I began my career following the traditional corporate path. I worked in a bank and earned an MBA degree, but still struggled to find meaning in my day-to-day work. While hiking in Iceland with my wife in 2002, we had the realization that it was time for a change. We flew home, quit our jobs, packed up our Subaru, and drove from Newark, Delaware to Seattle, Washington with our yellow lab Hannah and dreams of living in a community where our work and play felt more meaningful.
Despite my banking background, at heart I’m a gearhead and wanted to work with people who were passionate about being outdoors and creating tools to make the experience more fun. I was fortunate to meet Alyx, our founder, in March 2003 and we’ve been inseparable ever since. I joined True North Gear that same year and became president of the company in 2010.
We didn’t know much about being a firefighter, a lineman, or the challenges of working around fire hazards when we started. In fact, these folks came to us and asked us to create products that would work for the jobs they had to do. What we did know, from personal experience, was the challenge of working and playing outdoors, and we were smart enough to seek out experts who told us about the joys and risks of doing their jobs.
We started with three backpacks, two radio harnesses and a duffle bag. Our business and product line grew every year as we partnered and learned from more people who were passionate about gear, safety, and doing meaningful work.
Today, I carry a coin in my pocket that reads “Amor Fati” (literally love fate) on the front and “Not merely to bear what is necessary … but love it” on the back. It’s a constant reminder that life is short and I should not just accept what’s outside of my control, but love it! This mindset helps me take control of my perceptions, imbue my actions with integrity and make what seems impossible, possible.
Outside of work, I love being outdoors. I was one of those kids that went outside to play first thing Saturday morning and didn’t come home until dark. I haven’t changed much. I spend my free time in the woods or on the water. My favorite activity is trail running in the mountains. I’ve had six-month-long daily running streaks and have ran in the Cascade Mountains for over 15 consecutive hours. Trail running is what excites and grounds me.
All this running requires (or helps me justify) searching for the perfect pair of shoes. I once made the mistake of asking my wife why she bought another pair of sandals. She proceeded to walk me around that house and count my 44 pairs of running shoes. I’ve never commented on her shoe buying habits again.