Inside Job: Matty Swanson

Matty Swanson

Oakley, California

Welcome to Oakley’s underground lair… Those seats are where the Dr ‘O’, his miniature clone, Number Two and Frau Farbissina plan their world domination. Over there in the corner is the trap door to the shark tank. We snuck inside and asked one of the key henchmen to throw us a frikkin’ bone…

What’s your job title?
Sports Marketing Manager

What’s your day-to-day work consist of?
I drive 35 minutes to the office and spend that time on the cell phone talking with athletes in later time zones. When I get to the office I make an action list for the day. Check voice mails, appointments, answer emails and try to get most of them completed in the two hours after turning on my computer.

Where is the Oakley HQ?
It’s in a place called Foothill Ranch, in the O.C.

What makes it special?
The design of the building is something straight out of a classic science fiction movie. And the people I work with are awesome. The culture at Oakley is an amazing environment to work in.

Where do most of the office team come from?
My department – sports marketing – is mostly filled with ex-pro athletes. All of the managers are deeply involved with or even still competing in the sports that they manage.

What are the perks?
The perks have to be the travelling – snowboarding all over the world and working with cool people. The amount of travel I have done in the past 10 years with Oakley is amazing. I am very grateful and lucky to have this job. That is why we work so hard – because it’s fun.

Who’s the biggest character at Oakley?
Jim Jannard, the founder of Oakley, has to be the biggest character. He started this company out of the back of a van selling motorcycle parts.

Do you all skate, surf and/or snowboard?
Yes, we all try and rip up the boards any chance we get.

What does it take to get a job in your team?
Timing is the number one factor in getting a job in Sports Marketing. Since the jobs are so sport specific and are basically one in a million opportunities, nobody leaves. We are so entrenched in our sports that the turnover rate is very low in this department.

How many people need to say ‘yes’ to a new design of goggles or sunnies before they go into production?
The eyewear design team has the final say on what makes it onto the shelves of our retailers, but we do have an incredible feedback team that includes the Sports Marketing, Sales, Design and production teams. But if you really need a number on how many people need to say yes to a new design, I will go with one: The president of design really has the key to the product categories.

Designing eyewear seems like a pretty subtle, specialized are of design. How do you get into it?
The design teams look to unlimited areas of inspiration. I use our deep roster of world class riders to gain inspiration for new designs and colors.

What do you all do to let your hair down?
I really get stoked on music and movies. I don’t have time to watch television so I turn up the volume and rock it out to some loud tracks whenever possible. Most of us have hobbies that involve some aspect of our work at Oakley, from sport to design and of course family. This is a very passionate work force, and we really do love our jobs.

What stands you apart from the rest of the industry?
What really stands Oakley apart from other brands is our snowboarding heritage and the technology that we have created in that time frame. We pride ourselves on having the best products on the mountain which will perform in any conditions you might encounter around the globe. With our leading legend, Terje Haakonsen, Oakley snowboarding has also really embraced transition riding, and the Oakley Arctic Challenge has raised the bar for quarterpipe riding (we got a new world record for highest air in 2007). Look for Terje and Oakley to continue the science of transition in a QP near you!

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