Ryan Lilly of Johnson Outdoors talks about being raised in the outdoors, how he got into the Outdoor Industry, the fun he has developing water sports products for Johnson, and more.
First Exposure to the Outdoors
I think by default being raised in Maine, you are pretty much raised outdoors. You have to survive some pretty intense weather. Hunting, fishing, skiing, snow, and water is all a part of your existence . . . from the get-go. So you really learn to appreciate, recreation and latch on to activities that are outdoors. My first exposure I’d say is just being a kid in Maine and exploring.
Things we talked about
The University of Maine at Farmington
Anybody out there that’s listening that’s high school age or early college, I would think about making sure that you set yourself up to have real life experiences. Before you finished college. I think I had the leg up from some of my friends around me at the time cause I had set up my schedule such that I worked full time all through college. So I had business experience and some real applicable experiences to talk about when I was given the shot at K2. I was fresh out of college and they gave me a shot because of my retail background and industry experience.
A lot of people just hammer down and get college done which I say more power to them. But then they’ve got to try to figure out what to do professionally or have a harder time getting that first good job because they have to get some experience. So do what you can in college to get jobs that align with the direction you want to go in and try to build up some real-life experience there.
Then folks early in their professional career remember you’re never too good for a task. That’s one thing that I think being a new Englander, you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work just to stay warm up here in the wintertime. You have to be pulling your weight and doing your part.
If you’re early in your career and have a manager giving you tasks that you think you’re above, you need to reassess life, I think. Because you’ve got to pay your dues and do some dirty work in some crappy tasks that you think, why am I doing this? But you’ve got to get through that. That helps build respect with people above you and around you and also broadens your experiences.
Favorite Books and Podcast
The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko
River of Doubt by Candice Millard
Favorite Piece of Gear under $100
Connect with Ryan