VF Corporation recently announced Roger Spatz as it’s the new president for Eagle Creek. Spatz became part of the outdoor industry when he took over Eagle Creek as interim president in July 2011 and is excited to take Eagle Creek to the next level – expanding it beyond the adventure and travel markets. SNEWS chats with Spatz about his goals for the future and what he loves about working in the industry.
What are some of your goals to accomplish within the next year?
Build on great product, and create a broader voice in the travel market. As a brand, Eagle Creek has a rich heritage rooted in the outdoor and adventure travel markets. We want to be very clear about this position but elevate our message to a broader market that values the problems we solve when travelling. Product comes first and we are delivering some new and exciting features within our core luggage and accessories business.
How has your background prepared you for this position?
I served as CFO of Eagle Creek for the past 4.5 years. During this time I had the opportunity to work with the founders of the brand as well as report back to VF. In many ways this perspective creates a bridge that leverages the legacy of the brand with the operational prowess of VF.
What is it that makes Eagle Creek different from other travel outfitters?
We think about our brand in a simple way, "We are for travelers.” In doing so, we look at providing solutions to make a person's transition from one place to another as easy as possible. This is where our Travel System concept comes into play. We are much more than luggage or accessories business as a result.
How did you first come to work in the outdoor industry?
My work within the outdoor industry started when I came to Eagle Creek. However, I have always been an outdoor enthusiast since my early days as a Boy Scout. Travel has also been a passion, and I am fortunate to be with a brand that is rooted in both areas.
What is your favorite thing about working in the outdoor industry?
It is easy to see that people within the industry are passionate about what they do. They live the lifestyle. How is that not fun?
What would you say are some of the challenges facing the outdoor industry and how can we overcome them?
We have a big challenge making sure our youth are engaged in the outdoors. There are so many distractions that consume the attention of our youth in the digital age. I really think that as an industry, we need to paint a clearer picture of how the outdoors can get you away from all chaos of the day. We certainly see travel as being a tremendous way to decompress and yet learn about a broader world around us.
--Compiled by Ana Trujillo