Industry Insider: Andy Pruitt Retires, Vernon Felton to Canyon, & More

Jan 31, 2020
by Sarah Moore  



Alongside the many team rumours of the past month, there have been a couple of shifts to the landscape of the bike industry. Here's a roundup of the most significant hires and retires from the past month.






Canyon USA Adds 4 Marketing Staff
Canyon takes big steps towards promoting the brand in the US market

Canyon has hired four new staff this month. Vernon Felton takes the role of Bike Product Director and Global MTB Marketing Manager, reporting to Blair Clark, President of Canyon USA, while working simultaneously with Canyon GmbH's Marketing Director Simon Summerscales in Koblenz, Germany. Also joining Canyon USA are Scott Hart who becomes the U.S. Brand Manager, Jaclyn Mayer who is the new Marketing Events Manager and Tony Smith who joins as Service Course/Demo Program Head Mechanic.

"We are blessed to attract the talents of Tony, as well as Vernon, Scott and Jaclyn. They will help us continue our momentum to reinvent the cycling customer journey by putting the customer first, being responsive, transparent and authentic to our cycling roots," said Blair Clark, President of Canyon USA.





Andy Pruitt Retires from Specialized
The Body Geometry Fit guru retires after 20 years.

Andy Pruitt has been an independent consultant contractor with Specialized for 20 years. He was instrumental to the brand's Body Geometry Fit program and is considered one of the leading experts on the biomechanics of cycling. Pruitt played a huge role in helping Specialized develop their shoes, saddles, and extensive bike fitting program, working with riders and professional bike fitters from around the world.

His most recent project was the Specialized Mimic saddle.




Magura USA President retires
Julia Michels to replace Jeff Enlow

After 20 years as President of Magura USA, Jeff Enlow retired this month. During Enlow's time with Magura he guided the German brand's U.S. operations to grow OEM and aftermarket business in both the bike and motorcycle categories. Enlow will continue to support the Magura USA team on overall strategies as an independent consultant while Julia Michels has assumed the role of President & CEO of Magura USA from Enlow. Jeff Enlow said of Michels, "Julia has all the leadership qualities needed to be successful in her new role. I feel most confident passing the torch to Julia!"

Michels originally joined the Magura USA team in 2006 as an accountant but grew to fulfill numerous roles within the company including human resources, inventory control & purchasing, supply chain management, logistics, and information technology. In 2018 she was promoted to the Magura USA management team as CFO/Treasurer and now she becomes CEO/President as Enlow retires.







