20 Years – People are Great

This week marks the 20th week of my employment at Quality Bicycle Products. 20 Freaking Years! Seriously, I can’t believe it.  I joke often that I just went to work at QBP to fool my friends and family that I had a real job and one day might be able to repay my student loans. But seriously, 20 years. Wow, what a ride it has been.

I’ve done a lot over the years. I can’t even begin to remember all the incredible experiences this job has given me but here are a few things that stand out in my mind.

Travel – I have pretty much traveled throughout the world in this job for various reasons including Japan, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Europe and all over the US.  I’ve ridden my bike in so many amazing places. I’ve toured Japan. I’ve done two trips to Alaska to ride fatbikes. I’ve gotten to see Sven race for the first time on American soil.  I’ve also lost my passport in Europe (later found) and been held at a border crossing in China in the middle of the night for passport inspection(three supervisors later, that worked out too). When I went to work at QBP, I never had any idea that this would be part of my future. The bike industry is a great way to experience the world!

Growth and education – Time and time again, I have fallen and gotten back up. I have learned from the best. I have been mentored by amazing people. I have been given chances that I do not always think I deserved. Astonished and amazed at the opportunities that have been put in front of me. Continuing to learn and change and adapt is the thing that has kept me employed.

Salsa – 10 years ago I took a job Managing Salsa Cycles. At the time, it was the most challenging of positions and looking back now, I think it was the most amazing time of my career. To be part of that special team of folks that really pushed an industry to a new position. Adventure by Bike aligned with my soul, and apparently the entire industry, as I have seen nearly every bike brand use “adventure” in their marketing. It has moved outside the bike industry as well. Huge companies are using “adventure” in their marketing position and in their social marketing.  As a camera guy, last week stood out as it was the first time I have seen Leica use “adventure” in their social channel.  Seriously, who knew?  I am thankful to be part of that movement and for bringing some incredible products to market that I think helped people experience the world in a different way. I believe that if you treat life as an adventure your life will be better.

Dreams can come true – 20+ years ago I wrote in a journal (I still have it) that “I want to own my own bike company one day.” Seriously I wrote that?!  While I certainly don’t own QBP, I have been given the opportunity to lead our brand business.  Many folks think I still work for Salsa, but in reality I manage a larger business now.  That is pretty wild and something this small town farm kid never imagined when I wrote that silly statement while bike touring from Alaska to Utah after I graduated from college. Don’t give up on your dreams. They just might come true.

People are great – In all these years, this is the most important thing that I have been reminded of over and over.  People are great and the most important thing. Sure there is a bad seed every now and then, but you know what?  People are great.  People are what has kept me doing this for now over 20 years. People are why I get up in the morning and often don’t go to sleep at night. This world is small. Regardless of age,  race and gender, people make this world what it is. I am so thankful for all the incredible people I get to work with from all over the globe. I have many people I keep in touch with throughout the world. People I met on a tour. People I met through work. People I met through the internet that love the Salsa Fargo.  Lost in the woods (like the opening picture). Tradeshows. Dinners. Races. Rides. Bike shops. Manufacturers. Film documentaries. Gatherings. Coffee shops. Events. Artists. Creatives. I could go on and on and on. No matter what and where, People are great.

I won’t go on any longer. I just can’t believe that it’s been 20 years. Here is to the next 20! Long live the bicycle. I truly am thankful for all of you.

20 years ago when I started at QBP I got this locker. I rode a lot back then. A LOT!

8 thoughts on “20 Years – People are Great

  1. Thanks Jim. You are one of those amazing individuals I wrote about here. You have made my life better and I am thankful.

  2. Jason – Congrats! I’m been following you online for many years. We actually briefly met at an InterBike one year. Your engagement with the community is outstanding. It’s great to do something that you love to do.

    1. Thank you Mark. Means a lot to me. I hope our paths cross again and hopefully it’s outside of a trade show hall!!!

  3. My dearest Franz, it has been a long, long time. It is good to see you getting stronger and not weaker. (: Seriously though, it is wonderful to read your reflections about your career. Congratulations! On my end I stsrted working at an international school in Ho Chi Minh City this year. The cycling scene is interesting and varied as you may know. Within a mile of my place there are three solid bike shops. One carries Surly, which brought you to mind of course. Over TET I went on a tour in the Mekong to refuel the soul. My current ride is a funky folder with a modified drop bar and barcon cockpit. Yours in cycling pumpitude, “Hansie”.

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