I had no idea the Summer of 1995 would be one that would domino events leading all the way up to today. There was a kid in my neighborhood that started skateboarding that year. I was immediately attracted to it and convinced him to let me help out with his paper route all summer to earn money to get my own board. He agreed, and for months I rolled and tossed newspapers into driveways throughout my community. After what seemed like a lifetime I earned enough cash, got a board from the local bike shop, and never looked back.
I’m grateful to have found it because it lead me down a road where I have found my closest friends, my career, and even my wife! I started snowboarding in 1997 and in the year 2001 I started working at my first Skateshop. I was 17 years old and already my entire world revolved around skateboarding and snowboarding. After working there for a few years I got the opportunity to work for a brand in Park City, Utah called Skullcandy. I moved out there with my girlfriend and was so stoked I was getting to head out to the mountains and work for a brand in “the industry”.
We only lasted a couple years in Utah because during this time my girlfriend became my wife and we had our first child. It was important to us to get back to the Midwest so our daughter could grow up around family. I didn’t want to leave Skullcandy and Skullcandy didn’t want to let me go. Luckily, they offered me a position to manage their Midwest sales and it allowed me to move back! I started my sales agency in 2012 and it now has 12 brands under the umbrella. Through relationships forged along this journey, I met two of my closest friends and in 2015 we started a snowboard brand called PUBLIC. We are a Minneapolis based brand that sells all over the world.
The first pair of shoes I had when I started skated was a pair of Vans. The brand has been around since 1966 and their commitment and authenticity to promoting action sports has always resonated with me. I have been skateboarding in their shoes for 26 years and snowboarding in their boots for the past 5. A few of our team riders on PUBLIC are also Vans athletes. We started talking with Vans 2 years ago and are excited to have a PUBLIC X Vans collaboration coming out this 21/22 winter season! It’s sort of a pinch myself type of moment because I’m just a kid from the suburbs of chicago who’s passions have lead to working on a project with one of the biggest brands in the world.
It’s crazy to think back how playing on this piece of wood on wheels has brought so much joy into my life. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I sure hope to be standing on some sort of board in a pair of Vans for many years to come.