Eric Merk

Eric Merk

Vice President Global Sales

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My professional career in the sporting goods industry started with two family businesses, both located in Portland, Oregon. My family owned and operated Danner Boots for 10 years from 1986 to 1995. I started as a sales rep covering the Northwest territory and was promoted to Assistant National Sales Manager in 1994 calling on key accounts- Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Gander Mountain, LL Bean, Orvis, Adventure 16, REI, and AAFES. We sold Danner to LaCrosse Footwear in 1995.

My family purchased InSport International in 1996. As a sales rep, I managed the Mid-Atlantic territory. I was promoted to National Sales Manager in 1997 focusing on key accounts and international sales. In 1999, my father passed away and I took over InSport as President and CEO. We sold InSport to Vital Sportswear in 2006.

I was hired by Nike in 2007 to lead their US running business in the newly formed category sales structure. Focusing on the run specialty channel, I was able to improve their running specialty footwear market share from #6 to #3 where it remains today. I was laid off in a company wide RIF in 2009.

In 2010, I began work at Columbia Sportswear. My responsibilities encompassed all of the specialty categories at Columbia. The Product Line Sales Manager role was a bridge between the product team, the sales team, and the customers. I was laid off in a company wide RIF in 2012.

Looking to make a change in my career and experience the industry outside of Portland, I accepted a role with Roxy/Quiksilver in 2012. As Vice President of Sales for the newly formed division of Roxy-Outdoor Fitness, I launched the category in the sporting goods and outdoor specialty channels.

I joined Zoot Sports in 2013 as National Sales Manager and was promoted to Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2016. After moving back to Portland so my son could finish high school, I joined OTTO DesignWorks as VP Global Sales in April, 2017.