Industry News 3/9/2015

EMP: Industry Vet Bob Rief joins SDSI as new Executive Director

Bill Walton, NBA Hall of Famer and Executive Chairman of SD Sport Innovators (SDSI), a nonprofit business accelerator that connects and drives the growth of Southern California’s innovative sports and active lifestyle (SAL) economy, has announced Bob Rief as new SDSI Executive Director. 

“Bob Rief is the perfect addition to what we do and who we are,” says Walton. “His Hall of Fame resume, life, experience and network are exactly what we need to have our SDSI dreams come true. Thanks for your passion, purpose, mission, commitment, sacrifice and discipline. Your leadership will now guide us clearly, efficiently and succinctly to the future. Because of you Bob—that future is already right here. Thank you for shining the light.”

“The Sports and Active Lifestyle industry is expanding and SDSI has experienced a period of rapid growth in participation from the SAL businesses here in San Diego,” says John Sarkisian, SDSI Industry Chairman and founder of SKLZ.  “We are happy to attract Bob to the organization and we look forward to his leadership to accelerate our mission and expand the influence the Sport and Active Lifestyle has in our region’s economic growth.”

Rief who has been an SDSI Advisory Board member since 2009, is a 40 year SAL industry veteran most recently holding the position of CEO at OTZ shoes.  Previously, Rief was CEO at footwear brands Reef and Sanuk and held executive positions at Merrell Footwear, Nike Golf, Callaway Golf, Boardworks and C4waterman.

“I am happy to join SDSI.  It’s hard for me to admit, but I have been in the SAL business community for more than 40 years; having started at retail in Boulder and worked in ski, hiking, golf, surf and the fashion footwear business,” says Rief. “This is my chance to give back. SDSI has a variety of objectives, from creating scalable and sustainable businesses, integrating with the local investment community and providing C-level networking across the many SAL disciplines.  It's a collaborative, membership driven organization with amazing resources, so I am looking forward to playing a role in advancing the cause.”

In the role of Executive Director, Rief joins Renne Catalano, Program Director and Nick Roth, Program Manager and Partner to Executive Chairman, Bill Walton.

For more information Contact Renne Catalano Gussman at