Action sports organization re-groups as a stand alone entity
Bob Rief, a 40-year veteran of the sports and active lifestyle industry, thinks it can. The new executive director of San Diego Sports Innovators – an action sports trade group — recently hosted a gathering of about 10 local cycling-related firms to get them talking about how to promote the region for the sport.
The meeting highlights San Diego Sports Innovators’ efforts to get its footing as an independent organization. In March, it spun out of Connect – a long-time San Diego business accelerator program. It has 80 members, including a small group of cycling companies.
“It was the first time these companies had ever gotten together,” said Rief in a recent interview. “We had a component maker. We had a pedal guy. We had a frame maker. We had a specialty apparel maker and we had two of the biggest media players.”
SDSI aims to grow the somewhat under-the-radar cluster of sports and active lifestyle companies in the region – ranging from board sports to cycling.
“We want to make San Diego the capital of the sports and active lifestyle industry,” said Rief.
San Diego Sports Innovators spent six years under Connect’s umbrella. Basketball star Bill Walton continues to serve as executive chairman. Rief was hired as executive director when SDSI became independent. He previously was chief executive of OTZ Shoes, which was sold to K-Swiss in 2013. He also was CEO of Reef and Sanuk, and held executive posts at Nike Golf, Callaway Golf and other sports firms. Details