Outdoor: Movin' & Shakin' – Confluence Watersports moving to Greenville, S.C.; plus new hires at Moving Comfort, Salomon, Arc’teryx, Oboz, Black Diamond, and more…

The latest people and company announcements in the outdoor industry: Confluence Watersports moving to Greenville, S.C.; plus new hires at Moving Comfort, Salomon, Arc’teryx, Oboz, Black Diamond, Scarpa, the American Alpine Club, Light and Motion, Icebreaker, and more…
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Confluence Watersports is relocating its headquarters to a 300,000-square-foot building in Greenville, S.C. in conjunction with a company growth plan.

The move to from Easley S.C. to Greenville will be a short one – just 10 miles – and is scheduled to occur in stages between September and December 2011. The new single new location at 575 Mauldin Road will combine the company’s workforce and operations, currently located in four separate buildings.

“It was important for us to consolidate our teams and operations into one building while at the same time providing for expansion,” Confluence Watersports President and CEO Sue Rechner said in a statement. ”The proximity of the new Greenville facility allows us to retain our workforce and gain efficiencies across the organization that will translate back into investments to strengthen our brands for all of our customers.”

In a press release, Confluence officials said they will invest more than $13 million to support the company expansion, which is expected to generate 72 new jobs during the next five years. The company currently employs 425 people.

Confluence officials said they signed a "long-term lease that provides the company a lot of flexibility for expansion." The building is owned by Cleveland-based commercial real estate firm Weston Inc., which bought the building in Oct. 2008 for $6 million from Hitachi, which vacated the space in 2006.

Helping Confluence with the deal were the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the Upstate South Carolina Alliance, the Greenville Area Development Corporation, and the City of Greenville Economic Development Department. Local newspapers reported the county approved a fee-in-lieu of taxes deal for Confluence and the state provided a $100,000 grant, tax credits and training money.

Founded in 1998, Confluence manufactures canoes, kayaks and accessories under the Wilderness Systems, Perception, Dagger, and Wave Sport, Mad River Canoe, Adventure Technology, Bomber Gear and Harmony brands.

Company officials said retail partners won’t experience any inconveniences or business disruptions through the moving process. Inventory has been increased and manufacturing will continuously occur at both facilities throughout the move.

