispo competence center" in Sweden, with a goal to develop the Northern European and Scandinavian markets. Koessler, 39, will start July 1. He initiated and founded the Scandinavian Outdoor Group (SOG) and will continue to serve on its board. In addition, he has been ski and outdoor accounts manager for Gore-Tex in Scandinavia and export manager for Hagloefs, where he was responsible for the launch of the company outside of Scandinavia. The new ispo Competence Center Scandinavia will be in Goeteborg, Sweden. Contact Koessler at mkossler@scandinavianoutdoors.com.

>> GERMANY -- Vaude has named Kenneth Kurtzweg, 38, as its new brand manager, apparel. The former Jack Wolfskin director of marketing for apparel will begin his new role on Aug. 1.

>> Action Optics polarized sunglasses (www.actionoptics.com), has hired Shelley Thornton as the company's sales and marketing coordinator.

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