Territory Manager/Sales Rep, Oakley, Crab Grab
Birth date: 10.26.1987
Dan Hartman grew up in The Alley, one of the snowboarding's most beloved park laps, situated finely on the line where the Eastern Seaboard begins to shift into the Midwest at 7 Springs Mountain Resort. It was here, as a shop kid in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that Midwest Dan began to ingrain himself into the East Coast snowboarding scene via plenty of chilly night runs and probably a few cold Iron Cities. It is Hartman's passion for standing sideways and gregarious personality that make him a perfect candidate to stand on the front lines of the snowboarding industry as a sales rep, bridging the gap between brand, shop, and consumer. Since signing onto his first roll as sub-sub-rep while he was still in college, Hartman has dutifully applied his business savvy and work ethic while relentlessly logging miles across the Northeast going from shop-to-shop and demo-to-demo, becoming a staple member of snowboarding community while parlaying his brands' resources into meaning at a grassroots level and beyond. Currently Hartman manages the Eastern New England territory for Oakley and Crab Grab, the youngest member in an area with a strong lineage of individuals who have risen through the ranks of snowboarding to make massive impacts behind the scenes. So far, Dan has deftly been following the lead of those who repped before him while also blazing his own path through the snowy trails of New Hampshire, Vermont, and the other areas along interstate 95. With a decade already invested in the game and still time before his thirtieth birthday, we're confident that Hartman will be helping to steer the business side of snowboarding in the right direction for a long time to come.
– Mary Walsh
What does your current position in the snowboarding industry entail? Describe a typical day on the job.
A typical day honestly varies depending the time of year. During the fall/winter, it's a day-to-day of visiting accounts; hyping up Oakley and Crab Grab with the retailers; doing clinics for the retail staff to keep them up on new technology and products in goggles, helmets, softgoods; merchandising and making sure both Oakley and CG are presented on the retail floors and on mountain; and finally, throw in a few preseason sales, early season snow events, tradeshows and on snow demos.
Once Spring/Summer hits, it's onto a heavy event season for snow for us in New England. The month of March is madness on the weekends for the events I sponsor with Oakley and Crab Grab, done in partnership with great people and mountains. From there it's on to sunglass season and hitting the road almost daily selling shades, doing clinics, merchandising again, events sponsored in partnership with my accounts, and again hyping everyone on Oakley, just with a shift to a to a summer vibe.
Being a rep has a great change up of daily tasks throughout the year; it keeps me on my toes. One day I am working on selling in product at accounts and helping ensure sell thru for those accounts. Another day, I am looking at it from a marketing perspective to create events and activations that help support the brands, our accounts that support us, and the grassroots of the industry and commuity. Being in sales, hitting your numbers is always priority number one, but there’s a bunch of other objectives that have to be handled. At Oakley, we have a few different sport categories we market to, so interacting with all the different people throughout the year makse for a great learning experience daily. The snowboard industry is what I grew up in, though. It's what I love, and it's where I call home. To work in it daily is something I never take for granted.
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
From God's Country of Pittsburgh, PA (7 Springs) and currently in Dover, NH (Loon Mountain).
How did you start snowboarding?
I started in a way lots of people do: friends and skateboarding. I started riding 7 Springs when I was 15 years old. Friends I grew up with were riding and we all were skating together. I decided to pick up a snowboard for 30 dollars, join them on hill, and see what happened. Next thing I knew, it had consumed my life and created a career path for me. For that, I will be forever grateful for what snowboarding has done for me.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?
I was 16 years old, working in the shop—a store called Willi's that has multiple locations in Western Pennsylvania–and I realized that I could be around snowboarding every day, talking about product, riding new product—and I saw other industry folks making a living off it. I said to myself "Why not me?" From that point on, from my first sale on the floor and sitting through my first clinic, to every on hill activation, buying meeting, etc., I wanted to learn more and get more involved in the snow community. Oh, and I realized I would never be pro. Washed up since high school.
And how did you make that happen?
This was quite a journey, but one that I learned a lot during and understood the values of a foundation to a career. I started working Willi's in Pittsburgh and I was there for about a year and a half when I had to become a contact to the reps, working with them to create support on the sales floor. When I was nineteen, I got a phone call from J Smith, the Midatlantic Rep for Rome Snowboards, Grenade, and Holden. He was looking for some help at sales, clinics, and tradeshows and asked if wanted to join his team, along with his sub-rep, Sean Larkin. Of course, that was an immediate yes. Something I knew I wanted from my first day working at the shop was coming to fruition. On top of it, Rome was a brand I truly supported and had helped get into the shop. I worked with J for another two years doing the "bitch work," sacrificing ten-hour days on the road, and just learning a small part of what a rep does on the day-to-day, all while going to college and still putting in a few days at the shop.
