5 Minutes With … New Smartwool President Travis Campbell
November 18, 2017
New Smartwool president Travis Campbell, 45, who took the reins of the Steamboat-based merino apparel company last spring, is fresh to town with his wife, Jenny, and children Samantha, 13, and Cole, 11. While he comes from the fly-fishing industry (don't be surprised to see him casting into the Yampa), he's excited to bring his angling experience to the apparel sector and even more excited to call Steamboat home. We caught with him for his take on moving to town.
In His Own Words
For the last 16 years I worked in Bainbridge, Washington, for a collection of fly-fishing brands — including Sage, Redington and RIO Products — called Far Bank Enterprises, and was the president and CEO for the last eight years. I also chair the board for the Outdoor Industry Association.
We first visited Steamboat in 1995, when Jenny was in graduate school in Denver and we visited one of her college friends. We also spent the week before our wedding and our tenth anniversary here as well, so Steamboat has a special place in our lives. We used to joke that if we could ever figure out how to work here we'd move here. It’s amazing it came true.
Steamboat has incredible access to outdoor activities, all the amenities of a resort town, a healthy business sector outside of the resort, and a vibrant and engaged local community. It’s an amazing combination for a small, remote town.
We’re an outdoor family. The hardest part about living here seems to be choosing what to do on any given weekend — that and figuring out how to store all our gear.
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I was equally excited for both moving here and working for Smartwool, which is an amazing company with great employees and culture. A company is strongest when its employees' values mirror its customers', and being based in Steamboat allows our employees to do just that. It helps us build better products and better connect with our customers.
Fly-fishing and Smartwool are part of the broader outdoor industry; we each serve a similarly passionate outdoor consumer, and we even sell our products in overlapping retailers. While my last company was mostly hardgoods and Smartwool is softgoods, I hope my leadership experience transcends a given product category.
Smartwool is a leader in the outdoor industry and I appreciate the voice and responsibility that gives us in the market. I love that we can be a platform for proving you can run a professional, profitable business while making a positive impact on the world.
I love all the seasons here, but if I had to choose one it'd be fall. I love the cool mornings and warm days, the slightly quieter feel of town, and the color change on the hills. It’s an amazing time to be standing in the river or rambling through the mountains.
I love skiing Triangle Trees and mountain biking Emerald. Given my age I probably shouldn’t, but I love bombing down NPR. As for the fishing here, I love it — but like any good fisherman, I can’t divulge my favorite hole.
This story originally ran in Steamboat Living magazine.