People

  • Seattle, Wash.-based Moving Comfort, (www.movingcomfort.com) has named Laura Savery as technical bra design manager. She will manage the company’s sports bra design and development and ensure the team continues to drive innovation. Savery is a graduate De Montfort University in Leicester, United Kingdom, and was most recently a senior lecturer at the school teaching technical training courses in areas of design, pattern cutting, grading and manufacture technique.
  • Summit Sports, Inc., (www.summitonline.com), a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based outdoor and sports brick and mortar and online retailer has promoted three of its members. Scott Touchette is the retailer’s new director of technology, in charge of IT, previously serving as product placement manager. Jenna Rickard is now director of web content, coordinating and producing product listings and web content for the company’s more than 15 e-commerce websites. She was previously product placement marketing manager. And Courtney Voorheis was promoted from manager to director of customer relationship management.
  • The Trailhead and Trailhead Cycle & Ski (www.thetrailheadco.com) retail shops in Buena Vista, Colo., has hired Cat Gruener-Goss as general manager. She will lead, direct and supervise all elements of day-to-day operations and assist in strategic and mid-range planning for the outdoor specialty retailer, which celebrates its 40th year as a business in 2012. Gruener-Gross most recently served as a senior instructor at Barnett Bicycle Institute in Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Aspen, Colo.-based Sport Obermeyer (www.obermeyer.com) has hired Michelle Hollingsworth as the brand’s new design lead. She will manage the company's overall design process and will work with the product team to fill and expand upon the ideas required to complete the company's seasonal line plan. Hollingsworth previously designed for Eddie Bauer and Pacific Trail, and has worked with Obermeyer off and on since 1990.
  • Salomon Sports (www.salomon.com) named Jim Howard as its new vice president of Salomon Apparel USA in Ogden, Utah. He is responsible for developing the annual sales plans and budget, market analysis, account forecasts and sales goals as well as long-term objectives for the future growth of the business. Howard previously held senior leadership roles at New Balance, Adidas and Nike, and most recently served as head of the men’s go-to-market for Reebok.
  • In completing the move of the Isis brand (www.isisforwomen.com) from Burlington, Vt. to Boulder, Colo., parent company American Rec hired Kelly Gorder as its new brand vice president for Isis. She previously worked with SmartWool as product and merchandise manager and director of sales.
  • Arc’teryx (www.arcteryx.com) promoted two of its sales team members to new national sales managers for North America. Brandon Carlile in Salt Lake City will manage U.S. accounts and Ryan Letchford in Squamish, British Columbia will manage Canadian accounts. Both will oversee the company’s North American sales team.
  • Light and Motion (www.lightandmotion.com) in Monterey, Calif., has hired Jack Gresmer as the company’s new director of sales for its bike division. He previously held director and vice president sales positions at Currie Technologies, NiteRider, DK Products and Brunswick Bicycle Division.
  • Oboz Footwear (www.obozfootwear.com) welcomed Sharon Gauding to the company in the newly created role of vice president of sales and marketing. She will be responsible for the sales process and aligning Oboz marketing and product strategies to support company growth. Gauding previously was the men’s footwear buyer for REI.
  • Black Diamond Equipment (www.blackdiamondequipment.com) in Salt Lake City announced several new hires and promotions. Bob Jones joins the company in the newly created position of DTC sales director, overseeing all non-wholesale sales, which include mail orders, pro purchases and the retail store. He previously served as senior manager of web merchandising at Orvis. Linda Karz, will serve as the new Black Diamond retail store manager in Salt Lake City. She previously worked with White Pine Nordic Center and White Pine Touring. Black Diamond hired Laura Fryer as director of marketing, who previously worked as marketing manager at La Sportiva. And Saskia Stock joined the company’s European office as marketing director for Europe, previously working as managing director of Somnio Europe. Black Diamond promoted Brad Barlage to climbing line sales manager, Ryan Gellert to vice president, supply chain and Rosalie Mark to vice president, human resources.
  • Chaco (www.chacos.com) in Rockford, Mich., has added Todd Gordon as director of sales and Colin Butts as marketing manager to help drive company growth. Gordon previously was the director of sales for Timberland Pro and a regional sales manager for Fila. Butts previously was associate brand manager at The Laughing Cow brand.
  • Skirt Sports (www.skirtsports.com) in Boulder, Colo. has hired Leanne Hand as its vice president of marketing. She will oversee and direct all aspects of the brand’s global positioning. Hand previously worked with Dunlop-Slazenger, Russell Athletic and Moving Comfort, along with 20 years of marketing agency experience with clients such as Walt Disney, British Airways and AT&T.
  • The American Alpine Club (americanalpineclub.org) in Golden, Colo., has filled several positions to extend and improve the organization’s climbing communities nationwide. John Bragg was named community programs director and Sarah Garlick was named Northeast regional coordinator. They join Pacific Northwest regional coordinator Eddie Espinosa in delivering more club programs locally—through more social gatherings, advocacy for local crags, initiatives such as mentorship and skills education, and conservation work, all identified by local climbers and supported by AAC grant funding. Also new to the organization is a beta version of the AAC Guidebook Finder, a free online service to browse guidebooks and find climbing locations across the United States.
  • Lakewood, Colo.-based Choose Outdoors (www.chooseoutdoors.org), a nonprofit advocating stewardship of public lands through outdoor recreation, elected its new board members, including Elizabeth Simon, a sales engineer with Rogers Corp., as its new board chairwoman, Kenji Haroutunian, vice president of Nielsen Expositions, and Cam Brensinger, president of Nemo Equipment. Newly elected honorary board include Royal Robbins; Larry Burke, founder of Outside Magazine; Skip Yowell, founder of Jansport; Brook Shinsky, outdoor participation and community development manager at The North Face; Dale Robertson, former USDA Forest Service chief; and Philippe Dunoyer former CEO of Total Petroleum North America and Trustee Emeritus Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
  • The Brunton Outdoor Group (www.bruntongroup.com) in Riverton, Wyo., has hired Joel Bell as its new national sales manager for specialty markets in the United States and Canada. Bell will be charged with supplying support and service to independent and specialty retailers while overseeing company’s distribution channels of its Brunton and Primus outdoor products.
  • Scarpa North America (www.scarpa.com) in Boulder, Colo., has hired Colleen Nipkow as its new marketing manager. She will oversee the Italian footwear brand’s North American marketing department, leading strategic planning, budget and all aspects of marketing communication from web, advertising, public-relations and social media to events, athletes, marketing collateral and packaging. Nipkow previously spent 20 years at Black Diamond, including the past decade as marketing manager. She also previously worked with Scarpa when Black Diamond distributed the brand in North America prior to 2005.
  • Icebreaker (www.icebreaker.com) added Peter MacDonald onto its Canadian sales team. MacDonald’s agency, Soda Sales & Marketing, will represent Icebreaker in the Atlantic region of Canada, which includes New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.


Contracts

  • Teko Socks (www.tekosocks.com) has contracted Brian Erickson to be its new sales rep for the Alaskan market. He currently represents Atomic Nordic, Swix and Baladeo. 
  • Hill & Partners (www.hillpartners.com) designed and managed six separate client booths at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2011. The exhibit company created and supervised the booths for Polartec, Montrail, Samsonite, Celliant, Sigg and Unifi. Nine members of the Hill & Partners team traveled to Salt Lake City to help service the booths.
  • Finland-based Footbalance (www.footbalance.com) has partnered its North American brand manager Michael Lumpkin in San Diego, Calf., with independent sales teams Über Group and FHB Sales Agency to bring brand knowledge and technical orientation in selling to specialty retail shops.

--Compiled by David Clucas and Ana Trujillo

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