“I think a crisis like this can make you feel incredibly out of control. Things are just happening to your business and you just can’t do anything about it. And so I think on the very smallest level, it’s given us some sense of purpose in this very strange time and some sense of control over a situation that is incredibly out of our control.”
– Lyndi Bell
This episode is the second installment following the panel I led for Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and the Snowsports Industries of America (SIA) focusing on manufacturers pivoting to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The full webinar took place on April 13th with leaders from Outdoor Research, Chaco, DPS Skis, and the Office of Outdoor Recreation for the State of North Carolina.
Lyndi Bell, Chaco’s Consumer Experience Marketing Director, is the first interview in this double-header show. It’s so inspiring to hear Lyndi talk through the process and journey she and her team at Chaco took to shift production from sandals to sewing face masks. With a focus on masks that could be more widely distributed to organizations other than hospitals, they were able to open the way for the essential healthcare workers to utilize the N95 masks. She and the team at Chaco found purpose in the chaos when the COVID-19 spread was just beginning in the US and was able to pivot their production, internal team and even their mobile factory, a converted school bus, into a PPE manufacturing facility.
Alex Adema, President and CEO of DPS Skis, joins me for the second half of the show. The story of how DPS connected with three other outdoor recreation brands in Salt Lake City is nothing short of heartening and inspiring. DPS Skis, Petzl, Goal Zero and Eastman Manufacturing together pivoted through nimble collaboration. Petzl’s headlamp straps, Goal Zero’s financial support and raw materials and machinery from Eastman propelled the DPS Ski manufacturing facility pivot forward. The four companies collectively experienced strong morale boost that continues as the commitment to PPE grows.
The third and final installment of this special Channel Mastery podcast series, which is part of the COVID-19 content continually being produced by Verde Brand Communications, showcases the companies and organizations featured on the April 14, 2020 OIA and SIA panel on a deeper level. The final episode is one of the best, and features Jason Duncan on Outdoor Research. You’ll be blown away by the level of commitment and resilience displayed daily by the Outdoor Research team. Subscribe to the Channel Mastery podcast today, and never miss an episode!
NOTE: This Channel Mastery episode offers two interviews that initially aired on Facebook Live on Thursday, April 17, 2020.
Residing in Grand Rapids, Lyndi Bell found her love for the outdoors along the sandy shorelines and thick forests of Michigan. Lyndi was part of the #chaconation long before joining the brand‘s marketing team 3 years ago. At Chaco, she has had the opportunity to lead a number of programs including retail marketing and visual merchandising, partner collaborations, and key account management. This past year, her role has primarily been focused on experiential marketing which included converting a school bus into a mobile repair factory for the brand, similar to the larger ReChaco facility in Michigan. It likewise, also included the unexpected opportunity to pivot when it became clear experience marketing in 2020 would look very different than originally planned due to Covid-19.
Alex Adema is the CEO of DPS Skis, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Before joining DPS Skis in 2015, Alex’s background consisted of distinctly varied and unique experiences in both, large corporate and entrepreneurial start-up organizations. This began with a decade of experience in the financial services industry before making an unorthodox shift to focus on founding two non-profit community oriented startup organizations. After these successful launches, Alex transitioned to managing a venture development organization in upstate New York. Alex earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics & Business from Colorado College, an Executive MBA from The University of Buffalo (SUNY), and the Lean Operations Executive Education Management Certificate from the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business in 2019.
Pivoting to produce PPE, Face Shields, Face Masks, Outdoor Community
“I think a crisis like this can make you feel incredibly out of control. Things are just happening to your business and you just can’t do anything about it. And so I think on the very smallest level, it’s given us some sense of purpose in this very strange time and some sense of control over a situation that is incredibly out of our control.” – Lyndi Bell
“And I think something to remember is that not only do our hospital workers need additional masks, but for every mask we can provide for another essential worker, so the people working in food service, the grocery stores, we donated a lot of our supply this week to homeless shelters. There was a huge need there and they were just not getting any. Those are masks that are then, the N95 level masks are being freed up for the hospitals.” – Lyndi Bell
“And so we started thinking, even though I’d never even heard of an N95 mask, we started wondering, now that we’re seeing this in the media, is this something we could do? Could we cut fabric for somebody further along the supply chain and just help in the process? And as we dug into that, we realized it just really wasn’t feasible….And then at some point during these conversations, one or a couple of our engineers had the idea that we could use our Eastman cutting machine to actually cut the plastic for those protective face shields.” – Alex Adema
“…It was a pretty remarkable thing to see. And maybe it was me nagging and pushing on the possibility of doing PPE for a little bit. But once everybody sort of caught fire with it, they just ran right by me and the energy was awesome…The morale has been worth its weight in gold for us as a team. As we watch other companies kind of suffer during this time, we almost feel guilty in a way for having found a way to keep employees working and keep morale high in this time that’s so anxious for everybody.” – Alex Adema
“…Whether it’s getting the Petzl headlamp bands in from France or whatever with their logistics team, or dealing with Goal Zero and some of their communications, the camaraderie that exists between the brands is really special as well, because again, everybody just knows that individually, even as individual companies, we couldn’t do what we’re doing right now. But together we are.” – Alex Adema