Like many sports enthusiasts, Vancouver native Max Jenke dreamed of becoming a professional snowboarder as soon as he learned to ride at age 12. But unlike most, he managed to make that dream a reality in a few short years, and went pro at age 16.
But after three blown ACL ligaments in his knee prevented him from competing in 2002, he took up a new passion: using his knowledge of the sport and the industry to create Endeavor Snowboards with his friend and photographer Scott Serfas.
“I was always involved in design and marketing with the brands I was sponsored by, so it was a dream to start my own thing,” says Jenke. “I had spent years riding other boards, so I knew what I liked and disliked in a snowboard.”
Endeavor snowboards thrived in the following years thanks to their award winning Seamless Sidewall Technolgoy, which Jenke developed after investing in Canada’s only snowboard lab. Today, his unique snowboards are sold in 20 countries.
As a result, Jenke spends much of his time travelling the world, overseeing production in Asia, visiting retailers in North America, and attending trade shows in various locations all over the planet.
“The trips are always full-on — long days, late nights and early mornings,” he says, adding that he occasionally gets in a few rides before returning home. “I’ve been (snowboarding) throughout Japan, an indoor snow dome in England, and for the first time this year we went to the Austrian Alps, which was an insane experience.”
But whether in a factory, on a convention floor or on the slopes, Jenke says that reliable communication is vital for any business owner on the road.
“Travel plans are always changing, so being in contact with our colleagues at the factories to advise them if our flights have been delayed is critical for a smooth trip,” he says. “It’s a comfort thing. Being connected means that even in the most remote location in China, you can call home.”
Documenting such adventures abroad has also become vital to Endeavor Snowboards’ social media marketing strategy, where their 3,000 Instagram followers and 16,000 Facebook followers can keep up with the company’s latest innovations, as well as Jenke’s travels, in real time.
“We actually use our phones for all of our social media marketing, so it’s key the phone works anywhere in the world so that we can access Facebook and Instagram,” he says. “We use Rogers for all of our company’s smart phones.”
Combining the need to be connected and current options available to travellers when they go abroad – investing in a low-cost travel plan, just using Wi-Fi in a coffee shop or other venue, or depending on a prepaid local SIM card – Jenke doesn’t take any chances and relies on simple and hassle-free data plans that ensure he is connected and protected from large bills.
Jenke just returned home from a week in China and it won’t be long before he’s back on the road again, but he knows that no matter where his next adventure takes him he won’t lose touch with his head office in Canada and partners around the world.
“Being connected is key to maintaining and growing,” he says. “My phone works everywhere, and that’s all I need.”