When we came up with this idea, we weren’t sure where to start. All we knew was that we wanted to reach one goal: get to know the person behind the product. Sportworks has been around for long enough to have an interesting history. And the details that make up that history, is most definitely the people that make up the company.
Today we are talking with David Price, an employee of Sportworks that’s been here “before we opened the doors”. We learned about how he became the first employee and the reason why he’s stuck around for nearly 30 years.
How long have you been at Sportworks?
Since the beginning. Mike asked me to come on board before we opened the doors. At first I thought I’d help him get the ball rolling and maybe head on after a year or two. We’re coming up on 29 years this spring.
What position did you start in and what position are you currently in?
Well, we were pretty small at the outset, so there were lots of roles to play. I supervised the production staff, set up machinery, repaired machinery, worked with Mike developing tooling and processes, and kept an eye on quality. We grew steadily from the start, eventually adding a second shift and more customers and staff to keep up, including tool makers and an engineering manager. When we brought on another customer that launched us into robotic manufacturing, I had the opportunity to hand off the Supervisory reigns and devote full attention to the technical side of manufacturing. I’ve learned tube bending from the ground up on day-one and spent a lot of time along the way with robots, both programming and repairing from the inside out. I’m still with the Engineering group mainly supporting Safety, Tube Bending, Machine Controls, Robots, and Operation Processes.
What keeps you coming back to work every day?
I believe in this company. I honor our mission and the changes we’ve brought to the bicycle industry. I trust and believe in the owner and the management team he’s built. We strive for a positive culture. If you’re looking for a place to “do good”, this ain’t bad.
What do you love about your job?
I love that every time I see a bike rack out in the world with a tray of some sort for the wheels and a hook over the front wheel, that WE originated that design – we developed it and we built it into a strong product with a better solution for transporting bikes. We’ve been copied by all the major and most minor rack companies – we changed the way America (and beyond) carries bikes! We pioneered the way to bring efficient, reliable cycle carrying to mass transit. We continue to build the best mousetrap for that institutional market and have something new to say in the world bike parking. I’m proud of the job we do and the impact we’ve made.
What’s your favorite product that we manufacture at Sportworks?
I really like the Apex rack, I think is our strongest offering to date, but my favorite is the Oahu bike parking stand. To me its grounded circular simplicity is calming and unifying, and yet reminds me of a portal, a passage way to adventure. There’s something about the santoprene no-scratch layer that’s friendly – like it tames the steel. And I don’t know why, I just love that round shape.
What type of outdoor recreation do you enjoy?
Sea kayaking has been my main interest for the last 20 or so years. I’ve had chances to explore much of the coast from Oregon to Alaska with forays into Mexico, New Zealand, Wales, and Belize.
If yes, tell us about your last outdoor recreational activity or trip?
Most recent trip was touring about 90 miles of southern Baja Mexico wilderness on the Sea of Cortez.
Are you passionate about cycling?
I was big into bicycle touring back in the 70’s and 80’s, built a touring bike, learned all about gearing and shift patterns (back when a triple chainring 15 speed was exotic!) An unrelated injury put a crimp in doing any loaded distances, but I still get in some recreational riding on my recumbent.
If yes, tell us about your favorite bicycle and bicycle path?
My favorite tour was a trip from Seattle on the N. Cascades highway across the northern tier of Washington, the Idaho panhandle, Glacier Park’s high pass across the Continental Divide, then hung a left and ended up at Yellowstone Park in Montana. The mountains made me strong; but the headwinds sapped my soul.
What other hobbies are you into outside of work?
Still play a little music from the pre-Sportworks Rock ‘n Roll band days, but mostly kayaking and planning my next adventure.
Coke or Pepsi?
Well, Coke of the two, but I brought Grapefruit San Pellegrino – want one?
Tell us something interesting?
Hmmm, there’s a bay on San Fernando Island in Alaska’s Gulf of Esquibel where the sand floats on the water!