Smithbaker Shifts Focus to North American Gear

Effective December 16, 2006, John Smithbaker will serve full-time as the President and CEO of North American Gear (NA Gear), an exclusive distributor of premium brands in the outdoor, hunting and fishing industries.
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Effective December 16, 2006, John Smithbaker will serve full-time as the President and CEO of North American Gear (NA Gear), an exclusive distributor of premium brands in the outdoor, hunting and fishing industries. Smithbaker, the President, CEO and board member of Brunton for the past 10 years will seperate from Brunton and its new owners and take on his next challenge: running his own company, North American Gear.

Under Smithbaker's leadership, Brunton grew into a preeminent brand in the outdoor industry. Smithbaker took Brunton from a small company known for its compass heritage and catapulted it into a diverse, top-tier company with six product categories ranging from camping, premium optics, gps, headlamps, portable solar power and other outdoor instruments. Each high-end product category is now sold around the world.

During Smithbaker's tenure, Brunton earned many prestigious awards within the industry and from the business community for product innovation, growth and brand awareness. Awards include: multiple industry honors for “Gear of the Year,” “Best of the Best,” “Editors Choice” and more. Business awards and recognition came from USA Today, the NY Museum of Modern Art, “Business of the Year Awards” and Inc. Magazine's “Companies to Watch For.” Brunton's continuous growth and expansion under the direction of Smithbaker recently landed the company into a new state-of-the-art facility and headquarters in Riverton, Wyoming.

“Brunton has been with Stanwood & Partners since 1998 and I've personally had the pleasure of working with John Smithbaker and the Brunton team for the past 5 years,” said Mike May, Account Executive with Stanwood & Partners Public Relations. “In that time I've been fortunate enough to witness first-hand the drive, focus and leadership John brings to the table and it's been a privilege to be a part of the Brunton success story.” Smithbaker comments, “The past 10 years have been a wonderful experience and achievement. I owe a debt of gratitude to all of the employees, customers and friends who partnered with us to help make this all possible.”

Smithbaker is excited to embark on this new challenge and intends to put the same effort and passion into the NA Gear as he did at Brunton. Located in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, North American Gear was established by Smithbaker in 2004, to offer premium international brands an avenue for increased distribution and marketing in the North American market. The company currently works with Primus, the storied Swedish manufacturer of camping stoves, lanterns and cookware and which touts the new ETA stove as being the most efficient on the market; and Origo, a multi-sensor watch manufacturer with compass, altimeter and other sensors ideal for the outdoor and hunting enthusiast. In its two short years, NA Gear has already seen sales revenue in the multi-million dollar levels.

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