77 Comments

  • 81 7
 Vern is the man. I love his no bullshit style of reviews
  • 74 3
 Yes, I miss his contributions at PB
  • 4 1
 @cky78: same here
  • 31 7
 No-bullshit LOL."Shit bro at first I was sooo skeptical of Boost, but I gotta admit it's actually pretty damn legit" is every hard-hitting piece Vernon Felton ever wrote.
  • 16 4
 @Phillyenduro: Totally, the guy was as corporate as it comes. Look at where it’s landed him. Smart.
  • 3 4
 It just occurred to me Vernon has been missing from PB. What on earth happened? I loved reading his stuff.
  • 54 0
 @tbubier: Last thing I've heard, he's taken the role of Bike Product Director and Global MTB Marketing Manager, reporting to Blair Clark, President of Canyon USA, while working simultaneously with Canyon GmbH's Marketing Director Simon Summerscales in Koblenz, Germany. Not sure what happened in the mean time.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: I recall him being some level of mtb brand manager at big S, but I've forgotten more than I know so take with a grain of salt.
  • 5 0
 @tbubier: he left over a year ago and was at specialized. Pb had a departure piece when it happened.
  • 14 4
 @Phillyenduro: thank you. With all the sympathy to him and respect to his journalist career I would not call him no-bullshit. The piece on Boost was as pathetic as Srams own video on Dub.
  • 3 0
 I love this classic interview by Vernon: "You are either a pathological liar, or the most interesting man I have ever heard of." www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbZR33dF_x4 Anyone wanna guess who he is interviewing before clicking the link?
  • 7 3
 Vern. He parlayed softball reviews in to free stuff and endless bike launches in exotic places. He turned that in to a job at Specialized where he was the architect of their ebike marketing strategy. Not content to destroy mountain biking as a human powered sport he has gone to Canyon where he will try to destroy your local bike shop.
  • 1 2
 @vinay: He was hawking Specialized wares at The S tent at Crankworx this summer. Solid guy. Need him in the industry. Canyon sounds like a good fit.
  • 2 0
 @sngltrkmnd: RC? RC spent quite a bit of time at Mountain Bike Fiction. That publication was as fictional as the industry needed it be. We ate it up though - those glossy pictures of purple ano bling. Vernon and Bike Magazine legitimized the craft though, with gorgeous photos AND integrity.
  • 3 3
 @wibblywobbly: Harsh and underserved critique of Vernon.
  • 2 2
 @wibblywobbly: what? Did you go mad or something?
  • 2 0
 @jimeg: Negative. It’s Kevin Walsh.
  • 1 0
 .....
  • 36 3
 Vernon please retire from marketing and come back to MTB journalism, we miss you brother.
  • 21 1
 Marketing pays, journalism, not so much. I don't blame him one bit.
  • 45 1
 @TheR: is this Mike Levy’s burner account?
  • 4 1
 @TheR: I get that, actually I bet he could work a deal where he is able to write the occasional piece that is not product specific and still keep the industry marketing gig. Like his stuff on trail access. I know, only so many hours in a week, but I can still ask Smile
  • 6 6
 No, we DON'T.
  • 1 0
 @markkarlstrand: Unfortunately, there's a lot of potential conflict of interest there that both industries would like to avoid. Say he's writes something unpopular or controversial about trail access -- people not only come after him, but also Canyon. "Hey your guy wrote this! Why does your company believe this?" In the public eye, there is no difference between his personal belief and that of Canyon's. From the journalism side, they're like, "Well, you're just afraid to write something unpopular because it might negatively affect Canyon."
  • 14 0
 Come back? Since when is there a difference between MTB journalism and marketing?
  • 4 1
 @markkarlstrand: based on the forum facts in the link above that's exactly what he was doing last time he worked @ PB. I understand you gotta put food on the table, but not even a nod to neutrality if you're getting paid by one of the competitors in your "product shoot-out"
  • 2 1
 @TheR: Sad, but true. I really miss his writing with Bike and then PB. He has a wonderfully engaging style. I wish him the best of luck.
  • 20 0
 I feel like Andy Pruitt is responsible for the whole "ergonomic study" movement in our industry. Saddles from the 90's were terribly uncomfortable, but now nearly every brand offers cuts outs, flexible saddle wings, varying sizes. Thanks for saving our collective asses, Andy!
  • 6 0
 Canyon wants to own the US market and has money to spend to make it happen. It is a full on war between Specialized and Canyon right now and Vernon's move is just the most visible shot fired.

The challenge for Specialized is that they don't control the most important piece of the sales chain, which is actual customer interaction. They have to rely on their dealer network and with the struggle that retail is experiencing in general, the quality of people/shops is not getting better. Canyon's advantage is they have FULL control of the sales cycle in every aspect. This allows them to ensure that interaction is exactly what they want/expect.

Specialized advantages are heritage (don't discount this) and a deep understanding of the US market that Canyon lacks. Look at the changes Specialized is making right now around geometry (SJ Evo/Enduro) and suspension design (Enduro and soon to be most of the line) and you can see that they are not just sitting back and watching their marketshare dwindle away.
  • 6 1
 You can tell how super-deep Specialized's market understanding is from the fact that they still use the Brain©.
  • 2 1
 "We can never compete with these Specialized geniuses!" Canyon's execs must confess to eachother.

