Industry News 5/7/2009

Action Sports Execs Join Connect S.I. Advisory Board

Action Sports Execs Join Connect S.I. Advisory Board

CONNECT Sports Innovators, an accelerator program dedicated to emerging action sports, sporting goods and traditional sports companies in San Diego, announced today, the newest members to its 2009 advisory board. CONNECT Sports Innovators currently reaches out to more than 900 action, sports and active lifestyle companies; an increasingly technology-centric industry that employs between 25,000 and 35,000 San Diego residents and includes everything from surf to bike to golf gear.

Building on CONNECT's success encouraging innovation in San Diego over the past 25 years, CONNECT Sports Innovators (CONNECT S.I.) offers mentoring and assistance sourcing financing and technical and management talent to sport innovation CEOs to help elevate their business to the next level.  

"Our new board members will assist us in better understanding and serving the increasingly complex business and technology needs of this very diverse category.  That's going to be critical as we work to help this important industry survive the major economic downturn, cuts in consumer spending and constrained credit markets.  CONNECT S.I. is here to make sure sport innovators don¡'t have to go it alone anymore¨ said Marco Thompson, Chair of CONNECT S.I. and managing director of Express Ventures.

The newest members of CONNECT S.I.'s 2009 Advisory Board include: John Sarkisian, CEO, SKLZ, the flagship brand of Pro Performance Sports, LLC; Mark Schmid, Founder/CEO, Form Function Technologies and former owner/founder, Syndrome Distribution and Pro Skate Products; Bob Rief, COO, C4 Waterman and Boardworks Surf and former CEO of Sanuk and Reef; Michael Brower, General Manager & CFO, PowerMetal Technologies, Inc. and former CFO, Orange 21 (owner of Spy Optic); Brian Enge, CEO, Zoot Sports (recently acquired by K2); and Tony Finn, Founder, LiquidForce and inventor of the wakeboard.

"The sports and active lifestyle industry is comprised of everything from skate to surf to golf to motocross.  Increasingly action and sport CEOs are grappling with new composite materials, Bluetooth technology, incorporation of cleaner, greener components, offshore manufacturing issues, electronics, software and more.  CONNECT S.I. is here to help early and growth stage companies deal with convergence, licensing, patents and outsourcing, engineering when they need help the most.  That's going to be crucial to the continued competitiveness and growth of the industry in our region¨ said Richard Kintz, Managing Partner of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, CONNECT S.I.'s founding sponsor and a member of the firm's Sports Industry Team.

CONNECT S.I.'s founding advisory board includes:

Ludo Boinnard, Founder and former President CEO, ONE Industries; CEO, MXInc; International Off-road Motocross Rally Racer
Dana Shertz, former COO/Partner, EnDev Enterprises LLP; former President/COO, MacGregor Golf; former VP Sales, Callaway Golf
Marco Thompson, Founder, CONNECT S.I.; Managing Director, Express Ventures; Advisor, American Wave Machines; Partner, The Push Games

Advisory Board:
Richard Kintz, Managing Partner, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton (Firm represents Reef, Rusty, One Industries, Hurley and TaylorMade Golf)
Camille Sobrian, Co-founder, CONNECT S.I. and COO, CONNECT; former SVP, matthews/mark (Ad agency clients included Callaway Golf, Odyssey Putters, Lamkin Golf Grips and EPIC by Nextec)
Jim Stroesser, CEO, Dirtbag Music & Clothing; former CEO & President, Pony; former GM, Quiksilver; former Co-Owner, Converse; former GM, Oakley; former General Merchandise Manager, Nike
Peter (PT) Townend, CEO, The ActivEmpire, former SIMA President; former Head Coach, USA Surf Team; former Publisher, Primedia Surf Group; First World Champion of Professional Surfing (1976)