Get to Know Orange Mud CEO Josh Sprague—and Vote Him Entrepreneur of the Year! September 03 2014, 0 Comments
So, big news here at Orange Mud—our CEO and fearless leader, Josh Sprague, has made it to the final round of Entrepreneur Magazine's Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year contest! So, just who is the guy behind the efficient, well-crafted, locally sourced sports gear? Here’s a quick Q & A so you can get to know him better.
Q: So, let’s start at the beginning. Can you tell us about your background, and how you became passionate about outdoor sports?
A: I grew up a country boy in eastern Kansas near a little town called Paxico. The country way of life meant no cable (we had just 4 tv channels), daily chores, and a work-hard, play-hard type of lifestyle. I had a wild childhood full of family vacations that were often spent road tripping across the country, camping, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, fishing, and generally leaving the itinerary open to what we may find at the next fork in the road. My friends now probably don’t believe half the stories that I’ve told them over the years about homemade zip lines, sleds built of roofing tin and 2x4’s (then pulled by a Dodge Duster at 60 mph), and skiing behind cars in our hometown (with nothing more than a bumper on a car for a grip and our boots as skis). There are probably many more I probably shouldn’t talk about! It’s these experiences that shaped my life, and with that the desire for adventure. Hence the fun of Orange Mud, a company that designs gear for anything outdoors. Most importantly, I design gear for adventure!
Q: Sounds like you had quite a childhood! Where did you get the idea to start Orange Mud?
A: My true passion is adventure racing. It requires a lot of strategy, team commitment, and is an experience that pushes most peoples’ comfort zones far beyond what they have ever experienced. For me it stimulates excitement, fear, and the feeling of being very much alive. When you’re on your feet for hours on end, though, it gives you a lot of time to focus on what works, as well as what isn’t working for you. For me, it was during this time where I consistently thought about stabilizing the weight of water close to my core and higher up on my shoulders so that the multi-directional movement of my hips wouldn’t impact the water. It took many years to take action on it, but after an Ironman training cycle I set the idea in motion and the rest is history. It’s neat now to see what has come about from a gun holster, ratchet strap, and waist pack driven prototype, now called the HydraQuiver.
Q: In your opinion, what makes someone a successful entrepreneur?
A: This one is easy: vision. My career has been in the medical device space, specifically in the contract manufacturing side. In this role I’ve met hundreds of entrepreneurs that lead fresh startups to finely tuned production machines. This has given me a lot of insight, but also helped to mold my decisions and actions around the success and failures of various types of leadership that I’ve seen. It’s amazing, however, as entrepreneurs come in all types. There are the ones that are the quintessential sales person with a lack of attention to detail, then the finance oriented bookkeeper who is the complete opposite. There’s the engineering-focused one who is solely product feature driven—the list goes on and on. All of these people have their own difference in leadership, personal interaction and impact on how the entire company operates on a daily basis, but vision remains constant. They know their objective and push for it daily, regardless of the setbacks that happen along the way.
Q: At the end of the day, what do you want for your customers?
A: To make exercise simple, fun and about exercise. I put a lot of thought into our gear with the sole purpose of making a product that fits as seamlessly as possible with your body so you can focus on what matters most. Someone makes my day almost daily with new product reviews and pictures posted to social media raving about our gear. You can’t put a price on that; it’s truly an amazing feeling to get so much positive feedback.