LAGUNA HILLS, CA (BRAIN)—After attending voice over school, consulting for a light electric vehicle company and sitting on the board of an outdoor sports company, Skip Hess decided the time was right to revisit his old stomping grounds in the bike industry.
Hess joined the Electra board of directors last month and also consults for the company.
“I think my strengths kind of complement their business. They’re really creative; they do things in a unique way. I think I can help them with growth strategies. I’ve been down the road they’re on right now three different times,” Hess said.
Hess resigned as president of Giant USA last August, capping a career in the bike industry that spanned nearly three decades and included positions with Mongoose and Schwinn.
Although it took some adjusting at first, Hess said it’s the best decision he’s ever made.
“I spent the last 15 years doing two turnarounds back to back and I really needed a fresh break,” he said.
As soon as he left Giant, Hess traveled, rode his motorcycle a lot and enrolled in a nine-week voice over school in Burbank, California—something fun he’d always wanted to try. He put together a demo tape and lands a gig every now and then.
About 10 months ago, he signed on to consult with an electric vehicle company doing product development, product planning and marketing and communications. He also consults for an outdoor sports company, but Electra is his only official business in the bike industry.
He’s known the company’s owners, Benno Baenziger and Jeano Erforth, for 15 years and hired Baenziger's design firm to work with Giant in 1999. Hess thinks they have a great vision to get everyday people on bikes, a population the industry in general doesn’t appeal to. He looks forward to helping the fast-growing Electra tackle strategies for warehousing issues and communication with retailers.
He’s not sure if he’ll take on more work in the industry in the future.
“I’m really happy with where I am. I really value the time I have now. I like working with a variety of different industries. I don’t know where I’m headed long-term —I’ve been in the bike business almost 30 years and I still love it and I know it and working with Electra fills that passion,” Hess said.