SUN VALLEY, ID (BRAIN)—Recharged from a six-week break following his departure from Scott Sports last fall, Scott Montgomery starts his new job today as chairman of Lifeboat Events, organizer of PressCamp, DealerCamp and Urban PressCamp.
Montgomery will focus on expanding the business and developing new event concepts both domestically and internationally. Montgomery said the goal is to add one event each year while continuing to grow DealerCamp, which he thinks is primed to gain momentum in the coming months.
“I participated in PressCamp and DealerCamp in 2010. DealerCamp is certainly the big one. I see it as a small snowball that’s starting down the hill and in the next two to three years can become much larger,” Montgomery said. “I see the potential for 1,500 dealers and 400 to 500 suppliers to be at DealerCamp. I don’t see it turning into a 22,000-person event, but I see it being where the movers and shakers are.”
By his estimates Montgomery said the industry spends somewhere along the lines of $36 million a year to market to U.S. dealers at a large trade show, a marketing cost that’s becoming harder for brands to swallow as they strive for profitability amid rising labor costs and shrinking margins.
“That’s a very expensive activity for something that for a lot of companies doesn’t generate a lot of sales,” he said. “As a supplier you need to forecast in advance in face-to-face meetings, and that’s done better with smaller and more intimate groups. It has to be cost-effective.”
Montgomery is so convinced of the company’s growth potential that he’s invested in the business. Having a financial stake in Lifeboat Events was a big draw when he weighed his job options, he said, as was the ability to work from his home office in Sun Valley, Idaho, where Montgomery resides with his two teenaged kids.
“I enjoy working for entrepreneurial startups. If you look back at my career, it’s the most fun to me when it’s small and you’re building it up. It also plays to my strengths, which is my relationship with dealers and suppliers,” Montgomery said.
A former executive at Cannondale, Montgomery established the brand in global markets including Europe and Japan before the company was purchased by Dorel. As general manager of Scott USA he spearheaded the Swiss brand’s re-entry into the U.S. bike market six years ago.
Montgomery said one of the first tasks at hand is investigating international opportunities. He said he has overseas trips scheduled over the next couple months to research the possibility of launching a PressCamp event in Asia and Europe.
Industry veteran and former Interbike show director Lance Camisasca started Lifeboat Events, which held its first PressCamp where brands could interact with editors from national and international publications in the summer of 2009. Since then he’s added DealerCamp, a summer product launch targeted to select retailers, and Urban PressCamp, which will be held for the first time in March. He’s also added personnel muscle with the recent hiring of Chris Zigmont and Montgomery.
“People have been responding so well to what we’re offering that we have been a little worried about our ability to handle our growth,” Camisasca said in an announcement about Montgomery’s hiring. “Now that Scott is part of the crew, we’re much better equipped to master our objectives.”