Industry Profile: DC Snow Marketing Manager Adam Hawes
02 Jun, 2011
Job Title: Marketing Manager
Years On Snow: Hooked since the 5th Grade.
Days On Snow: Never enough.
Currently Riding: Mammoth/Bachelor/Snowbird/Hood over the next few weeks.
Current Set-Up: DC Devun Walsh 157, DC Lauri Heiskari 153, DC Torstein Horgmo Ply 150.5, DC SuperPark Boots, DC Outerwear and Layering
Currently I am: Mildly hungover? Eating a grapefruit and watching the hockey game.
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Adam: Hello! My name is Adam Hawes, and I’m honored to be the Marketing Manager of the Snow program at DC. Prior to this, I was the Assoc. Editor of TransWorld SNOWboarding and TWSnow.com, and before that, the Editor and Publisher of the ECS Media Group back East in Vermont. I’m an East Coast native, growing up in both Florida and New Hampshire, as well as attending college at the University of Miami, in Miami, FL (Sociology), and post at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham, NH (Psychology). Home mountains will always be Mount Sunapee, NH, and Stowe, VT, but now more likely to be riding Bear or Mammoth, in between life on the road. And—ok, this kind of sounds like a really lame Match.com profile right now…
Long story short: “It’s a way of looking at that mountain and saying, ‘Hey bud, let’s party!’” …Hide yo wife.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Adam: Snowboarding has provided me with more opportunities, memories, and great friends over the past several years than anyone could ask for. I owe snowboarding, the mountains, and the amazing people who share this passion for every experience I’d held and had… and for that, it’s all the more important for me to give back to it as much as possible.
From day one, snowboarding was a reward for me. It wasn’t something that was given, nor could I ever think about taking it for granted. If my friends or I wanted to ride, we had to work for it. We had to earn our turns, literally.
My parents were and are incredibly hard-working public school educators. They were amazing parents, and supported every one of my wild dreams (and countless fuck-ups) to a fault (thanks, Mom!), but I never had the kind of money that would allow for lift tickets, new gear, fancy styles, etc. I didn’t even have a season’s pass—let alone a new snowboard or outerwear—until college, yet I still rode almost every day as a kid. The only solution for my friends and I was to work hard for every lap. Which, although could really suck at the time, provided an invaluable, lifelong lesson in effort/reward—and in effect, sustainable happiness—that I’ll never forget.
When I was 13, I lied about my age in order to get hired to clean used boots at the local rental shop, suffering countless hours after school in the boot cave, elbow-deep in filthy Raleighs at Pat’s Peak Ski Area in Henniker, NH. It was hell… But, by working there, I earned a free pass—and no amount of vomit-inducing foot sweat could ever affect how much that meant to me. I’ve been employed in, for, and by snowboarding in some way or another ever since: boot bitch, board tech, tuning jack, instructing, writing, managing, promoting, and more. The mountains have provided the energy behind my passions and the drive behind my work from the age of 13 to now at 26, and hopefully, for decades to come.
Shay: What opened up more opportunities for you in the snowboard industry?
Adam: Not to incite any more bi-coastal turf wars here, but I feel that my growing up on the East Coast is to be owed a great deal of the credit. Living a young life void of silver spoons and problems that dissipate without effort has instilled a certain set of ethics that just don’t exist elsewhere. You learn very early on to take pride in hard work, to forever keep your chin up, and you’re blessed with an early realization that, no more how much you whine, complain, or forfeit responsibility, no one’s going to be there lift the load for you—and furthermore, to commend you for a damned thing. In effect, your job is named a job for a reason—so quit yer bitchin’ and get to it.
When I moved west a few years back, I was astounded by how many East Coasters held (and still hold) managerial and directorial positions out here. It may be true that the majority of action sports and lifestyle companies are based in Southern California, Northwest, SLC, etc, but almost all are staffed and run by a bunch of us EC assholes—assholes that know how to get shit done. We show up early, and we always stay late. When asked for ten, we deliver twelve. We take care of our peers, pick up the slack without a word, and always drink the good times on ‘til close—yet will always be up at 7 am, smiling and ready to go without fail. When you grow up in a world where shoveling your driveway at 5 am, in -20 degree wind chill, before you take the public school bus to 2nd grade is just something you do (not something you’re asked to do)… you learn that complaining is pointless, and the job isn’t going to do itself. As evident as the whiskey in my glass is starting to get me a bit excited right now, is that the simple, should-go-without-saying act of doing your job and doing it well will ensure that the doors are going to open.
I’m sure this answer is going to be polarizing, but it’s also true. You don’t need days off, and you don’t need more sleep. No one cares how sick or hungover you are, and coming in late is inexcusable—period.
Working in this industry is a dream come true, and I’m honored and humbled every single day that I’m a part of.
