FATBMX: What's your position at Oakley?
Steve: My position here at Oakley is Sports Marketing manager and it's a vague description of what I really do. My job here is to keep Oakley involved in the sports on two wheels with no motors and that's anything from BMX racing to the Tour de France, the Mountain Bike World Cup and Freeride, and Speed Skating. I just got back from the Olympics in Torino taking good care of those guys. What I do is try to stay authentic of what's going on with athletes that we work with. We like to work with leaders and role models of the sport and we try to give them solutions to the problems that they have every day with their products. I take their challenges or complaints back to the design department and we work with them, sometimes for years, to get the athlete what they're happy with. Hopefully with good timing we're ahead of the curve still and we give them solutions to their problems wrapped in art that is cool and has some sort of lifestyle to it.
FATBMX: What's all produced in-house here at the Oakley fort?
Steve: Here at Oakley we make all of our eyewear in-house and that includes RX lenses, injection molded lenses, lens coating, goggles as well, so eyewear specifically is made in this building and then all prototyping is done here as well. That goes from everything across the board. We've got a cut and sew room where we can make any kind of apparel whether it is some special kind of project for Brian Lopes or prototyping for ideas for the future. We also have the ability to make shoes in-house. We can design the sole on a computer and we got to a special machine where we can take the design from the computer and it will actually replicate a sole pattern and then we can look at it and re-design it, or tweak it. We do everything from head to toe on all our products. All prototyping and design goes on in this house. From here we then go out to different parts of the world which makes sense as far as manufacturing.
FATBMX: What BMX guys do you have on the team?
Blick: As for racing I can tell you that we've got quite a list. As far as our top guys are concerned, we've got Mikey Day. We've also been working with Afro Bob (ed. Robert de Wilde) for some time now. We've got Warwick Stevenson on the recovery list. Bubba Harris is on the program now. We've got some new groms to look out for like Anthony Derosa from the East Coast, we've got Chad Curley from San Diego and Jacob Abbey also from Southern California. Big props go out to YoYo (ed. Kyomi Waller) from the old school, he's out there still with Big Daddy (ed. Eric Rupe) and looking out for the team riders on the road when I'm not around. There's many other riders to talk about though like Brian Strieby who's running our product, John Purse is out there, shoot, I can give you a long list and I don't want to leave anyone out but there's a group of about 20 badasses out there in the BMX scene. When it comes to dirt we've got Steve Murray and you might want to check with Scurto who else we have, he takes care of all the Dirt and Freestyle guys.
FATBMX: What is it like working here? You spend a lot of time on the road, is it always good to come back here?
Steve: Working here is great because I'm surrounded by other people like myself that are on top of things in their own sports like we've got Chris who comes from snowboarding and you're sitting right where Greg from Ski is working from and I've got the surf guy next to me and the motor guy. I try not to be the "bike guy" only but I'd like to learn from other sports. There are trends that move in and out of other sports and I'm always inspired by other sports. Working here I'm always exposed to new products that are being developed and sometimes it's a while before they get released but by the time it comes to me handing the product out, I have absolute intimate knowledge of what it's all about. So when I present it to an athlete I got a story to tell and not just hand out a product.
FATBMX: You also take care of the Speed Skaters and just returned from the Olympics, who all from Holland do you take care of and how do you feel when they win a medal instead of Americans?
Steve: I take care of Marianne Timmer; "Timmer girl", and Erben Wennemars, Sven Kramer, Renate Groenewold, Jan Bos who I actually also get to work with during the summer because of track cycling together with his brother Theo. To answer your question, I'm not really a typical American. I'm just kind of a global guy that takes care of his family.
FATBMX: Are you more an Oakley guy than an American fan when it comes down to results?
Steve: Yeah, like last week in Torino I was more Russian than anything. I was taking care of the Russians because they never get to see me. I everyone that I work with gets treated exactly the same. It's a family and you can never play favors because you never know, you might not be paying attention for a minute and the next minute they become an Olympic champion. People remember how you treat them and I try to treat everyone the same.
FATBMX: Let's wrap this up Steve, anything you'd like to add?
Steve: It's important for everyone to know that Oakley started over 30 years ago with a mad scientist named Jim with an ambition to solve problems with science and wrap it in art and it started out with the grip which had its roots in BMX. BMX was probably the influence in everything that is going on today from ABA racing all the way to mountain bike World Cup. It's all about getting your feet on the pedals and feel connected to your equipment and just going for it. What that means to me is that I think I have the responsibility to give respect back to the sport that gave us our lives. For example Stu Thomsen is still getting product from us, and Andy Hampsten is the first American to win the Giro d'Italia, I was just hanging out with him over the weekend, and Andy is still a big part of our family. Speed skater Dan Jansen, Bonnie Blair, Afro Bob who lives down the street now. Once you're in the family you're always in the family. We have a very small unique team and as far as I'm involved I'm going to treat everyone with respect and that respect goes back to BMX.