April 9, 2004
We are packing the RV today and leaving beautiful Rock Island, Tennessee and heading west. Why? Well, there is a competition circuit for one. (see my schedule attached here for the summer). I love to paddle new rivers and this year I will be introducing my kids to many new ones as paddlers instead of spectators. As a side bar we will also be bringing the new Jackson Kayak boats to you at your favorite rivers. What about Jackson Kayak you ask? Well, that is the way the company was set up.
Lorraine (Kristine’s mom) is office manager and will keep the books, ship out your DVDs, books, hats, shirts, stickers, etc. along with coordinating with Tanya Talbert (our customer service manager). Tanya’s job includes processing the dealers orders, creating work orders for her husband Brian (our production manager), keeping the dealer and customer informed, happy, and answering questions about our product. Brian will be taking the work orders from Tanya and getting the hulls made, trimmed, and prepped for assembly. He will also be making sure that all of the parts we need are in house from Rogers Foam (seat, hip pads, thigh pads, seat pan, etc.), Seal-Tec (Happy Feet Foot-bags), IR (backbands), and the fasteners, etc. Brian will then work with Will, Hal, Joe, and other assemblers to make sure the boats go together like they are supposed to. (all employees are kayakers, except for Kristine and her mom). Brian will also coordinate the shipping of the boats with Tanya. Dave Olson, our CFO, will make sure our money is flowing properly. More money in than out, that is the plan, simple but great for longevity. Tony Lunt, my partner, is there to allow us to make decisions based on long term plans, eliminating the short term issues that a start-up can have. Tony is the man!
So, as you can see- I have no place in the daily operations of the business. The Fun series is fully designed and all molds are either finished, or nearly finished. Lakeland mold and Wheeler-Boyce are getting paid their handsome sum of cash to get these molds done right. They ship the molds to our molding company where the mold shop guys get it up and running, make the trimming fixtures, the vacuum fixtures, season it, seal it, release it, and run it until we get a sweet looking, nicely molded, first quality cross-linked hull out of it. It is fun for me to be there, but not necessary. Brian will be there to get the thicknesses right on the Quality Control sheets.
So what does EJ do all summer anyway? Well, I will continue to work with David Knight to complete the All-Star design for one. Then it will be off to the creek-boat. David, Clay Wright, and I will make a full-on creeker that will be super fun to paddle on the steep stuff. We will also make a river running creekboat that can go fast, go far, handle the steep stuff nicely, and still do the overnighters in style. Along with that I will be going to Kentucky, then California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Montana, France, Washington DC, back to Oregon, the Ottawa, the Gauley, the Black River in New York, then it is Gauley season, then Rock Island games, and there I will stay (it will be October at this point). Jackson Kayak has no sales reps and we don’t advertise. What does this mean? It means that if you don’t come to my website, you won’t know anything about us unless I come to you. I will be the “National Sales Rep” while Kristine will be the National Sales Manager. Of course, each weekend there is some type of event, demo, or clinic, but during the week there will be some type of creek or river run. Cali in April- oh yea, Oregon in May!, Colorado in June, Montana in June, etc. etc.- How about 100 rivers in 2004!!! This will be the ultimate tour. No bosses telling me that it doesn’t sell boats to go here or there, instead, I just go where I please, and be the kayaker I love to be. Sales of Jackson Kayaks will come from the product selling itself. The performance, fit, weight (lack of), price, ease of rolling, and paddling are all at the top of game. I will be sure to show them off on my travels, but my travel schedule is based on the flow of rivers and of events, not a sales rep schedule.
Check out the Jackson Kayak rig for the tour. One Coachmen Mirada 1998, 30 foot RV, decked out in Jackson Kayak logos. One 2004 Mini-Cooper S, (our dingy) decked out in Jackson Kayak logos. This is for getting to the put-in and take outs of the non-4 wheel drive rivers. The 4 wheeler rivers will have Kristine driving Clay’s truck, or anybody else who wants a shuttle run and has a truck.
Well, time to get out of here! Today Brian is putting together 20 Fun 1’s for dealers- I am hand delivering some, got to go.