Q and A with Company Wake
Alliancewake.com: Why the change, was it the boards, the opportunity, the long-term for your career, working with someone like Justin? Give us the real answers.
Randall Harris: Let me state first that my moving to Company had nothing to do with any negativisms in association with Gator Boards. I love Erik and everybody at GB. I wish nothing but the best and success for Gator Boards.
Moving to Company was a result of many different factors. First off, the opportunity to be a major shareholder and owner of a brand is very appealing to me at this stage of my life. I’ve paid the cost to be the boss. Time to be a shot caller, ya know what I mean (laughs)? Seriously it’s always been a dream of mine to own and operate my own brand. Organization was also a key attraction. Company as a whole is taking a very strategic and proactive approach at all levels. There is a definitive plan in place. Company as a business is aggressive but at the same time very responsible and well thought out.
The freedom we have in manufacturing is incredible. The manufacturing processes at-hand enables us to do consistent research and development; prototyping will be a constant thing at Company. These manufacturing capabilities will allow us to push the technological limits of the sport. No gimmicks, just creating effective products that work.
One of our key strengths at Company is marketing and media. Of course media is my strong suit. As you will see over the next few months, the vision of this brand is powerful. The marketing force is fresh and creative. What happens when you have the “Video of the Year” producer link up and start a brand with the current “Rider of the Year” and “Video Section of the Year” athlete? You do the math.
Company is a brand founded on passion. We aren’t stopping at anything to realize this dream. Failure is not an option.
A: So Company is your home, are we about to see the next evolution of Randall Harris?
RH: Of course, I’m co-owner of Company Wakeboards. That is motivation. My livelihood directly relates to the success of this brand. I’m going to go harder than ever on the water in order to push and develop this brand. At the same time Company will be allowing me to develop and sharpen existing business skills. My goal is to be more than just an athlete at Company. I want to be a valuable asset in relation to managing and running the business.
A: How do you feel about Company’s technology and how do you see that changing your riding for the better?
RH: There has been a lot of speculation about “flex-tech” and Company being solely dedicated to this type of board construction. The fact is we are dedicated to innovation and new technology. I’m extremely excited about the possibilities we have in creating a product that will advance my riding and every wakeboarder’s experience.
Alliancewake.com: How many hours of sleep have you lost since starting a new company and acquiring a team rider?
Justin Stephens: Not much to be honest, because I was never really getting that much sleep in the first place…
This is my current schedule:
9am-7pm – Office stuff.
7pm-10pm – Eat dinner and hang with family at home. (Not enough time)
9pm-2am – Watch the TV show “24” on DVD with my wife while on the laptop working with our designers over iChat. My wife is discouraged by this, but has been very supportive knowing that some of our designers have day jobs still, and knows that this is the only time that they can get work done for us. Everyone is working really hard for us right now, so we are very grateful for that. As far as the TV show “24” goes, we’ve made it to season 5 so far, and its pretty intense. We’re averaging about 2 to 3 episodes a night.
A: At what point did you say to yourself, “I can do a board company and do something I believe other brands are not”?
JS: I was at Nationals in 2005 when I thought to myself, “I really want to start a new wakeboard brand”…and I’ve been fighting for it ever since. I think that there is a need for something fresh in my own opinion. It doesn’t mean that I know what I’m doing, it just means that it’s something that I can see in my head, totally dialed in and existing in the market.
A: How has the market responded to the existence of Company?
JS: So far so good, but technically speaking we’ll really find out in about a month (laughs).
A: How extensive will the Randall Harris signature/endorsed product line be for year one?
JS: All I can really say right now is that we’ve started a process and everyone involved is a perfectionist.
A: How long term is Randall’s agreement with Company?
JS: As long as he wants it to be. We’re not making anyone do anything that they don’t want to do over here. We have reason to believe that he’s in it for the long haul though because he’s one of the owners. SNAP!
A: Now that you have a board company, have we seen the last of Justin Stephens as it relates to producing major wakeboarding and wakeskating movies?
JS: No way man…This is all just “pre-production” for the next big project.
A: Alright, you got the man, a hero’s hero, the rider every pro looks up to. Is Randall the team, what’s next?
JS: It’s all about “proof is in the pudding” with Randall. His work ethic and passion for this sport is second to none. His precision and style on the water has gained him the highest respect from this industry for over a decade. Having the opportunity to work with him on something like this is a brain melter. Nothing more to be said…
Tino Santori: Tino is the first true Co Soldier. He has been with us since the very beginning, sticking it out with us as we worked through the grime of getting this brand off the ground. His positive attitude and willingness to get behind something like this has been inspiring for all of us and has made us a better brand because of it.
Eddie Valdez: Future. Future. Future. We feel like Eddie is the perfect representation of “possibility”, which just so happens to be the word of the week here at the office…Oh wait, that’s our mission statement…SNAP!!! All silliness aside, we have
been very impressed with his dedication to the sport, which to us, is one of our core values. It’s about progression, innovation and style. Eddie fits in perfectly.
Gregg Necrason: Experience, trust, and style…Gregg is a perfectionist which is
one of the main reasons why Gregg has chosen to get involved on the tech side of our brand. Gregg is a close friend of ours and has stepped in to be one of our lead product developers here at Company. So when you see our line get tighter and tighter every year, just know that Gregg is behind the scenes with a notepad making our products even better.
Quite honestly there isn’t much more talent and experience that we
could have put together to get this brand off the ground and this is just the beginning. Our team is going to be one of the single most important elements of our brand for more reasons than one. So just know that every person involved with Company plays a role in the big picture and I’ll leave it at that.
A: What can we expect to see as it relates to the product line at Surf Expo?
JS: Quality, Simplicity, Team, Passion and Radness.
Justin and Randall
A: At the first official Company party will there be alcohol?
JS: I’m trying to think of something funny to say right now…Please hold (laughs).
RH: No, only scrabble and rummikub.