Industry Profile: Dakine Product Developer Dax Richey
09 Aug, 2012
Job Title: Senior Product Developer for Packs and Bags
Years on snow: 21 solid seasons
Days on snow: It’s never enough is it?
Currently Riding: Capita Charlie Slasher and Capita Totally F’kn Awesome strapped with Union’s. Also running a Jones Solution Split w/ Spark’s.
Currently I am: Riding bikes.
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Dax: I’m from Alabama, where I learned to be polite, love collard greens, and how to snowboard. One rare southern Snow Day back in the late 80’s, we took off our trucks and Gorilla Ribs and t-bolted leather belts to our skate decks and rode them switch. I was rocking a Vision Gonz, my first shred stick. Several years later I moved to Alaska, and hit the slopes of Alyeska, Chinook Pass, Thompson Pass and Hatcher Pass; that’s some major upward mobility.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Dax: Snowboarding has introduced me to so many special people that share my passion, and it’s taken me all over the world. Without snowboarding, I would not be the same person.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Dax: I followed my passion. I switched my major from Architecture to Industrial Design thinking I could design products that I loved using. I got involved with the University of Washington Snowboard Team, where I met lifelong friends who shared my passion for snowboarding. After I graduated, the door opened with an invitation to work with The Schwab’s in the Pacific Northwest. We were repping Northwave, Drake and Bakoda, DAKINE, and Nixon at the time.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Dax: My Industrial Design education taught me about the design process from concept to production, and helped me hit the ground running when I entered the doors at DAKINE. As a sales rep, working with retailers and customers is an invaluable experience when building a product line. I’m able to use my experience as a sales rep to communicate effectively with sales people throughout the design process, and build successful products for our market in a diverse range of distribution channels.
Shay: Tell us about your role at Dakine and a description of the work you do?
Dax: I’m blessed to be a part of a team that brings two successful product lines to market every year. In simple terms – I’m involved with all 500+ SKUs in the Men’s pack and bag line from concept to production. I’m fortunate to travel to China twice a year to confirm samples, and to Europe twice a year to work with DAKINE Europe.
The majority of the work I do involves daily communications with our factories and developing new materials, prints, and color stories for our market and applying those to our product line.
Shay: If you had to make up a job title that most accurately described what you REALLY do, what would it be?
Dax: Backpack Running Back, moving the ball forward one day at a time.
Shay: Describe the craziest day/moment you’ve had at your job?
Dax: We were at a sales meeting in mid November in Kaprun, Austria several years ago. We had a few decent days during the meeting shredding the glacier on Kaprun, especially considering the date. Wolle recommended we check out this place called Zauchensee on our last day in Austria, Friday. I looked on the website and the opening day was set for Saturday, but Friday, thanks to Wolle’s recommendation was like an unadvertised local’s only day and no one showed up? It ended up being an epic day with an awesome crew. Early season terrain put stress on the early season legs, but we transcended the burn and ran the tanks to empty. Every run had face shots, fun terrain to pop off on, and high fives in the lift line. One of those perfect-bluebird-epic-perma grin days with my friends and co-workers!
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Dax: Meeting Craig Kelly and rapping with him for about an hour after he returned from the Himalayas.
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?
Dax: The global economy is a challenge for us all right now and I would like to see it improve. Can you please fix that?
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Dax: The same advice I would give anyone considering any future plans, follow your passion. We work hard in this industry and it’s not all fun and games, but everyone I work with shares my passion for getting after it. Working with peeps that share your stoke is everything when you show up at 8:00 AM every morning.