Lynnwood, WA. – SOG® Specialty Knives and Tools has named Gerald T. (Jerry) Heinlen Chief Executive Officer. The appointment was effective as of Dec., 31, 2012.
Heinlen is a consumer products industry veteran whose career includes 25 years driving leading brands in both durables and packaged goods categories. Prior to joining SOG, he served as CEO of Yakima Products, Inc., a market leader in automotive racks and cargo management equipment, from 2006 to 2011. Before that, he served as President and COO of Waterloo Industries, manufacturer of Craftsman® and other brands of tool storage, from 2002 to 2006; and as Vice President, Marketing and Business Development at Waterloo from 1996 to 2002. Before joining Waterloo, he held various leadership roles in brand management, marketing, sales and new product development with market-leading brands including Dremel® rotary tools, Skil® power tools, and Ore-Ida® foods.
“We are very pleased to have Jerry on board as our new CEO,” said Lanse Crane, chairman of the board at SOG. “We are confident that he, along with the SOG team, will drive the business to new levels of success.”
“Having somebody with Jerry’s impressive leadership credentials taking the helm of SOG is incredibly thrilling,” said Spencer Frazer, SOG’s founder and chief technology officer. “We’ve developed a pretty special company, and look forward to Jerry bringing us to even greater heights in the future.”
Heinlen will work in SOG’s Lynnwood, Wash., corporate headquarters.
“The SOG brand has a deep and rich heritage, and the team has done an outstanding job of delivering strong products to the marketplace and expanding distribution over the past few years,” said Heinlen. “I am excited to be joining the SOG organization and look forward to pursuing new opportunities for market-driven growth, business process improvements, and organizational excellence.”
Heinlen holds a bachelor’s degree from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and an MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. He serves on the board of SylvanSport LLC and is a member of the World President’s Organization (WPO), Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), and the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). He and his wife, Pat, have two daughters.
About SOG: Taking its name from an elite Special Forces military group from the Vietnam era – the Studies and Observation Group – SOG was founded in 1986 by designer and toolmaker Spencer Frazer. SOG has gone on to produce some of the favorite models of specialty knives and tools used by the military, law enforcement, industrial tradesmen and outdoor enthusiasts worldwide. SOG’s diverse range of award-winning knives and tools are sold worldwide. For more information, visit www.sogknives.com.