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St. Croix Rod
Search for Chief Executive Officer

The Organization

Founded in 1948 and saved from closing in 1977 by Gordon Schluter, St. Croix Rod (St. Croix) is a family-owned company and world-class brand with a reputation for quality, outstanding customer service, and commitment to anglers and fisheries. Products include freshwater and saltwater fishing rods, covering spinning, baitcasting, fly and ice angling with walleye, bass, muskie, surf and inshore saltwater rods as staples. About 85% of sales are in the United States and Canada with Russia, Italy, Lithuania and France making up the bulk of sales overseas.

Unique to the fishing rod industry, St. Croix has complete control over the sourcing, manufacturing and craftsmanship that go into building their rods. Each rod is a product of the passion and attention to detail of the talented people who make them. It takes 32 pairs of hands to carefully craft, assemble and test a St. Croix fishing rod. St. Croix has grown into the largest fishing rod manufacturer in the country.

St. Croix has built the most advanced fishing rod facilities in the world. The 65,000-square-foot St. Croix Rod company headquarters in Park Falls, Wisconsin, is an all-encompassing facility and includes a retail shop, customer service center, design and engineering offices, manufacturing, warehouse and shipping. The facility has become a popular tourist stop for those wanting a behind-the-scenes look at how sheets of carbon fiber are transformed into high-end handmade fishing rods. The Company also owns a 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Fresnillo, Mexico.

As a family business, St. Croix Rod remains driven by integrity and humility, using them as the foundation for all of its operations. The Company’s Beliefs and Values are a reflection of its culture and philosophy.

They Believe:

  • Every angler deserves the best fishing experience possible.
  • In being equipped and prepared for the moment opportunity strikes.
  • You can only provide control if you are in control.
  • Legacy is being written everyday – with decisions today determining our success tomorrow.

They Value:

  • Contributions and successes of all individuals.
  • Protecting and preserving the things that matter most.
  • Taking care of people like family.
  • The persistent pursuit of perfection.

For more information, please visit the St. Croix Rod website at:

The Community

Park Falls is the Ruffed Grouse Capital of the World, where the city’s slogan is “bridging nature with industry.” In addition to St. Croix, local industries include Flambeau River Papers, Park Falls Hardwoods and Saunders Wood Specialties.

Located in the woods of North Central Wisconsin, primarily the Chequamegon National Forest, Park Falls is a small community divided by the North Fork of the Flambeau River, a popular destination for fishing, hunting, camping, canoeing and whitewater rafting.

For more information, please visit:

Position Summary

Due to the planned retirement of the President of the Company, the Board of Directors is embarking on a search for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The current President and the Board of Directors have been thoughtful about the leadership transition and are seeking an executive who will grow the “direct to angler” business/eCommerce channel and lead St. Croix to future success.

The CEO will champion the Company’s vision, drive the creation and execution of the strategic plan, develop a high-performing executive team and lead St. Croix through its next stage of growth. Working closely with the Board, this position will have overall management responsibility for all aspects of the Business, including profit and loss accountability and organizational management and development.

The CEO will represent the Company, as appropriate, in its relations with anglers, retail trade partners and the community to promote a positive image in the industry and enhance business growth and success.

Reports to:

Board of Directors

Other Key Relationships:

Director of Sales
Director of Marketing
Director of Human Resources & Finance
Director of Engineering & Manufacturing

Position Location:

Park Falls, Wisconsin

Key Responsibilities

Strategic Leadership

  • Effectively partner with the Board of Directors to develop, align and execute the overall company strategic business plan.
  • Lead the development and execution of the Company’s overall growth plan including growth strategies by market, channel and geography, with a strategic priority placed on growing the “direct to angler”/eCommerce channel.
  • Provide visionary leadership for new ideas, approaches and new product development while welcoming input from others.
  • Leverage management frameworks, specifically utilizing The Balanced Scorecard Approach and Strategic Mapping, to operationalize and measure company performance.