The points is… If you’re tired of the work in front of you, or simply unmotivated to do more than asked, than it’s not time to come complaining to me. It’s time to look in the mirror, and move on.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Adam: Two words: public school. Three words: get a job. Three more: eat the rich.
Shay: Tell us about your role at DC and a description of the work you do?
Adam: My role at DC is to oversee our overall brand image and visibility, online outlets and experience, advertising, team, media, partnerships, and assisting Sales, Development, and the other departments as much as I can. This can be anything in the vast world of DC, from negotiating print buys and coordinating web presence, to preparing campaigns and traveling with our team and events throughout the year.
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Adam: Ha! Quick day of the life status? It all depends. One of the true beauties of this life is that each and every day, without fail, will be 100% different.
On the road, it can be anything from making sure that riders are at events, interviews, practices, parties, etc. While in the office, it’s all about preparing for meetings, presenting ideas, working closely with other departments, and everything those ventures may encompass. For example: this weekend we’ve had our top retailers and reps in town, so it’s been 9-5 meetings about 2013 product lines, and then taking them to dinner, good times out, etc. It’s a strange life, and one that’s hard to explain at times, but I wouldn’t trade it anything. Every day you wake will greet you to be different, exciting, and will leave you exhausted but glowing, eager to go through it all over again in the a.m. If you truly love this world we live, play, and work in, then the greatest reward you can earn will be yours: you awake refreshed and beyond stoked to get to it—every single time that you open your eyes.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Adam: Man… this could go on for a very, very long time…! You’ll meet the most beautiful people, experience the most incredible places, and take part in events and memories that you’ve only dreamed of before. Traveling and riding with people you idolized as a kid, working in a space where creativity is supported—not stifled—and knowing that every person around you shares your passion… it’s almost to good to be true, in many ways. The days are full, the nights are long, and memories are pretty damned epic, all around.
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?
Adam: The biggest threat to snowboarding is the snowboard industry. The biggest threat to the snowboard industry is the recent influx of people who don’t snowboard. Activity should influence the industry—the industry should not be shaping the activity. This needs to reverse immediately, or we’re all in for a few very interesting, difficult coming years.
And last, there are people in the industry who think they are bigger than the pros—or even worse—more important than the consumer and average snowboarder. It might be a part of our jobs to know what’s cool, but we’re not supposed to be the deciders of it—snowboarding is. Celebrity is an illness; but thankfully, can be cured with a simple shot of humility.
Let’s just hope the immunizations begin soon.
Shay: Education vs Experience… Which do you think is more important?
Adam: Education is nothing without experience. I want people who have been through hardships and fought to find their way out. I want co-workers and teamriders that I can rely on—those who have and can make decisions and take action with trust. No textbook, Marketing class, or other pseudo-life lesson can ever touch what the real world provides. Get your degree and earn that paper, but unless your resumé comes with one hell of an entertaining, exciting, even frightening life story to back it up, it will never be more than 2-D.
Experience is even more valuable when working in the outdoors industry, especially in regards to snow. Poor decision-making can end careers and cripple businesses in any industry, but in ours, just one wrong turn (literally) can endanger you or your crew’s life. Even something as small as knowing CPR can change an employer’s mind in snowboarding—but again, there is a massive difference between having taken a course and holding the card, and actually owning the intense memory of reviving a loved one on the hill. Remember: accomplishments are great, but negative experiences can be just as fortunate, over time.
When’s all said and done, we all spend 24 hours a day representing the brands we love. And to make is in this industry, you need to be a positive ambassador to you brand—at all times. Don’t be afraid to live a great life and be yourself, but don’t ever disrespect the company that you’re in the fortunate position of being aligned with. Because trust me, we’ve all seen plenty of young people rise and fall in the action sports industries—more than I’d like to admit—and this might be where experience plays its largest, most public role. In effect, can you handle “you”?
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Adam: Moving to Stowe, VT after college was the best decision I ever made. Living and riding on snow every day, and tossing back pints with ski bums at The Shed each night, provided a background and experience of the modern snow world and snowboarder that’s simply impossible to replicate. The same way that business people are told to dress for the job they want and not the job they have, you need to be the person you want to create for. Stay current, and stay involved. Know your subject and your object—and then live it.
And never, ever leave a bridge burned. We’re all going to screw things up in this mad world once in a while, but letting the fires reduce to ash without attempting to throw water on them is a mark that will stay with you forever. Keep in mind that this is still a very, very small community, and it’s up to you as to whether you’ll utilize this closeness for fostering good relationships, or allowing negativity to cycle. Be yourself, and all of the beautiful, talented, and human pieces of “you” that you are. Because no matter what else happens, you’re always going to be the best that we’ll ever know.
In short… If you want to be a famous writer, you need to write. If you want to work in snowboarding, you need to snowboard. Have fun with your friends, do what you love, and never let anyone tell you “no”. This is your life, your book, and your memory—make it a damned good one.
…And you might want to develop a strong liver.
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