Growing up on the East Coast, my wanderlust started young. At 15 I left home to ride freight trains and hitchhike all over North America. My first motorbike was a 1974 Honda CB550, which I bought after hitchhiking to Alaska for a cannery job. Since then I've explored many parts of the world by moto, including places like Africa, Asia, and South/Central America.
When I left home I also dropped out of school. I finished my education later, enrolling first at a junior college (Simon's Rock) and then at Colorado College, where I earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics. After several years in the finance industry, I went back to school again for a graduate degree in business. By the time I finished grad school nobody asked about high school anymore, and my nomadic teenage years were just an interesting campfire story.
Before Mosko I spent a decade running a consumer product design and manufacturing business. Our products were carried in thousands of retail stores worldwide. I saw again and again how the cost of an item would multiply as it traveled from the factory to retail shelves. I also experienced first-hand the challenge of designing something unique when you face the same costs and use the same factories as everyone else. After 10 years of that I'd had enough, so I packed my bike and headed for Panama. The trip had a few surprises in store (described in this article), and ultimately led to my partnership with Andrew and the founding of Mosko Moto.
My appetite for raw, gritty travel is currently stronger than ever, and motorcycles are still my tool of choice. The places I want to explore are endless. When I'm not on a moto I like to mountain bike, kite/windsurf, freedive, hike/backpack, snowboard, and do pretty much anything else outdoors. The Columbia River Gorge is my home & basecamp.
I was born and raised on the West Coast of BC where I learned to ski, mountain bike, and moto. I traded a pair of skis for my first bike, an SP250 Enduro. I loved long, solo explorations on the logging and mining roads north of Vancouver. Jeans, ski gloves, and hiking boots were my riding kit. I knew nothing about the sport of riding, and none of my friends had bikes, but I was hooked for life.
After high school I went to art college, and from there to a two year apprenticeship with a stone sculptor/designer in France. At 19, being free in Paris with a cash job and a bachelor pad was a very formative experience. As sculptors, we completed large installations all over France. We traveled to Spain and the stone quarries in Northern Italy. We even installed a large sculpture in a Saudi Arabian palace. In my free time between projects, I hitchhiked all over Europe. During this period, while living in France, I realized I was drawn more to product design than sculpture. For me, designing is like inventing: I enjoy creating functional items that people actually use.
When my apprenticeship in France was complete I enrolled at Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver, earning a degree in Industrial Design. Since then, working for companies like Burton Snowboards, Gravis, and Mountain Equipment Co-op, I've created many different kinds of action sports equipment, with a particular focus on soft goods. Most recently I spent 9 years as the lead pack/bag designer at Dakine, a soft good company based in the Columbia River Gorge. Designing products for 'peak' experiences like backcountry skiing, mountain biking, and moto really excites me. When Pete and I had the idea to build a business making hardcore outdoor gear for motorsports, I knew it would be a perfect fit.
Oh yah, I also have a very patient wife and two impatient little kids.
I grew up in bush Alaska where my family ran a hunting lodge. Our only access was by float plane, ski plane, or snowmobile. I learned to hunt, fish, trap, and survive alone in the backcountry from a very early age. I also learned to work on motors, because the nearest mechanic was an airplane-ride away.
I was home-schooled through a program created specifically for off-grid families like ours. When I was ready to leave Alaska for college, my interest in motors drew me to Flint, Michigan where I earned a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. As a student I was offered an internship at Insitu, a fast-growing manufacturer of aerial drones for the military, located in the Columbia River Gorge. After graduation, Insitu offered me a full time engineering position in their propulsion department, which I accepted.
The propulsion challenges we faced at Insitu were totally unique, many had never been solved on any prior mass-produced engine platform. My work centered on improving heavy fuel engines, and specifically how to burn heavy fuel in a spark-ignited two-stroke. It was fun to break new ground as an engineer, but as Insitu grew into a much larger company (and eventually became a division of Boeing) I missed working in a smaller, scrappier environment. When the operations & engineering position opened up at Mosko, I jumped at it.
Riding my DR650 - or my Ninja with knobbies - through the NW backcountry reminds me of hunting, trapping, and exploring the Alaskan wilderness by snowmobile as a kid. It's great to work in a business I love, and I'm happy to call the Columbia River Gorge home.
I grew up at the base of Mt. Hood in Oregon with a die-hard mountaineering mother. I was skiing at four, carrying my own pack on week-long hiking trips at six, and packing a rifle on hunting trips by nine. In middle school I played sports 10 months out of the year, stacking one on top of another. Our family motto was: work smart while you’re working hard.
My marketing career started in high school: back in the days of VHS, I created videos of myself playing volleyball and sent them to colleges. My efforts paid off with several full-ride volleyball scholarships. I chose the University of Iowa because they offered me a starting position as a freshman. We took a failing team to a #10 national ranking in three years, and I still hold the school record for the most blocks.
I graduated with degrees in journalism and film. After school I returned to Oregon to start my own digital services business. In my free time I learned to snowboard, and I traded my college Mac for a mountain bike. Working for myself was cool – what’s not to like about interacting with other professionals around the world while sitting at home in my pajamas?? However I also liked the idea of joining a growing business and being part of a team. That’s when I found Mosko.
Working in this rustic shop surrounded by motorcycles, a wood-burning stove, and leather couches from some man-cave totally suits my style. The banter gets me laughing so hard, and the customers I connect with online make it even better.
In order to really learn about the bags I just purchased a 2003 DRZ 400, and I'm learning to take it on forest gravel roads. Next on the list: drive deep into those hidden, golden spots in the woods and maybe share a beer with Sasquatch.
As a little girl in Texas I was kind of a tomboy and kind of a nerd. On weekdays, chemistry and literature courses ruled my life. On the weekends, everything changed! I was raising sheep for the 4-H program, climbing indoors at the local gym (I was ranked 13th in the nation by the USCCA), and ripping around the track on a YZ125. Not to mention a slew of other organized sports like water polo and softball.
After high school, it was decided… I was going to be a doctor. That was the plan. I studied chemistry at UTSA, took all the necessary prerequisites, and managed to work throughout college for a small family practice in San Antonio. My family relocated from Texas to California when I was 21, but I chose Washington. I’d always been attracted to the rugged landscapes and expansive wilderness of the Northwest and found it just north of Seattle in Everett, where I landed a position in cardiology, allowing me to further explore my interest in medicine and bolster my qualifications for medical school.
That first year in the Northwest my personal and professional interests began to diverge. On the one hand, my love of science and desire to help others was pulling me toward medicine so I applied to medical schools, ultimately being accepted at my school of choice. On the other hand, my love of motorcycles and thirst for international travel was were growing. I logged 15,000 dirt miles on my first street legal bike, a BMW 650 Sertao, and was already pushing the reasonable limits of ‘vacation time.’
Riding through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia resolved my silent internal debate. I wanted to see the world and meet everyone in it, and I still do! I came to the Columbia Gorge and somehow created my own position at Mosko, we're calling it ‘Director of First Impressions.’ What does that mean? Who knows. Sometimes I’m in the booth at motorcycle shows, sometimes I spend all day on the phone interacting with customers, sometimes I chime in on new products, and sometimes I’m just riding. Like everything at Mosko, it’s a work in progress.