Financial & Operational Leadership

  • Responsible for the Company’s P&L and balance sheet and for establishing production, sales and profitability goals.
  • Enable the team to deliver on production, sales, profitability, and cash flow goals and objectives through day-to-day leadership and management of the Company.
  • Ensure that revenue growth is achieved in a responsible and profitable manner.
  • Ensure that financial performance is reported timely and accurately to the Board of Advisors, demonstrating rigor, accountability and a high level of analysis, with a clear goal of providing quantifiable results and increasing company value.

Marketing & Sales Leadership

  • Build strong marketing and sales capability, including “direct to angler”/eCommercemarketing and sales.
  • Champion a culture of innovation in the design and development of new products.
  • Maintain and develop strong market awareness, including the competitive landscape, opportunities for expansion, customers, markets, new industry developments and standards.
  • Maintain strong industry visibility.
  • Strengthen key account and opportunity management capabilities.
  • Identify and drive best practices across the Organization.

People Leadership

  • Develop trust and maintain a leadership presence throughout all parts of the Organization in order to effectively collaborate with and influence others to achieve results.
  • Hire, develop and retain a high-performance team.
  • Foster a collaborative culture and positive work environment to retain and motivate employees to achieve superior results in an environment of open communication, teamwork and high employee engagement.
  • Embrace the culture of the Organization and represent and promote the Company at industry events, sales and business meetings, and in the local community.

Leadership Competencies

As a leader of St. Croix Rod, the CEO is expected to demonstrate the following Leadership Competencies:

Visionary Leadership

Develops a clear, focused and inspiring vision for the future. Models excellence and galvanizes others to embrace the vision and strategy, and helps them see their role in the Organization’s success.

Strategic Acumen

Understands the market, identifies trends and drives the Organization to create comprehensive, competitive and breakthrough strategies. Prioritizes strategically, leading the Organization to pursue and capitalize on the best opportunities.

Drives Results

Proactively anticipates future needs and creates a mechanism for overcoming hurdles, setting high standards for the Organization and holding others accountable. Ensures organizational strategies are translated into measurable objectives and actionable plans.

Sound Decision-Making

Possesses strong intellectual curiosity and the ability to analytically, conceptually and critically evaluate information to determine relative strengths and weaknesses of ideas and proposals. Comfortable managing ambiguity and balancing action with the appropriate level of risk.

Builds Talent

Develops and maintains high-performing teams and coaches other leaders to develop their own leadership capabilities. Ensures all leaders and team members challenge and support each other while respecting others’ unique roles and contributions.

Customer Focus

Seeks an integrated understanding of current and evolving customer needs and guides the Company to support the interests and success of customers accordingly. Continuously monitors customer experience and establishes systems to incorporate feedback and anticipate opportunities to deepen relationships

Ideal Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will be a seasoned executive who brings a successful track record of progressive strategic leadership within a multi-channel (including eCommerce) consumer products environment. A background/familiarity with Outdoor and Recreational consumer products and proven success positioning premium brands is ideal, as is experience in manufacturing. S/He will be a proven leader of people whose track record of success leading transformational growth is coupled with a humble, low-ego, down to earth management style.

Leadership experience with a privately-held company, either family-owned or private equity-owned is preferred. S/He should be comfortable navigating a family-owned businesswith the appreciation and abilityto create and maintain clear boundaries between owners and management. Experience supporting and serving on a board of directors is highly relevant.

S/He will possess outstanding listening and communications skills and demonstrate the ability to present information in a clear, concise and effective way across all levels of the Organization including company employees, management and ownership.

The individual will be able to motivate, measure, coach and mentor the management team and employee base to ensure optimum operating performance and be highly visible with a “walk the floor” style. S/He will be collaborative by nature and possess well-developed interpersonal skills as well as the ability to develop chemistry with the existing team, hold people accountable and infuse organizational discipline while maintaining the core values of the culture.

A demonstrated ability to build successful relationships across all levels of the Organization is critical. The ideal candidate will be both decisive and approachable. Additionally, the successful candidate will be appreciative of the connection between St. Croix and the Park Falls community.

A bachelor’s degree required, an MBA or advanced degree preferred. The highest ethical standards are expected.

David Lyman

Rebecca Nash

Nora Klaphake