Industry Profile: Spy Goggle PLM Brent Sandor
19 Aug, 2010
Job Title: Goggle Product Line Manager
Employer: Spy Optic
Years on snow: 10
Days on snow: Plenty and never enough
Currently Riding: The new Spy prototype goggle. Doing hotlaps on a skateboard testing vision and fogging. So far – Amazing… During the winter – anything I can swindle, beg, borrow or steal from friends. Major thanks to everyone who has hooked me up.
Currently I am: Typing on the balcony, sunset over the ocean. Cali living…
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Brent: Got stuck in the american machine – Grew up a ‘normal suburb life’ – sports, high school, college, good grades, act right (enough). Thought I was supposed to be a doctor with a home, kids, and no free time by now. Then somehow I escaped. There’s nothing wrong with aspirations and behaving yourself, but don’t let school and adults box in your thought process, good times, and what you can make a living doing.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Brent: Snowboarding and art have introduced me to a world of friends and allowed me further my love of art and design. Snowboarding and art have brought me places and experiences most people will not get. It sounds cliché, but skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding defined the fork in the road where I chose the path I am on today…
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Brent: I started working for the local skate shop by my home during college. During these years I saw the obey campaign by Shepard Fairey, freaked out, and pretty much just started tweaking on graffiti and art. I volunteered to create the shop logo and taught myself adobe illustrator. At a certain point I painted some images on our dressing room doors and our Planet Earth rep saw them and got me in contact with their Art Director to take a stab at some freelance graphics. Somehow I pulled the wool over their eyes and sold some art to them and it all snowballed from there (thanks Jay and Kai.) I worked 3 jobs at a time to pay the bills while freelancing and painting for shows for the next year or two, then finally caught on for a full time gig. Its a long winded story, but the moral is, follow what you love, do what you want. You don’t have to go to school, but you will have to grind and hustle, way harder than you ever thought possible to get where you want.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Brent: My previous formal education helps me very little if none. I graduated college at the top of my class, in Kinesiology, but honestly, college felt more like a massive party with some structured learning added in. It has only really benefitted me by introducing me to people who helped get me to where I am now. Work experience, and just as importantly, life experience and friends have gotten me to where I am today. Grinding and hustling, trying and failing, at some point you try and you succeed and it seems all worth it.
Shay: Tell us about your role at Spy and a description of the work you do?
Brent: I’m the product line manager for Goggles. We all do a lot outside of the traditional job roles here. I lead the concept, design and development of the majority of the goggle line. I take an idea (from either myself, the team, or one of our guys here), bounce it off our Team Manager Kevin and some of the athletes and the art dudes and see where it evolves. From there I bring it to life with our factory. The job is awesome. I work with my friends, shred with my friends, and design sweet shit that people wear.
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Brent: Its a non-stop day of job induced ADD – learn to multitask kiddos. Just bouncing from one thing to the next until things are finished and its time to go home. When you do what you love, and work with your friends it barely seems like work at all.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Brent: When my first freelance design got accepted it was the most amazing thing. I remember checking my email religiously, just waiting to see what they said was the scariest and most exciting part of each day for that week of my life. Beyond that, working and hanging with my friends and meeting all these amazing, talented people create inspiration and memories daily. I tend to get easily wrapped up in others stoke and feed off their energy. Of course there are a million awesome memories, but no need to get into those.
Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Brent: The biggest challenge is to care and help the environment. The entire environment, the air, the water, and their species. Especially the animals. When they are gone, they are gone. There is no jurassic park, though I know a few friends who would be first in line if they did (cue jurassic park theme song here). As an industry we need to refine our manufacturing processes and take a new approach to the way products are developed and sold. Its great to see the ‘green effect’ selling so well, but it needs to be much more than just a marketing gimic, it needs to become a routine.
Another major problem is poaching or biting art. Its one thing to be influenced, but its another to just abuse a style or approach an artist has spent years refining. No one is trying to pass off dry slopes as pow, why try to pass off shitty art as the real thing? Give the artists’ their due, pay them, work with them, embrace them. The public needs to be educated too. Just because something looks ‘artsy’ doesn’t mean it isn’t a piece of shit and/or a fake…
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Brent: Education prepares you for situations, but there is no substitute for experience. If you can take advantage of the traditional educational experience in the this country, do it. But if you get lost in the system, don’t worry, just hustle your way out. Learn from every experience and don’t be afraid to come up short. Not trying at all is the real failure.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Brent: Grind, grind, grind and do it with style. Riders spend hours and years building the basis to what you see in the videos and mags. Artists and others in the companies have done the same, working and grinding to bring you style and function in everything from the board on your feet to the goggles on your eyes; no one likes ugly… Meet everyone you can and treat them all how you want to be treated. The person you meet today may be very important to you tomorrow.