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August 22, 2006

When I was the Wavesport Brand Manager and then Director from 1999-2002 I lived in an RV and was rarely ever at the factory. I feel I did my best work that way. Some jobs can and should be done without the distraction of manufacturing, in my opinion. They include sales, marketing, brand management, PR, graphic design, website, and boat design. Our extended team members do their jobs for Jackson Kayak from home or in their respective offices away from Rock Island. These people don’t need me or anyone else standing over them. They are all self-starters, and the best at what they do. They have gravitated to Jackson Kayak with a common bond, a common way to do business and to approach life. They believe in what we are building and we believe in who they are and what they represent. Let me introduce our Extended Home Team.

Extended Home Team Members:

David Knight: David and I have been designing boats together for so long we are like family and can do anything together, knowing each others methods, moods, strengths, and weaknesses. Together we have designed over 35 boats since 1994. I have worked with him in his basement making plugs, molds, and boats, when nobody believed in what we were trying to do. I have worked with him from a distance by phone and email, as well as sitting next to him late at night while he plugs away. David is a get things done guy that has never failed the team. While not perfect, he is as close to perfect as they come, in any industry.

Dave Olson: Title: Chief Financial Officer: Role: Can do, big picture project man, friend and one of my favorite people to work with. While I don’t run Jackson Kayak by a spreadsheet or graph, I have more laughs and smiles working with Dave looking at nothing but numbers. With Dave, numbers turn into faces, faces turn into smiles, and we make the numbers so that we can achieve things for real people. Dave is somebody I trust at the highest level of the business, even if I challenge everything he comes up with and give him a hard time, most of the time.

Jeff Bennett: Ever wonder how gets so much content up on the web so fast? I have a secret weapon that goes by the name of Jeff Bennett. Jeff lives in Hawaii and is a windsurfer. My good friend Eric Sandford (doc fun), introduced me to Jeff back in 2002 and he built from scratch and every single update put up, every improvement, database, video, new look, etc. was put up by Jeff. 7 days a week he is putting up my articles, etc. as fast as I send them to him. Watch for the latest creation by Jeff, during the World Cup finals at Rock Island! Yes, set your alarm clock for Saturday, September 16th at Midnight and you’ll be glad you did.

Joe Tenison: Joe is the graphic designer that brought you the Fun Guy (based on my initial drawings on a napkin), every Jackson Kayak logo, the RV, Mini (rest its soul), Landcruiser, graphics, and both the 2004 and 2006 catalogs. Joe is the only person I trust with creating the visual of what Jackson Kayak represents. He is both a great person and somebody who will bring you more visuals that represent our company.

Lee Hart: Lee is the voice that brings Jackson Kayak into the public as our Public Relations guru. Hailing from Salida, CO, Lee and I got to know each other from FIBARK, another one of her PR projects. I don’t have time to talk to magazines, schedule photo shoots, etc.. Especially as busy as Team JK keeps me; starting off with Emily and Dane. Outside wants this photo, while Canoe and Kayak wants this article, and Cosmo Girl wants Emily to do something, etc. etc. Lee has her hands full dealing with all of the fun projects that come our way, but need a professional organizers attention. She isn’t trying to find a story to tell, but instead the story is always there and she just tries to make sure that the people interested gets the information in a timely manner. I used to do this but recognized quickly that Lee is not a luxury but a staple member of the Extended Home Team.

Paul Herschel: Senior component to Sports Unlimited out of Portland, OR, Paul is helping us become more effective philanthropists. We are only beginning our quest to make an impact on our planet and have lots of ways that we can increase our horsepower. Paul is helping by bringing the powers to be that care about our planet and making the a part of the team. Paul comes from Scotland but makes Portland his home where he was just recently married. Paul is a recent addition to the Jackson Kayak fold and his effect will be felt soon enough!

Marty Cronin: Marty Cronin has been our Colorado Ambassador since the day I announced Jackson Kayak. His commitment to the brand in a voluntary role has been a gift that can never truly be repaid. Marty finally joins our paid staff roster as of this week! What has he done so far? He has done everything from helping us write our dealer agreements, warranty, choosing the right dealers that do a great job for the customer, to demoing boats out on the front range, to making emergency trips to Rock Island to set up a second shift of production during a crunch, to holding down the fort at CKS’s Paddlefest, to being the first member of the Jackson Kayak Think Tank of Advisors.

Our Think Tank:

Marty Cronin- specialty- All things Jackson Kayak, Sales, Brand Management
Tony Rickert- specialty- All things business or law- mergers and acquisitions lawyer, and family friend (Emily’s best friend’s dad)- making what is on paper represent what we want to achieve. He is always there as an advisor.
Yvon Chouinard- Yvon is somebody who has been there and done that. He has had just about every type of success and challenge in his business and is coming out stronger than ever doing what is right for planet earth while doing the same for his customers. His advice applies very directly to our business. Such as his MBA style of management (management by absence)
John Norton- Specialty- customers, knowing them, and making them happy buy making their experiences as good as they can be. I am only just beginning to apply the advice I have been given by John and have so far to go before I would be able to say, “Look John, see what we have done.” and expect that he would be satisfied. There is so much I have to learn from him that I can’t wait to get him out to our Think Tank Retreat at Rock Island.

My partner, Tony:

Tony Lunt is the man who believed in me from day 1 and has never been anything but a part of the success of the company. His confidence is the springboard from which all of our projects stem.

All of these people are part of the team I call Team JK. I hope to create for them a place they can be proud of. No one person does it all, yet we don’t want to be without any one team member.

You, the customer: Finally- Team JK is each person who buys one of our kayaks. Each time you spend your hard earned money and choose a Jackson Kayak out of all of the options available to you, you make a statement in favor of Jackson Kayak that makes a bigger impact than anything I could ever say about the boats. Your money goes into making a better boat, into AW, into supporting the team I have written about, and fuels our fire. As we increase in horsepower, we can work harder and accomplish more. Your overwhelming support of Jackson Kayak as customers has made us who we are today and consequently, your future support of Jackson Kayak as a brand will fuel all of the projects on our list, most of which are geared towards bettering our paddling community. I am hoping that at the end of the day, my children can pick up the ball and want to carry on. Certainly I don’t have to worry about Emily and Dane wanting to do the right thing.

See you on the river!

🙂 EJ