www.velonews.com/2013/12/gear/specializeds-disastrous-trademark-case-is-unnecessary-to-defend-the-brand_310878
  • 2 0
 You’re so full of the S-juice. Did a season at a S-Shop this summer and virtually all Epics we sold were warrantied within months and so many bullshit failures. Theres a huge disconnect between S-corporate and their dealers. That’s their #1 issue, but canyon. They keep looking outward for issues to tackle and not inward, they will surely loose.
  • 1 0
 Specialized doesn't really have to worry about Canyon in the US yet.
  • 1 0
 Canyon is basically limited to enthusiast-level bikes and above. For every S-works Specialized sells, the sell 100 hybrids and $400 "mountain bikes" to folks who don't know any better or don't realize quality bikes are expensive. Those buyers rely on the bike shop sales floor experience, and Canyon seems to be wisely steering far away from that.
  • 12 4
 Quite a contrast in the photos of the outgoing and incoming Magura CEO. What does that mean?
I predict a rough year at Magura.
  • 10 4
 It takes business people to run a business
  • 3 1
 @drunknride: Transition proves the opposite. Not saying the owners don‘t know how a business works but they are still riders and it shows.
  • 4 1
 @fiatpolski: Transition is absolutely tiny compared to Magura, not really an apples to apples comparison. I am a rider that runs a business so I know it's not impossible.
  • 9 0
 Vernon, you slut!
  • 8 0
 No word on Dirt Rag? R.I.P.
  • 2 0
 I saw the press release yesterday. So sad. They were a fun bunch if you ever had a chance to meet them. And they had a no BS kind of approach to their editorial.
  • 6 0
 When I was a kid (before the interwebz), you bought MBA for the pictures but read Dirt Rag for knowledge.
  • 5 0
 there may be some pearls of wisdom coming from Vernon to influence Canyons mrktg game...and that seems likely, cause Vernon is like a sage, and Canyon knows it!
  • 6 2
 I'm reassured to know Canyon is continuing their momentum to reinvent my journey as a cycling customer *gag*
  • 3 0
 They've gotta have something to Strive for, no? Money needs to come from Senders like you. Smile
  • 3 0
 Scott Hart is a real get for Canyon. Real nice guy and the dude was at Red Bull for a while and competed in the first and second Rampage.
  • 2 1
 Good for Vernon but I have mixed feelings on Canyon's business model. One of my closest friends owns a small bike shop and as a mechanical dunce I'll forever be dependent on my LBS. I get a little territorial about business practices that threaten the little guys.
  • 6 0
 I've got a Canyon and I am a bit of a mechanical dunce (I can bleed my breaks but god help me if I have to adjust a derailleur) . Luckily the LBS has realized my money is green and is always willing to help out.
  • 2 0
 @mtmc99: I honestly thought i was the only person who can bleed brakes but not adjust their rear mech. Thanks for the comfort
  • 2 0
 Thought Vernon was happy at spesh
  • 23 5
 No one is happy at Spesh...
  • 4 1
 @dtroyan123: Andy Pruitt was there for 20 years. That's a long time to be unhappy.
  • 7 2
 @TheR: The boss aint paying people to be happy. I'm sure he stayed b/c he was compensated and like you and I, just wants to pay his bills and see his family at the end of the day.Just b/c good people work for bad people, doesnt mean its a good organization.
  • 4 0
 @dtroyan123: Speshially Vern
  • 4 3
 Vernon did what he could at the big S and they are very happy with the results. He rewrote fucking everything on their website and helped give everyone the last two years of killer marketing videos for the new stumpy and what not. He's the LeBron of the bike industry. Bringing championships to all the bike brands haha
  • 3 4
 @dtroyan123: Really? The place is full of lifers. Maybe they realized Vernon doesn’t really know what he’s talking about?
  • 6 1
 @jclnv: you must be new
  • 6 1
 @TheBearDen: That is false. He did not do with the stumpjumper marketing video.
  • 7 2
 @speed10: You've made a lot of assumptions, the first being he wasn't happy, the second that he works for bad people or a bad organization.

Another assumption everyone here seems to have made is that just because Vernon left Specialized, he must have been unhappy, when it could be a matter of just finding a better opportunity with another company.

Also, I don't get the wage slave mentality. I'm not saying every moment at work has to be filled with joy, but if you're genuinely treated poorly and find yourself miserable, you don't have to stick around. You can find somewhere else to work, and if you're good at your job, you will find a better place.
  • 1 4
 @ischiller: absolutley nothing eh?
  • 17 0
 @TheBearDen: His employment at specialized started after the film project started. I know, I co-wrote the film and directed it.
  • 3 0
 @speed10:

Doubt it was about the money... he was a practicing physician in Boulder, CO.
  • 2 3
 @ischiller: Ooooh you'r Ian Schiller. Well thats kinda neat to see you around here hahaha.
I was under the impression he came in right in as the project began. My bad!
  • 7 0
 @TheBearDen: It's all good. I love the site and the discourse around the sport, however PB is also filled with many false narratives. Sometimes I comment. Dustin Cook also deserves equal credit on the film. He and I write together and work on several of the film projects for Specialized. He is not on PB tho.
  • 1 0
 @ischiller: well hey you did the video and so you deserve that credit. For some reason I thought a part of him coming in there was mainly to tackle the website copy and what not but was also working along side all the new marketing campaigns.

Cheers.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: He was an "independent consultant contractor". Smile Big difference.
  • 1 0
 @Frontrange: fair point. Idk that
  • 1 0
 @speed10: Or maybe you have absolutely not clue why he stayed and you're just making an assumption.
  • 1 0
 @kilz: def making an assumption. I stand corrected.
  • 1 0
 Canyon: so blessed.
  • 1 0
 Bet you won’t see a canyon in the town where Vernon lives though!
  • 1 0
 @truehipster: I have seen a canyon in Bellingham... And if be willing to get I'll see him on one in the future.
  • 8 10
 First Jared Graves, and now Vernon escaped Spesh. Good for them!
  • 33 1
 Yeah it’s just Bruni winning everything in DH, what looks like the most talented road cyclist ever, Tom Pidcock etc and all the new bikes getting rave reviews but otherwise they’re a sinking ship LOL!

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