Brand Manager, Burton Snowboards
Birth date: 10.27.89
Zach Nigro has been a staple at 80 Industrial, the renowned HQ of Burton Snowboards in Burlington, Vermont, since he was in college. What began as an internship nearly a decade ago has evolved into a role as Brand Manager, in which Zach collaborates closely with coworkers, riders, media, and more to put plans into action. It's an influential role that fits Zach perfectly, drawing heavily on his love of riding, his attention to detail, and his intimate knowledge of the ever-changing grassroots side of snowboarding. Nigro arrived in BTV after developing an inclination for going down inclines while growing up in Connecticut, migrating to the Green Mountains to attend college and setting his sights on fostering his love of snowboarding in a work environment surrounded by like-minded peers. Nigro's analytical nature and fine-tuned collaborative ability are an asset professionally, but it's also these traits, along with a sharp, dry wit that have made the VT local a well-respected constituent of the greater community. He has a knack for identifying talented individuals even before their names are internet mainstays and has put countless hours into both the Knowbuddy and Kilroy teams. With plenty of years left to continue to make an impact, Nigro has already established that he's a natural at creating meaningful marketing programs that have snowboarding's best interest in mind. He's great to collaborate with on projects, but also an ideal companion to corroborate with over a drink after a long day on hill, because even after the work is done, Zach doesn't hang up his snowboard gear; he's always boots on the ground, ready for what's next—the definition of a person well deserving of a spot on this 30-Under-30 list.
– Mary Walsh
Making those important phone calls. PHOTO: Gabe L’Heureux
Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I am originally from Simsbury, Connecticut, but now call Burlington, Vermont home.
How did you start snowboarding?
My first time snowboarding was with my Dad when I was twelve years old. We were both skiers and one day we decided to rent a few snowboards. After day one I never looked back.
At what point did you realize that you wanted to work in the snowboard industry?
During high school I became captivated with spending time in the mountains and my father was also representing Burton at the time. I had the opportunity to hang out and meet people who worked in the industry. Once I was exposed to the lifestyle they lived, I was hooked and wanted to follow my passion for snowboarding and to ride as much as possible. It allowed me to combine my interest in traveling with having the opportunity to make a positive impact on the snowboarding community.
The homies are pumped as Nigro gets some action. PHOTO: Gabe L’Heureux
And how did you make that happen?
During high school I started looking at colleges in Burlington, Vermont. I knew I wanted to be within close proximity to the mountains and near a brand I could potentially work for in the future. I moved to Burlington in the fall of 2008 to pursue my undergraduate degree at Champlain College, with a goal to work for Burton and snowboard as much as possible. I ended up landing an internship a few months later with the bindings team at Burton and learned about the product side of the business including prototyping and product lifecycles.
From 2008 to 2011, I transitioned from working part time as a bindings intern to working in marketing as a brand assistant. It was a pivotal shift in my career because I was positioned to gain further experience and exposure by working cross-functionally with multiple departments. By the time I graduated college, I had invaluable experience with product and marketing and I was promoted to Brand Coordinator. In this role, I worked with the Brand Manager and Brand Director to facilitate the execution of all Go-To-Market initiatives. In 2015, I was promoted to Brand Manager.
Who did you look up to in the industry for inspiration?
I continue to look up to colleagues and leaders at Burton. My original inspirations were watching my favorite riders and the people who created iconic content and marketing programs that have stuck with me over the years.
Hey, Zach! PHOTO: Blotto
What do you feel has been your biggest impact in your line of work?
I feel fortunate to have been able to contribute to many projects over the years at Burton. Anything from the Knowbuddy program to formulating the company's 40th year anniversary marketing campaign. Most recently working on the team that's taking "Step On" to market this fall.
What do you want to accomplish that you haven't yet?
I want to continue to evolve as a person and work towards being in a position to help make decisions that promote the lifestyle of the sport that I truly love and know.
Anyone you'd like to thank?
I'd like to thank my Mom, Dad, and brother Michael, my girlfriend Kaitlyn, and snowboarding.