Photo by Matt Stensland
Mark Satkiewicz swims laps at the Old Town Hot Springs pool.
Friday, September 10, 2010
For some SmartWool employees it will be one of the greatest athletic achievements of their lives. For the “Little Guy” embroidered on their socks, the 360-mile bike ride to Utah is just another leg in a 16-year journey as the icon for the Steamboat Springs merino wool apparel company. Read more here.
Steamboat Springs In a quest to meet his goal of biking to work 200 days this year, Mark Satkiewicz often could be found blazing down Fish Creek Falls Road in February on his bike wearing a snowboard helmet and goggles.
When other people still were heading to work, Satkiewicz likely already had finished one of his favorite rides, a 55-mile loop taking him from Steamboat Springs to Oak Creek and back. Swimming and running help round out the 15 hours of training each week that would allow him to complete an Ironman triathlon today. To add to life’s challenges, Satkiewicz travels an average of two weeks a month as president of Steamboat Springs-based SmartWool.
But even when logging an average of 250 miles on his bike during the summer months, “family is his No. 1 priority,” said his wife, Amy, with whom he has two children.
Satkiewicz admits that most would think his standards “are not normal,” but it’s how he leads by example.
“Our company is so aligned with that aspiration,” said Satkiewicz, 41. “Get outside, enjoy life, have a career, enjoy everything.”
Satkiewicz doesn’t regret trading in his bag of Nike shoes to go to work for a sock company.
After receiving his master’s of business administration from Loyola University Chicago, a 12-year career in sales at Nike took him to five cities — primarily flat ones. He found himself running up any mound of dirt he could find, imagining he was on a mountain trail similar to the ones he enjoyed during a stint in Sun Valley, Idaho.
He spent nearly 15 years trying to figure out how to return to the mountains. Former SmartWool President Chip Coe provided the opportunity by hiring him as vice president of sales in June 2006. Satkiewicz became president three years later.
“He’s a terrific athlete, he’s a super hard worker, he’s smart, a good family man, he absolutely loves the outdoors,” Coe said. “We were lucky to get him, and he was lucky to get us.”