Gaston MacMillan at Mountain Hardwear

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Gaston:  I don’t have a big beard to hide behind. Let me borrow your hat. So what do you want to know?

Doug:    What was the circumstance – what were you doing that then made you want to start working at Mountain Hardwear?

Gaston:   So I was an environmental activist and we were doing stuff like pirating ships, and climbing the Golden Gate Bridge and hanging banners and shutting down banks, chasing down Mitsubishi and just general chaos and rabblerousing and civil disobedience,  and Martin was a big fan. He used to help us out. I used to work with this group called The Ruckus Society, and he’d help us out with these camps. He’d bring tents and sleeping bags for all of us poor low-bagger activists so that we wouldn’t freeze to death.

And I had quit my job and Martin said, “What are you going to do?” And I was like, “I don’t know.” And he said, “Come to work at Mountain Hardwear.” I said, “I don’t know what you do.” And he said, “That’s okay.” So he set up all these interviews so I could meet Paul and Mike and Chris Clark and Roberta and the guys that ran the distribution center and the guys, like Kent Laak, who ran the warranty department. And I didn’t know anything and I mean, I didn’t even know enough how to operate the computer to package a FedEx box to ship it to somebody. I knew nothing, but they hired me to fix broken tent poles and that was the start of my career at Mountain Hardwear.

Doug:   Wow. And what other kinds of activities did you do while there?

Gaston: Well, everything. So after about a year Paul Kramer pulled me up into the design department and I started working on creative and interesting projects; so welding pockets on the jackets, welding sleeping bags, welding garments together, developing new and interesting different kinds of fabrics, commercializing a new way of making waterproof, breathable gloves… so all kinds of weird R&D crazy stuff like that. 

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