Rome Snowboards Marketing Manager and Team Manager
It is the rare individual that is able to work their ass off day in and day out and retain a sense of humor that causes stomach pain and fits of tears in anyone within earshot. Matt Stillman is that individual. Born in NY, the East Coaster moved to the Green Mountains to attend college and after graduation, landed firmly at Rome Snowboards, managing their digital presence via a keen understanding both of snowboarding and of the wiley ways of the internet. I met Stillman for the first time, after plenty of ludicrously hilarious email exchanges, in Austria at The Rome Lodge. He's the kind of person that you immediately want to be friends with, a brother in arms with whom to battle schnapps hangovers in low visibility conditions, but he also possesses a razor-sharp focus; the brain of The Beard is always many steps ahead, thinking up new concepts, executing existing strategies, or troubleshooting any challenges in his path. It's these qualities that make Stillman such an asset in the snowboarding industry and at just shy of his thirtieth birthday, an apt and deserving member of this list. Possessing the kind of love of snowboarding that is honed on ice and at low elevation, Stillman exudes an excitable enthusiasm for making turns, the kind of thing that is at the core of successfully contributing to snowboarding's greater good. At Rome, he spearheaded the development of The Degenerati and has recently taken on the role of Marketing Manager, further amplifying his overarching contributions. But it's not just his professionalism and work ethic that make him such a notable and respected individual, it's also his hashtag genius, his way with words, and his penchant for dressing up like an old timey US patriot during a particularly heated Denver-based NFL playoff game prior to SIA. In closing, I highly recommend meeting Matt Stillman, working with him at any opportunity, and following him on social media, because his snapchats are some of the best in snowboarding. Sports.
– Mary Walsh
What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.
Oh man really no such thing as a "typical day;" it really depends what time of the year it is. Mid-winter is undoubtedly the best time of year and the typical day is pretty damn spectacular. I start the morning riding Stowe with some of the Rome crew till about 9:30, slurp down a few cups of dirt bean, grab the dog and head to the office. Once at Shredquarters (copyright George Eget, 2016), we're looking at some combination of: surfing the white wave of never ending emails, talking to team guys, trip planning or recapping, file organizing, talking to the product department about their newest of the new, conversing with our team of sales reps about anything and everything, communicating with the various media personalities, composing design briefs, constructing calendars for any number of things and maybe round out the day with a nerve tonic at my desk.
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I grew up just outside of Albany, New York and currently reside in the Republic of Waterbury, Vermont.
How did you start snowboarding?
Well, I grew up close to a middle school that had a big hill next to it, so naturally we sledded the shit out of that thing. At some point, my brother and I got Black Snow decks with rope handles and started ripping those things down the same hill. I was pretty fortunate that my elementary school actually had a ski club that featured boarding, as well. Maple Ski Ridge was where it all really started. Picture a Hyland Hills-like set up, but I guess it did have one chairlift which scared the shit out of us all. That was the start of it all, from fourth grade on, I was strapped in and hooked for life.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?
I suppose it had always been in the back of my head, but it didn't really seem like a remote possibility until I was going to school in Vermont at St. Michael's. I'd been a huge Rome supporter since high school, saving up to buy the Rome Machine and riding Rome ever since my sophomore year. When I moved to Vermont, I met people like Justin Cafiero, who was a campus rep for Red Bull before he started working for Rome. I think that's when I realized it was even a possibility in general.
And how did you make that happen?
At some level, I was naturally drawn to the ski and snowboard club at St. Mike's. I got pretty involved with that, ended up running it for a while, got involved selling Stowe season passes in order to ride for free. Luckily, in that time I got to know a few heads internally at Rome and in the meantime I worked a variety of suuuuuper random jobs including but not limited to: census worker, hawker (guy who sells snacks at baseball games), prep cook, front desk boy, and budget version of a social worker and health care underling.
That old saying, "It's not what you do, but who you know," ended up being my saving grace. Seriously, I probably would have just shriveled up into a raisin turd of a human if I had stayed with the health care company any longer. No exaggeration, it was pretty much like the movie Office Space but with more documents. Luckily, I got an interview at Rome for the Digital Media and Events Coordinator position, ended up getting the job and spent three years in that roll. Once I got into that position, I did everything I could to learn every facet of the business: product, sales strategies, rep politics, copy writing, trade show execution, content strategy, etc., etc. In March of 2017, I got the nod to take over the role of Marketing Manager and Team Manager and I'm beyond hyped for the opportunity and responsibilities that come with it.
Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?
Oh man, so many different people inspire me. First and foremost, Grady Skelton, as he was the one who gave me the opportunity to get into Rome. He's an incredibly hard worker whose passion is evident in everything he does and he really showed me the ropes in this industry. (Hog Boys for life.) I really admire Jeremy Jones (Big Mountain) because the way his love of the mountains informs every aspect of his life. From running a brand to being an advocate for climate change, I find it really cool to see the way he is handling things currently. Lastly, Dan Sullivan is probably the number one day-to-day inspiration. Sully is our Sales Manager and a man amongst boys. Sully has never met a problem that a positive attitude, some elbow grease, and few nerve tonics can't solve.
What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?
That is definitely a tough one. I'm going to say my biggest impact to this date is the inception of our sub-brand, Degenerati.
What do you want to accomplish that you haven't yet?
A cab five off a natural pillow into bottomless powder. I would also really like to live on a boat for a year. Workwise, well you'll just have to wait and see….
Anyone you'd like to thank?
Thanks to Rome crew, Josh, Paul, Sully and the whole rep force. Thanks to the team riders for all their hard work. Thanks to the entire Syndicate for their endless feedback and support. But most importantly, thank you to my family and friends who helped get me to where I am today. Love you guys.
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