Black Diamond Equipment Co-Founder On Recalls, Acquisitions


Black Diamond Equipment co-founder, president and CEO, Peter Metcalf recently sat down with Skiing Business to talk about the company’s past, regarding recalls of the skiing and snowboarding pack, the AvaLung, as well as the company’s future plans.

What new market segments are you looking at?
We've cracked the nut with ski boots, so there are opportunities there. It makes sense for us to do more with footwear and apparel too. If we enter a niche, we are going to do it in an innovative way – not just doing the same thing as everyone else.

BD prides itself on quality assurance. How did the AvaLung recall hit you guys internally from both a financial and moral standpoint?
The fact that our friends and families and we all use this equipment means that the moral issues jump to the forefront before anything else. For us, safety is always more important than money. We would never want our friends, kids, parents, siblings or anyone else using gear that could fail in the field.

The AvaLung recall was an issue that was discovered internally before anyone ever experienced an issue in the field. We took a couple days to figure out why it happened and how we can fix it. Despite massive testing before it was on the market, this was a case of the unknown unknowns. We couldn't have predicted how the medical tubing would crack if it was really cold. But as long as our employees continue to test products and use them everyday, we'll keep making products better.

In terms of money, it was a hit. I can't reveal exact numbers, but we sell AvaLungs worldwide and we took them all off the market. We missed the entire season and lost a lot of revenue from it. It hurt.

We will never sacrifice safety for making a buck.

Check out the whole interview over at Skiing Business.