Ed van Wezel, the 34-year-old CEO of Hi-Tec Sports, has been named an honouree of the 2012 SGB 40 Under 40 Awards. This annual trade award, now in its fifth year, recognizes sports and outdoor industry leaders making a difference in their businesses and the market. The forty recipients were selected by a panel of SportsOneSource analysts, editors and industry executives from more than 450 nominations received from around the sporting goods industry.

“These awards are a way to recognize the great work done by younger leaders in our industry,” said James Hartford, president, CEO of The SportsOneSource Group, which publishes the SGB trade publication. “The extraordinary and diverse talent nominated again this year made it difficult to narrow the list to just forty people. We drew very strong support from prior honorees and other industry leaders to select a prestigious group of individuals and it is our pleasure to honor the next generation of leaders.”

“I am very appreciative of this recognition. Now is such an exciting time to be in the outdoor and sports industry where so much opportunity exists. Our industry is constantly changing and evolving in leaps and bounds, facilitating new ideas and allowing leaders of all generations, but especially the younger ones, the fantastic opportunity to make a difference. This is inspiring and highly motivational,” said Ed van Wezel.

Son of Hi-Tec Sports’ founder Frank van Wezel, Ed was born into the family business of outdoor and athletic footwear, but that’s not how he became head of the company his father founded in 1973. He had to earn that position by proving himself to the company through hands-on work in all aspects of the business, from the warehouse and production lines to being a retailer shoe representative.

Ed’s hands-on experience provided him with a multi-faceted insider’s view and a keen understanding of the intricacies of its global business, and he was named Global General Manager in 2009. In that role, he headed the relocation of Hi-Tec’s global headquarters from Southend on Sea, UK to Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 2010.

In 2011, Frank van Wezel, as chairman of the Hi-Tec board, turned the running of the company over to his son. Today Ed oversees a company with annual sales of more than $250 million, over 500 employees worldwide and sales in over 80 countries. He has an aggressive plan for growth in the U.S. market that is based on making substantive structural changes, both in his executive team and product design teams. Since he became CEO, Ed has added industry veterans to the Hi-Tec team, including Hi-Tec USA & Magnum USA CEO Brad Gebhard.

Image courtesy of Lee Weinstein & Associates

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