Industry Profile: 686 Shipping/IT Manager Dave Richards

01 Jul, 2008

Industry Profile:
686 Shipping/IT Manager Dave Richards 


Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself

Dave: My name is Dave Richards, I am 29 and I was born in Washington state. I moved to socal at the age of 5 and grew up in Torrance, CA. In high school, my passion for board sports has started. I started skating and surfing, which eventually lead me to snowboarding. My hobbies include snowboarding, wakeboarding, photography, camping, traveling and hanging out with my awesome friends and beautiful fiance.

Shay: What is your job title?

Dave: Shipping Manager/IT Manager


Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?

Dave: Absolutely not! My parents have always been supportive of my decisions.


Shay: What was your first set up?

Dave: It was an old Licorice board with some Burton bindings. I think I got the entire set up for like $100 and I remember being so stoked!


Shay: What is your current set up?

Dave: Never Summer SL 154 and Flow bindings.



Shay: What was your first job?

Dave: Well, I was a telemarketer for 1 day and I quit. I think it’s more annoying actually being a telemarketer than answering their calls! My first real job though was at a local drugstore stocking shelves. I worked there for 4 years before I landed a job here at 686 Clothing Co.


Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?

Dave: Clear skies and fresh powder! Can’t beat that.



Shay: Who are your influences?

Dave: The owner and operator of 686 Clothing Co, Mike West. It is such an inspiration to see someone’s love and passion for something turn into their career. They say once you find what you love to do, you will never work another day in your life…and Mike has definitely found that.


Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?

Dave: Around 15 years now…wow, haha.

Shay: What’s your favorite 686 product?

Dave: Gonna have to say my 3-ply jacket, that jacket rocks and the toolbelt.


Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?

Dave: Not nearly as many as I’d like to. On an average season probably 10-15 days.



Shay: What is your role at 686 as shipping manager

Dave: Basically I manage all outbound shipments to our customers from our 3 warehouses across the world. We have warehouses in the USA, Canada and Europe.


Shay: How long have you been working at 686?

Dave: This August it’ll be 8 years.

Shay: How many employees work in shipping?

Dave: Just me! Contrary to what most people think, our company is actually very small and we only have a total of about 30 employees. We have warehouse managers in all 3 warehouses that have a staff of guys that actually pack and ship our product, but as far as running the shipments, it is only myself.

Shay: How did you end up in your position?

Dave: My brother actually got a job here working in the warehouse, and he is the one that put me in touch with the owner. I started out just as extra seasonal help, but put in such hard work that it got their attention and they decided to keep me on board.


Shay: Describe the shipping warehouse for 686?


Dave: In one word…MADNESS! There is so much product moving during our busy season and our warehouse manager does a great job keeping everything running smoothly. Gotta give him props.


Shay: Is everything packaged by hand or by machines?

Dave: Everything is packaged by hand, although we do have electronic packing stations where we scan items before they get boxed up.


Shay: Any big mishaps ever happen?

Dave: Mishaps? Noooo, never!!

Shay: Shipping and IT seem very different from each other…how do you manage both jobs?

Dave: Yeah it’s a little strange doing both jobs, but it works out ok. During our busy season it gets a little crazy, but shipping is my first priority so I always make sure that is running smoothly first and foremost. Being that our staff is relatively small, it isn’t too hard managing all the IT stuff on the side.


Shay: What is your management style?

Dave: Since I am the only one in my department, I don’t really manage anyone. But my style of work is very organized and professional. I take my job very seriously and give 100% every day.

Shay: 686 uses UPS to ship, how is working with them?

Dave: We actually ship many different couriers. It is 100% up to the customer on which company we use, but the majority of the time it does tend to be UPS. We have no issues with any of them though.



Shay: Weight is important, how accurate are your skills without a weight scale?

Dave: I’d say pretty damn good! Over the years I have gained this skill where I can weight almost anything by hand and give you the weight within a few pounds.


Shay: Prior to 686, what other jobs have you held in the industry?

Dave: 686 was my first and only job in this industry.


Shay: What’s your average day like at work?

Dave: Normally I will arrive at work around 10am (I know I got it easy!). From 10-12, I am catching up on emails and returning missed calls. The rest of the day I am working on current projects and anything else that gets thrown at me.


Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working at 686?

Dave: I’d have to say the most memorable is my 2nd day on the job when (graphic material ahead!) I was helping my brother put together a metal rack for the warehouse, and my hand slipped when we were trying to pry this piece of metal apart and it slit my wrist! I was rushed to the hospital to get stitched up and now I have a permanent scar that makes it look like a suicide attempt!

Shay: How is working for 686 (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?

Dave: It is the best job in the world to me. Apart from it being like a little family, there are tons of awesome trips and events that we do. Can’t complain about the free outerwear either! From the SIA and ASR tradeshows to company snowboard trips, company vacations, BBQ parties and the famous annual 686 Xmas party…we all know how to have a good time and know that life can’t be taken too seriously all the time!

Shay: What experience did you have or attributes to getting the job?

Dave: At my first job at the drugstore, after about a year I moved from a stock boy to the warehouse manager. Then, after about a year in that position I moved to shipping and receiving manager, which I did for about 2 years. All of my previous work experience definitely helped me be prepared for this job…and it paid off!

Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?

Dave: The absolute best perk is all the friends I have made here at 686 and in the general industry. There is no other industry like it and I am very fortunate to be part of it.

Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?

Dave: The only real disadvantage is the fact that I have to commute an hour to work every day, and usually an hour and a half home. With gas prices going up and Southern California traffic, this isn’t fun!

Shay: Do you think snowboarding will be radically different in 10 years?

Dave: If global warming continues the way it is, we may not have snow to snowboard on in the future! Let’s hope that’s not the case right?

Shay: Since you started in the industry, what’s been the biggest change?

Dave: I’d have to say the change in fads and clothing style. When I started in the industry, it was always “the bigger the better!” Nowadays it seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

Shay: Do you try out other companies products?

Dave: No need to. 686 is and always will be the best!

Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?

Dave: August through December, absolutely without a doubt!


Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?

Dave: You know, I think the two really go hand in hand, because without each other they are really almost useless. What good is having the education if you never get the experience of using it?



Shay: Final thoughts?


Dave: Thanks Shannon for the awesome interview! Be sure to check out in August for our 08-09 product lineup…It’s gonna knock your socks off!


About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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