Industry News 9/4/2013

EMP: Outdoor Research names Ken Meidell as President, COO

Meidell brings strong background in business strategy, structure, systems from Cascade Designs, Ernst & Young
Press Release from Outdoor Research

SEATTLE, Wash. (Sept. 4, 2013) – Outdoor Research this week hired longtime outdoor industry veteran Ken Meidell as its President and Chief Operating Officer. Meidell comes to OR after 12 years at Cascade Designs where he held a variety of posts from VP of Sales and Marketing and VP of the Outdoor Group to Chief Information Officer.

In his new role at Outdoor Research, Meidell will direct day-to-day operations, with the sales, product development, marketing, operations and finance departments reporting to him. That will allow owner and CEO Dan Nordstrom to focus on customer relationships, brand development and long-range strategy.

"I've not encountered anyone in our industry who has the depth of experience and demonstrated success in so many phases of the business as Ken," Nordstrom said. "The rapid growth of Outdoor Research combined with the changing dynamics in our industry have increased the complexity of our business substantially. We weren't actively searching, but the opportunity to add someone with Ken's unique skill set and leadership abilities was an opportunity we couldn't pass up. The fact that he's a local guy and we've known each other for a long time created a very organic process that developed gradually. We're very protective of our culture at OR so it makes a huge difference to know that Ken will be a fit."

Meidell comes from his current post as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Cascade Designs, where he focused on putting strategy, structure, tools and teams in place to support the company’s growth goals. Most recently, he helped direct strategy for growth in the European and Asian markets, and worked on a structural overhaul of the marketing department to better align marketing with business goals.

Prior to Cascade, Meidell worked in IT for Blue Martini Software and in management consulting at Ernst & Young. While at Ernst & Young, he helped install a new manufacturing software system at Cascade. He has a degree in engineering and computer science.

Meidell said the draw is a post that is well suited to his skills, along with an outstanding company culture.

“There’s a strong culture at Outdoor Research of hard work, commitment and fun going hand-in-hand to get the job done, and that’s a very appealing combination,” Meidell said. “The chance to be involved with a company that has that ethic, and that is moving forward in such a positive way, that was just too appealing to pass up.”

About Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research® is Designed by Adventure®. We provide Innovation and Inspiration for the Relentless Adventurer. Based in Seattle – with in-house manufacturing and prototyping capabilities at our company headquarters – Outdoor Research was founded in 1981 after a failed piece of gear on an Alaskan climbing expedition inspired ideas for a better design. Ever since that first product, the X-Gaiter, put Outdoor Research on the map, we have been dedicated to building better outdoor apparel, gloves, hats and an array of other outdoor accessories informed by real-world testing. We develop innovative, functional, bomb-proof products that are beautiful in their simplicity. Design abides by the maxim ‘make it better, not just new or different,’ and our gear is backed by our Infinite Guarantee®. We listen, value and empower each other and our fellow adventurers – we invite input from our customers, athlete ambassadors and the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations Test Team. We’re independent, letting us strive to provide the best value to our customers, not shareholders. We are committed to our core sports: alpinism, rock and ice climbing, hiking, backpacking, paddling, trail running, and skiing. We’re growing, as a company and as individuals. And we’re having fun along the way.