He owns a manufacturing business, primarily working with high-tensile strength rotomolded polyethylene… you got that?
If not, I don’t blame you! To sum it up, rotomolded polyethylene is a plastic that is easily recycled. The “high-tensile strength” part means it’s ultra-durable.
In our interview with Travis, he gave us the rundown of how his connection with nature inspires his craft…
What are your materials and how do you think about them?
We work primarily with high-tensile strength rotomolded polyethylene. Ugh, that’s a mouthful. My appreciation for the material has grown as I come to understand more about the versatility, longevity, strength, and recyclability of rotomolded polyethylene. It’s the perfect medium for building complex designs that maintain a good strength-to-weight ratio.
Is there a specific moment in life or a series of events that instilled in you a passion for your craft or passions?
The moment happened when I lost my job in March 2020. Like so many others, I felt lost and rudderless. In a dark moment, I found myself in tears watching a Youtube video of San Bernardino National Forest. I was awash in memories of my youth in Scouts - I realized then I had lost my connection to the outdoors. I immediately packed up the car and spent 3 nights under the stars. It changed my trajectory in life, and I wanted to help people find that same connection with nature.
At the end of the day, why do you do your craft? Are there goals ahead, a constant love for the process, or a yearning to learn more?
I LOVE the grind. Launching a manufacturing business is hard, humbling, and unforgiving and I enjoy every minute of it. I’m just grateful I get to do what I love every day.
Do you have any “heroes’ to speak of? How are you inspired?
Go stand next to a 2000-year-old sequoia tree and you can’t help but get inspired. Through fire and storms, staid and true, the sequoia pushes on.
Can you tell us a bit about your passions beyond “work”?
When I’m not working, you can find me outdoors with my girlfriend and our dog, Moose. I’m also an avid scuba diver; unfortunately, I don’t get as much time to dive as I would like. Really, anything that gets me in the water or away from the trappings of daily life.
Do you find that these passions blend, merge, or complement your work?
I’m so fricken lucky, the grind is my passion. I get to use every part of my brain (creative, logical, etc). A day spent (primarily) outside the office is a great day.
Do you find these passions tied to given environments or landscapes?
We explore the beaches, forests, and deserts. There is no limit to where adventure can be found. The journey is the goal.
How do you give back to your community or to the underserved?
I try to regularly give back to my community. A key priority is promoting the use of public lands, specifically by people who may not typically have that access (economic, geographic, or other reasons). Through the business, I’m able to multiply my impact by partnering with local organizations who commit to expanding access of the outdoors to underrepresented youth, inspiring a new generation of adventurers and explorers.
Tell me more about your relationship with public lands. What do they mean to you?
Public lands are everything. American’s are blessed with protected lands of nearly every biome and climate. Unfortunately, we are losing access to these lands at alarming rates. Abuse of our lands and oceans (littering/illegal dumping, etc) is an unfortunate reality, things only got worse during COVID-19 as more people than ever flooded to enjoy the outdoors. I want as many people to enjoy these public spaces, it’s up to ALL of us to take care of them.
How has learning about the environment impacted your actions?
It’s really changed the way I look at my consumption. I opt for less packaging, ditched the bottled water, and reduced the amount of resource-intensive products I used (meats, certain ingredients, etc). I also look at my business a lot more closely to find opportunities to reduce and recycle as much as possible. We still have a long way to go, but it’s important that we start now.
What can concerned athletes, scientists, artists, or creatives do in the face of global challenges?
While Instagram posts and TikToks are great to tell the world you care, let’s see some real action. Join an organization, raise money, sell your left kidney (joking). Do something, don’t just pay lip service & count likes.
A key ingredient to building a sustainable future?
A book that shaped your life?
I can never pick just one ;-)
Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki
Positive Intelligence - Shirzad Chamine
Favorite artist currently?
In the headphones now? I’ve been jamming to Eddie Hazel.
Most sublime moment in nature
A night gazing at the stars in Capitol Reef, I’ll never forget the stars that night. I learned at that moment that my little problems on earth (no matter how much I inflate them in my head) are pretty damn insignificant in an indifferent universe.
Who taught you something significant?
I grew up with a neighbor who exposed me to the outdoors and took me on my first trip to Yosemite. He taught me to love the outdoors and everything it had to offer.
Any big sen moments in the outdoors?
Sitting quietly in the forest to hear the breeze rustling through the pines
What have been your biggest challenges?
Learning to let go of the small things.
Who has helped you along the way? How did they help?
I’ve had a number of helpers and well-wishers along the way, success depends on it. I’ve been especially lucky to meet my current business partner and lead engineer, Elden. I couldn’t do this without his help.
What do you do when you get out and away from the office/lab?
I try to get as far away from civilization as possible for a camping trip. No phone, no plans.
How can the outdoor industry change?
I’d like to see a focus on engaging and exposing new groups (especially underserved youth) to outdoor education.
How can the outdoor industry act to affect change with regard to outdoor recreation and public lands?
Promote diversity (diversity of background, culture, orientation, style, gender, and way of thinking) in everything they do. I’m tired of mission statements promising to “Stand for Equality/Justice/etc”, just for the company to continue operating in mostly the same manner.
What other brands do you love?
REI has always been a favorite of mine. Another is Patagonia.
What keeps you going?
I feel a sense of duty to build something, be a part of something bigger than myself. I don’t care about the money (there ain’t much of it anyway!); at the end of the day, I want to see the business grow and create a couple of well-paying jobs along the way.
Do you have a mantra?
Stay humble. Stay hungry.
A peronal style?