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Remembering Mark Satkiewicz

Last week, our industry lost another leader far too soon when Mark Satkiewicz, former OIA board member and former executive for Smartwool, TOMS shoes and Nike, died of a cardiac incident while riding his bike in his hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Most recently, Mark had co-founded and run the SBT GRVL race, which quickly became one of Colorado’s most popular gravel bike events. Perhaps best-known as the organizer of the annual Smartwool bike ride from Steamboat to Outdoor Retailer, Mark left his mark on the blacktop and the boardroom. A member of the Outdoor Industry Association board of directors from 2013–2017, Mark also had a reputation as a champion of inclusion and collaboration.

We reached out to Mark’s close counterparts on the board and throughout the industry for their personal reflections.

“Mark played a big role in the current focus of OIA and specifically the creativity and idea that became the industry’s call to action through “Together we are a Force.” He deeply believed in the power of working together and building great teams whether at individual brands or across the industry as a whole. He was also at the front pulling along the power of the collective. I am also deeply grateful for the notes of support he sent me during the difficult days of the trade show turmoil. I kept them all.” —Amy Roberts, former Executive Director, OIA; Senior Director of Communications and Corporate Responsibility, The North Face

“I considered Mark one of my mentors….always available to listen and offer perspective. I joined the OIA board around the same time as Mark and attempted to emulate how he showed up in the years that followed. He was a great brand builder, industry leader and community enthusiast. In honor of Mark, I am hoping we can all ride our bikes from Steamboat to Denver next Summer.” —Nora Stowell, OIA Board Chair, W.L. Gore

“Mark loved the outdoor industry and was passionate advocate as part of the Executive Committee on the OIA Board. It was a true to pleasure to work with him during his many contributions. He was also tremendously dedicated to his family explaining to Amy and I his decision to leave Smartwool and his role on the OIA Board to be able to provide an important opportunity for his family in California. He will be dearly missed.” —Gordon Seabury, CEO, Toad&Co; past OIA Board Chair

“Mark always provided balance and a level head, and was a pleasure to know and serve on the board with. He always gave sound counsel and was a thoughtful, terrific human. He will be missed by all who had the good fortune of knowing him.” —Jen Mull Neuhaus, Former CEO, Backwoods; Outdoor Foundation Board member; past OIA Board member

“It deeply saddens all of us that Mark’s life was cut so short. He was bigger than life as a business partner, an athlete and a committed activists for all that matters. During his time with us, Mark personified the phrase “a life well lived”. He embodied all that we aspired to be as human beings. Godspeed Mark Satkiewicz.” —Will Manzer, Former CEO, Eastern Mountain Sports; Former OIA Board Chair

“Mark was one of the people I call ‘unintentional mentors.’ As a small business owner, it was invaluable for me to glean little pearls of wisdom from him during OIA board meetings, after-meeting dinners, and hallway conversations. I remember asking him for advice in structuring management reviews, and he sent me the template he had developed at Smartwool.

More importantly, his kind and generous nature, his affability, and his passion for the outdoors was an inspiration to myself, as I am sure it was for a thousand other people. The world was and will continue to be better because he was in it, and will be greatly diminished by his absence. —Darren Bush, Owner, Rutabega Paddlesports; former OIA Board member

“This is such sad news. I didn’t know Mark well, as I met him during my time on the OIA Board. As a member of the board and a leader among the outdoor industry, I found Mark to be open- minded, innovative and a creative thinker. He was always pushing the elements of the industry for the future and spearheading ways to bring more participants and diversity to the incredible activities of the outdoors. He will be missed and leaves us to continue the journey.” —John Lacy, CEO, Burton, former OIA Board member 

Donations can be made to the Mark Satkiewicz Memorial Fund, which will provide gear and resources to Steamboat Springs youth who may not otherwise be able to participate.

You can read obituaries about Mark at, SGB Online and SNEWS.