After some shake ups, I decided to leave what I was doing as a sub-rep there and went to work with Junior Kantor, The Program* rep for the Midatlantic, when I was twenty-two and had just graduated college. This was an even bigger step to truly understanding the business and what it takes to put it out there. I worked with Junior for two years, sleeping on an air mattress in our office during my time with him, and the sacrifices made to help Junior grow the business made me want success and the next step that much more. We brought in a few brands, including Matix and DVS to diversify the agency and began learning more about the skate and surf industries, as well. Working with Junior and The Program* brands, it became a partnership, Yes, I was sleeping on an air mattress and logging thousands of miles across the Midatlantic, but the skills I was learning both in business and day-to-day life were priceless and have definitely helped make me who I am and what the territory I run is today. Junior left The Program* and I was looking at a few options for my next step, some were looking good for opportunity, some weren't.
I was 24 and it was mid-July when I got word that a territory had opened with Oakley in Vermont/Upstate New York. I reached out to the previous rep in the zone, Stan Kosmider, and the Sales Manager, Buck Rowlee. I interviewed with Buck and the Oakley Sales Director, on the edge of my seat the entire time. I'll never forget the Friday morning at the Roundabout Diner in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where I met Buck for a third meeting and he told me the job was mine. Something that I wanted since I was sixteen was happening. I had the opportunity to work for a brand I loved, run my own territory, and do my best to give back to snowboarding for what it had given to me in such a short time. I worked the VT/Upstate NY zone for two-and-a-half years then switched zones to Maine/New Hampshire/Eastern Massachusetts when Nelson Wormstead moved up to become the Regional Sales Manager and I took over his territory. Around that same time, I was approached by Andrew Kelly over at Crab Grab. He mentioned the New England territory was opening up and asked if I had interest. I think that was probably one of the easiest "yes" I have said in my life. Oakley and Crab Grab, two brands I love and want to help grow in business and on snow every chance I have.
Handling two zones in New England over the last five years has been amazing and allowed me to meet the most insanely amazing people in snowboarding and friends I'll have for a lifetime. Ten years as a whole on the road, learning different territories, and meeting great people makes this the incredible job what it is. Snowboarding is amazing, and when you can make a career around it, the cliché is true: you feel like you haven't worked a day in your life.
Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?
Jonathan "Junior" Kantor. This guy is my mentor, my weekly phone call, my sounding board, my dude, and one of my best friends. Junior is one of the smartest guys I know. J Smith, the guy who gave me the opportunity, the chance to get involved. Nelson Wormstead, the dude who has worked his ass off to get where he is and helped me along the way. Rep life to Sales Manager life. The relationship Nelson and I have, able to collaborate on work and keep that separate from our friendship is insane and Nelson's balance with that is something to look up to with how this industry works. Mark Wakeling. He is the best. Everyone in snowboarding who has met him, loves him. He runs his business with nothing but success in mind, and he's the oldest grom I know, looking to ride every chance he has. He fucking rules. Matt Jagemann, Vin Connolly, and Patrick Lawrence, as well.
What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?
Positivity and genuine relationships. The snow season, as we all know, can have the highest of highs and lowest of lows. We are all in control of our own energy and attitude, so why not be as positive as you can be on the day-to-day? When you're around snowboarding and it's part of your career, positivity is pretty easy. I never take what I do for granted and always try to appreciate that while sometimes the lows can be tough, the highs are most enjoyable when you know they don't come around that often. When you're positive, people feed off it and can help turn their point of view or mood when they need it most. Cruising into snow shops, talking shop, and making the crew feel good is what I love about this job.
The relationships I have built with my accounts, other reps and folks on the in house side of the brands has helped bring me to this point in my career. Without these relationships, the impact of what I want to contribute to snowboarding and build would not be possible. Building relationships–true genuine relationships–only helps what your business is and can do, but most importantly, it helps who you are as a person.
What do you want to accomplish that you haven't yet?
The question I ask myself every day. I have a few things in the back pocket that hopefully we'll see come to fruition in the future. There is so much that I haven't done yet, but I know if I trust the process and continue to sacrifice for a better future, opportunities will be there–I just have to seize them.
Anyone you'd like to thank?
My family, my parents. Junior. Nelson. J. Wakeling. My fellow Oakley/Crab Grab reps, and shout out to the NE crew, Cunha, Scotty, Reid, Engler, Lebeau, Marino, and Wolfman. AK. Preston and Dawn Strout. 7 Springs. Joel Rerko. Josh Zerkel. Wythe Woods. Loon Parks. Brian Norton. Jay Scambio. Kevin Bell. Waterville Valley Parks. Jamie Cobbett. Luke Mathison. BTV Crew. NH crew. My team riders. Willi's and the crew there. My accounts, previous and present. Without my accounts, none of this would be possible. Forum Forever.