SmartWool had a busy month leading up to Summer OR, with new hires, new distribution expansions, and new NTS product for '05. Here's all the news in one release.

Smartwool has hired Mark Bryden as Vice President of Operations and Supply Chain. Mark is making the move from Levi Straus & Co, where he has worked for the last 25 years. Mark led LSC most recently as a Vice President in the Asia Pacific supply chain and production management organization. “Mark brings an enormous amount of production and supply chain management experience with him,” said Chip Coe, President of SmartWool.

The company has also hired Brad Johnson as Apparel Director. Brad will lead the design, development and merchandising of apparel and accessories products. He was the Merchandising Director for Carhartt outerwear, which included all pants, jackets and underwear. He has also served as Merchandising Director for LL Bean's outerwear, underwear and accessories, Product Director for Terramar's technical base layer line, EC2, and co-founder of Big Agnes sleeping bags. He has also worked the free lance market as a designer and developer for First Light and Wave Sport's Xeric line.

“Brad brings a great balance of both small company and large company apparel/softgoods experience. He has a nice flow of entrepreneurial blood in his veins along with an unwavering commitment to innovation and product quality,” said Rob Mitchell, SmartWool's VP of Marketing.

SmartWool teamed up with Kenco Logistic Services, a third party logistics(3PL)/distribution provider in Chattanooga, TN, to raise the level of service to retailers. A 3PL firm generally has within any given building several clients. By combining the work requirements of several companies within one facility, a 3PL firm can spread out workload more evenly. Calculations show that in peak season, SmartWool will operate more efficiently in a 134,000 sq. ft. building but in the slow season, we only require 36,000 sq. ft.

The new space will accompany all seasonal times and the cost structure is not drastically altered. The new building will be over 450,0000 sq. ft., which should accommodate SmartWool's growth in the near future.
By uncapping the ability to grow in both space and in workforce, our distribution will be able to grow at the same pace of the company as a whole. Customers will receive faster turn around time, more accuracy and a better over all customer experience as products hit shelves much faster from the time they are ordered.

Jim Sykes, SmartWool's current Director of Distribution, will be managing all SmartWool interests on-site at Kenco. Sykes has over 35 years of experience and has worked as a client and employee in a 3PL environment.