Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pemba Serves

All Photos - David Sweeney

For the past 4 years and 8 months I've come to Pemba Serves each day and worked at a job that I love. The people that I've met and the relationships I've been lucky enough to form have changed my life and molded me as a person. It was a job that I sought after for a good 6-8 months before actually getting a real offer.

Many of you don't really know what I do, so maybe I should start there. Pemba Serves is a sales rep agency that specializes in high end outdoor, camping and climbing lines. We represent companies like Petzl, Mountain Hardwear and Atlas Snowshoes, among others. In short, I sell really cool gear to shops like Fontana Sports, Erehwon Mountain Outfitters and Midwest Mountaineering.

I will always count myself as a lucky person to be able to do the things I do to make a living. It's a job I wanted ever since I received my first Marmot clinic 11 years ago from Mark Giacomino. I count myself as incredibly lucky that I met my boss, Brad Werntz, and was given an opportunity that very few actually get. He took a chance on me and it's something I will always be grateful for.

In this industry, with this job, it's so much more about knowing the right person at the right time and having just the right skill set. I was that person in January of 2007. Very lucky.

What's funny is that one of my fondest memories about my first day was when Pete passed me a lime green Hirundos while I was in the middle of learning about our database and completely overwhelmed. I was astounded at how light it was and the simple act of playing with a harness calmed me down and made me feel welcome. I'm 90% sure that Brad had Pete bring that harness up from the warehouse solely for that reason. God knows that Pete doesn't care about harnesses.

It's those types of gestures though that make the outdoor industry so great. It's that type of kindness that makes it incredibly hard to say that today is my last day at Pemba Serves.

What's also great about the outdoor industry is that once you're in, there's a really good chance that you'll get to stay in. Starting tomorrow I'll be the sales rep for Columbia Footwear and Sorel Boots in Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and the Upper Peninsula.

I'll always look back on the years that I've spent at Pemba and think good things. It's a place that I've grown into and I truly enjoyed what I did. The people I've met and the coworkers I've had the pleasure to work with have been incredible. There are so many moments throughout the years that I'll look back on fondly.

In particular I'm going to have a tough time not working with Janice and Pete. Over the course of 4 years the three of us grew a friendship that was completely unexpected, but is something that I'll miss dearly.

Times change though, the opportunity was incredible and the offer I was given was something I simply couldn't turn my back on. It's something that was completely unexpected and is a job description that I couldn't have written better if I tried. Most importantly though, it's going to give me the opportunity to grow once again.

In climbing we constantly look for new challenges. New projects. New boulders. New areas. Having something new is clutch. It's something all of us rely on. I'm incredibly psyched for a whole set of new everything.


  1. happy for ya bud! We will have to do dinner now that you'll be in the Chi.

  2. Word on the street is that you got out just in time ;)