SEPT 24–BEHIND THE SCENES WITH MSR’S DAVE CASELLA
Dave Casella is one of those happening cool people that you could hang out with all day and go bench racing. Just ask any of the MSR team riders, who talk to him on a regular basis. Dave wasn’t always the life of a party though. Only a year ago Casella stepped into his current role at MSR, and from there the company took on a completely different look. After the recorder tape broke the first time we interviewed Dave (sorry again!), we caught up with him again to ask about the revamped MSR, Malcolm Smith, and signed riders.
Let the party begin. What?s your role at MSR?
I am the Marketing Manager for the entire MSR brand. That includes the motocross, off-road, and hard parts division.
It sounds like you have quite a few responsibilities. Give us a day in the life of Dave Casella.
Well, I work with the design team on all of the designs, then I go over some marketing issues, and then I connect with all of the team riders and make sure that they have enough gear as well as just seeing what they?re up to.
For 2005, MSR has completely revamped their line of gear. How big of a part did you play in the restructuring of the brand?
I think that I just brought a fresh idea and look to the brand this year. The designs here were awesome and were some of the best in the industry, but I think that MSR was stuck in somewhat of a rut. When I came to work at this position, MSR was ready to move on and really tackle a new project. I gave everyone a direction of where I wanted the gear to go, and everyone just grabbed the bull by the horns and came up with some of the best gear out there.
When I came on board, within the first week we developed a new icon and logo. We pitched the designs to the corporate office and they loved them. From then on, we implemented the designs. We started off by doing promotional t-shirts and hats and let it bleed out in the industry so that it wasn?t completely in your face for 2005. By the time the gear came out for next year, everyone had already seen the new icon and logo, so I think that it worked very well.
How much of a role does Malcolm Smith still play in MSR?
Malcolm pays a big role in product development. Anytime we do any cross-country gear, all of the samples go to Malcolm for testing. He?ll take the gear out to Baja or anywhere off-road and put it through the torture chamber. He also comes in every week with fresh ideas on where he wants to see the products headed. He?s a key player at MSR.
How important is the ATV market to MSR?
The numbers are huge on units sold in the ATV market. We?re just now starting to address that and get in more and more with the ATV market. This year we really focused on motocross because we didn?t want the brand going in all different directions at the same time. Now that we have motocross and off-road at the same level, we?re really going after ATV riders.
MSR is very different in that you also have hard parts. Why do you also carry hard parts?
It all started off when Malcolm ran MSR solely and he developed some great hard parts that people loved. There?s just such a huge market for hard parts, and I think people would be really surprised at how many hard parts we sell. It?s great to have those products that work very well and are also at a great price.
Where did you work before taking the job at MSR?
I owned my own apparel company called DV8 Industries, which was a BMX, mountain bike, and motocross company. I ran it for about seven years, and then it was bought out by a distributor.
What is your relationship like with the ATV riders? Do you attend many of the races?
Right now I haven?t been to very many ATV races. Our rider support guy will be doing that very soon. We?re looking at sponsoring a couple of racers and actually sponsoring some teams. We?re looking at the ?05 budget and we definitely want to be a player in the ATV market.
Who do you sponsor for ATV?s?
We?re getting a fresh start in ATV racing and we?re accepting resumes right now. We want to pick some top guys.
How do you like your job thus far?
I love it! It?s crazy working all week and then taking off for the races on the weekend, but you can?t complain about working in this industry. It?s a dream come true. Being able to hang out with the pros and everything is just a blast.
Thank you for your time, and keep the MSR team riders in check.
Hey, thank you.