When I first met Ron Gregg at a trade show in Las Vegas I thought he had to be a professional gambler who'd lost his way to a high stakes poker game. It was his just-this-side-of-"Saturday Night Fever" polyester pants and shirt, his haircut, his "Fonzi-all-grown-up" look. I swore there had to be a bright red Firebird with its engine idling and a gorgeous blonde in the passenger's seat parked outside the convention center with his name on it.
That evening I ran into Ron again at an industry party. I marveled once more at his look and even more so on how and he simply cut it up on the dance floor. It was then I knew Ron Gregg wasn't your typical outdoor company leader.
Ron could talk tech with the best of them, could jump from one conversation or stream of ideas to something completely different without losing a beat. He had a completely clear vision of where he was going and what he wanted to do. And besides making great gear, Ron wanted to climb, ski, kayak and be out there doing it.
One of our many conversations about skiing and winter camping led to my bemoaning the fact that there were no good mukluks on the market. Ron had a pair made and sent them along. I loved them and wrote a glowing review in SNEWS. Ron called me after reading the review. "And you think I'm a technoweenie, " he said laughing, "I never knew mukluks could arouse such passion."
Ron was passionate about his life and business and the most involved company leader in the industry. I remember the days when Outdoor Research was in its infancy and Ron would bring the management team down to Bend for a few days of skiing and one big party at some local eatery. I was always included in the proceedings and the feeling I got from being with that group was much like that I'd had in my early days in the outdoor business. Ron was true to so many of the principles that had made the outdoor industry so unique and wonderful-make great product, be involved the pursuits you make products for and, moreover, have fun.
What you saw is what you got with Ron. There was never a hint of artifice about the man. He will long be remembered as a true maverick, that rare one-of-a-kind person who enriched many lives. -- Bob Woodward (Bend, Oregon)