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Neil Shirley joins Enve, adds to staff horsepower

Published October 4, 2018
Shirley (left) with Pantone.

OGDEN, Utah (BRAIN) — Enve's Jake Pantone swears that the Amer Sports-owned brand does not include VO2 max test results on its job applications. Nevertheless, the brand does have a way of attracting some of the fastest riders in the sport to its staff. 

That includes the company's latest hire, Neil Shirley. Shirley is the former editor of Road Bike Action and most recently worked for the Lyman Agency, a PR firm. Before that he was a top domestic road pro for the Kelly Benefit Strategies and Jittery Joe's teams. He's got the professional credentials and aptitude for his new position as Enve's influence marketing manager, where he will manage the brand's sponsorships, including teams, athletes and ambassadors. He also will help athletes communicate with the brand's R&D staff and produce content for Enve's marketing. 

"Of course, we would have hired Neil regardless of how fast he is," Pantone told BRAIN. "But it is important to us. We have a building full of really strong cyclists. It keeps us motivated because you either ride hard or you ride alone here. The day we stop riding a lot is the day we stop being relevant."

Lots of bike companies have staffs packed with former bike racers. Enve's staff is a little different because of how many still-active racers it has. Shirley, for example, continues to finish near the top of the men's fields at gravel grinder events around the country: he was 13th at the Dirty Kanza 200 this year, and won the men's open race at Gravel Worlds in 2015. 

Pantone, Enve's vice president of product and consumer experience, is no slouch himself — he was 30th overall at Kanza this year and loves the longer and tougher solo events, like 24-hour races and the 206-mile Logan to Jackson Hole road race, which he's done 10 times.

Other Enve staffers include AJ Turner (an Enve product manager), who is a member of Team Clif Bar and Johnny Hintze (Enve's creative director), a top finisher at long-distance events. 

Given the staff's interest in gravel racing, it makes sense that Enve has devoted considerable R&D to developing gravel product in the last couple of years. It introduced its G Series gravel wheels at Dirty Kanza this summer and several other G Series components are in the pipeline. 

"A lot of our ideas come on the bike," Pantone said. 

Many folks on the Enve staff also have a penchant for skiing, something that Shirley, a Southern California boy who recently moved to Utah to take this position, hasn't tried yet. "We'll have to introduce him to that slowly," Pantone said.

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