Bend Outdoor Worx Mentors
In addition to the mentors listed below we bring in industry experts and phenomenal individuals on a case-by-case basis based on the specific cohort companies.
gary bracelin -
Born and raised in Oregon, Gary has passionately pursued this outdoor wonderland in every way he can. He grew up skating, surfing, waterskiing and riding motocross on the Oregon Coast, which inevitably led to a natural interest in snow sports as he explored the rest of the state.
Following his passion for business and entrepreneurship, Gary formed one of the first sales rep groups to serve the action sports industry and helped pioneer the new snowboard sports category. He later transitioned into sales management and consulting, assisting Morrow Snowboards in their purchase of an apparel brand and a transition to a public company. He also consulted with major brands looking to enter the lucrative action sports market, including Helly Hansen and Timex.
With experience and a knack for emerging categories, Gary became an early adopter of organic apparel usage in the outdoor industry, working with a privately-held company to introduce and develop apparel for brands such as Patagonia, Prana, LuLu Lemon, Marmot and many others. Not one to sit still, he also became involved in the fast-growing stand up paddle industry as Director of Global Sales at KIALOA Paddles.
Gary continues to have a passion for all outdoor activities and spending time with his family. He feels fortunate to live in Bend, Oregon where that balance is easily obtainable. BOW was born from his inspiration to help Bend become a hub of the outdoor industry and capitalize on its unique abundance of outdoor recreational activities. He saw a need to support local companies trying to make a mark in this industry and help support this growing economic category in Central Oregon.
Currently, Gary also oversees Sales for Homeschool Outerwear, sits on the board of directors for the Oregon Outdoor Alliance, and consults for outdoor industry businesses.
Will Blount -
Will Blount grew up playing on the mountains and rivers of Colorado. He learned early that outdoor recreational pursuits, following his curiosity for the unknown, and learning by doing were his path to fulfillment. He was often humbled by nature, but discovered a talent for navigating and leading others through big water - both on the river and off. He believes that many of the skills that he uses to navigate the business landscape are things that he learned in his backcountry pursuits, maximizing each person's strengths to achieve a common goal. Will has worked in the outdoor industry as President of Ruffwear for over 13 years, manufacturing outdoor dog gear that is sold in 2,500 retail locations in the US and distributed in 50 countries internationally. He has experience in the development of efficient operations systems, sourcing in Asia, sales, and marketing. Will also serves as the President of Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, a non-profit focused on establishing a navigable paddle trail within Deschutes County and promoting water safety, education, and stewardship.
Justin was lucky to start his outdoor apprenticeship as a professional river guide working throughout most of the United States, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and South America for close to a decade. He inevitably stumbled upon full time employment and has been immersed in the start-up/entrepreneurship world since then. He was hooked after he sold his first business at the age of 24. When not working with his myriad of side projects he currently works with entrepreneurs and executives through his wealth management business at Northline Wealth Management. In addition, he is an active investor in private equity and angel investment deals throughout the country.
Fortunately he never let the river flow too far….he is an active partner in an international river business, ENRG Kayaking (www.enrgkayaking.com), and recently led an international expedition to the Grand Canyon of the Amazon in Peru. Believing in the power of community and outdoor recreation he has been instrumental in bringing the first whitewater park to the West Coast through his work with the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance.
Justin brings an active investor mentality to the group as well as an experienced successful entrepreneur mindset who has co-founded or founded a variety of companies from an outdoor ecommerce company, wealth management business, outdoor services company, and technology companies.
When not in the office, which is often, Justin is usually tooling around with his four kids somewhere around the Oregon outback.
Arriving in Bend, OR in 1994, armed with an architectural license and a passion for the outdoors, Eric Meade joined Entre Prises Climbing Walls and led it through its largest growth period in history. Eric and his team skyrocketed annual sales by achieving maximum marketplace penetration and made it the top climbing wall company in the world. EP USA dominated the climbing wall marketplace by exceeding customer expectations, developing innovative products, and pushing the boundaries while developing industry standards, which are still in place today. Eric supervised and grew the Company to 70+ employees, with annual revenues of $7M. Eric and his in-house investment partners, achieved a 3,000% return on their original investment through the sale of the company in 2008; by ensuring organized and strong financials, brand equity, a strong customer list, and setting achievable marketing/business plans.
Since Eric sold Entre-Prises in late 2008, he worked as the Membership Director for Opportunity Knocks, was an investor in two Bend Venture Conferences, co-founded Bend Outdoor Worx and opened his own consulting business, Eric Meade-Purposeful Consulting. His passion is to support and develop leaders of businesses to establish clear strategies, financial planning, implementation planning, and a sustainable profitability model. Eric is a subject matter expert in developing world-class infrastructure for newer companies while driving innovative product development. He is a big picture thinker with vision to break operations down into executable strategies. Eric is a leader who fosters and facilitates collaborative problem-solving to achieve Company objectives. Eric is financially focused and values long-term success.
Eric enjoys business, mountain biking, road biking, skiing, hiking, camping, backpacking, travel and his two kids and awesome wife.
WES PRICE - CPA PARTNER
Wes has been a practicing CPA (www.bendcpa.com) in Bend for over 30 years, providing business clients comprehensive tax, audit, accounting and management consulting services. He has a knack for helping business owners understand their finances and use the information to make their businesses more profitable. In addition to serving a wide variety of family businesses, Wes concentrates his practice in the manufacturing, utility and hospitality industries. He currently serves as Treasurer on EDCO board and as Business Oregon's finance committee chair. He is a past president of the Bend Chamber and has a long history of volunteering in central Oregon.
Scott Davidson - LAW PARTNER
Scott has over two decades of experience in working with entrepreneurs and management teams of start-up and later-stage ventures across a broad spectrum of Pacific Northwest industry groups including consumer brands, apparel, footwear, entertainment and technology. Scott leads the White Summers (www.white-summers.com) consumer brands practice group and frequently works with clients on key strategic issues including angel, venture and private equity financings, debt financings and strategic partnerships. Additionally, Scott has extensive experience in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, complex technology transfers and intellectual property matters.
Scott serves as a frequent presenter to industry and trade groups on topics related to entrepreneurship, angel and venture investing, corporate leadership and building effective management teams.
In addition, Scott serves in a number of leadership roles with organizations that support entrepreneurs and emerging growth companies in Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Representative clients include OluKai, Garden Ridge, Homeschool Technical Apparel, Pensole Design Academy, Nutcase Helmets, Grand Central Baking, Arena Swimwear, Arcimoto, Filtrate Eyewear, Schilling Cider, TenAsys and World Class Technology.
Dominica (Miki) Keller