Green Building Roundtable #3: The story of Osprey, 4/2

Green Building Roundtable #3: The story of Osprey, 4/2

[click “Play” to hear Gareth Martins’ conversation with Susan]

CIMG7288 Telluride’s The New Community Coalition’s Green Building Roundtable continues with the third talk in the series. “The Evolution of Sustainability in an Independent Outdoor Company” focuses on the story of Osprey – “Pack Your Passion and Go” – and the company’s green team. The event takes place  Friday, April 2, 8:30 – 9: 30 a.m. upstairs at the award-winning Wilkinson Public Library. The speaker is Gareth Martins, Director of Marketing.
Last November, Telluride Inside… and Out sponsor/contributor Erik Dalton of Jagged Edge was all hopped up about a new ski/snowboard backpack for the winter season he believed to be the perfect travel companion on all sort of outdoor adventures: the Kode series from Osprey could do everything but walk your dog.

Osprey was founded in 1974 in Santa Cruz, CA., anchored by the genius of head designer Mike Pfotenhauer. Since then, every single pack design bearing the name “Osprey” has passed through the man’s hands.

As Osprey Packs grew in the late 1980s, the owners bought an old Gore-Tex factory in Dolores, CO and moved all operations. Osprey did all its manufacturing in-house at that point, relying heavily on the skilled labor of the local Indian population to help construct its products. Many of those first Osprey backpacks cut and sewn in Colorado are still running around the San Juan Mountains today.

In 2000, with expansion came a move to Asia, but Osprey’s owners weren’t ready to let the whole manufacturing process out of their control, because they care about quality control, labor standards, and working conditions. Osprey partnered with a factory in Vietnam, moving to the country to oversee the manufacturing process, which speaks volumes about how much Osprey cares about their products from production to end use on their customers’ backs.

Pfotenhauer openly shares the honors for Osprey’s success with his wife Diane, who sold wholesale way back when, with the Navajo sewers who helped make the words “Osprey” and “quality” synonymous, with the current manufacturing team in Ho Chi Minh City, and with Osprey’s sales reps, international distributors, and the team at HQ in Coretz, one of whom is Martins.

Martins walks the company talk about sustainability. His board and community service underlines the strong connection between the outdoor industry and environmental stewardship. He has taken the good fight to the Hill for groups such as Save Our Wild Salmon and the Alaska Wilderness Coalition. Martins is an avid outdoor athlete, and has seen most of Colorado from the back of a mountain bike, on a pair of skis, or from the top of a rock he has climbed – but of course while carrying an Osprey pack.

To learn more about Osprey from Martins, and preview TNCC’s talk, click the “play” button and listen to his podcast

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