Brooks Sports, Inc. added Kurt Heimbach to its management team as director of apparel merchandising. Heimbach brings to Brooks 15 years of proven product and people management success in the athletic apparel industry.

Strengthening Brooks' existing apparel team, Heimbach's main responsibilities are to lead strategic development, business planning, line architecture, product creation, testing, and merchandising for all of Brooks' performance running apparel and accessories globally. His goal is to ensure his team continues delivery of purposeful products with the fit, features, and functionality runners need and want.

“I'm thrilled I've joined Brooks because it's a strong and growing brand with a singular focus on creating innovative performance product for the run,” Heimbach said. “The company is driven by great people who share this passion, and I'm excited to continue our tradition of creating fantastic apparel that's rooted in runners' insights and wrapped in technical fabrics, a great fit, and a fusion of performance with fashion.”

Brooks said its currently the No. 2 apparel brand in the specialty running retail channel. For all U.S. retail channels combined, the runner-driven brand currently posts a 22% backlog increase for Fall 2010 apparel.

Prior to joining Brooks, Heimbach served as the global apparel director for men's and women's running, tennis, and basketball at Reebok International Ltd., where he led three teams of product managers, designers, developers, and pattern makers. Prior to Reebok, Heimbach worked at Nike Inc. for 11 years, first in Asia, then Europe, and finally at its Oregon headquarters. During this Nike tenure, he held various positions managing technical apparel for men's and women's tennis, golf, and baseball categories.

“Even more critical than giving runners the best technical apparel to enhance their running experiences is bringing into Brooks the right talent who can make that happen,” said Hamish Stewart, senior vice president of international and apparel operations at Brooks. “We've found such a person in Kurt – a true product enthusiast with the industry knowledge and passion to make an immediate and positive impact on Brooks' future apparel collections.”

Heimbach, a Northwest native and devout sports fanatic, holds a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Oregon and an international business diploma from Nijenrode, the Netherlands School of Business.