How to Break Into The Cycling Industry – Brooke Bauer, Rolf Prima PR / Marketing

Brooke- Cross race3

While at Rolf Prima’s HQ, I had the chance to get an interview in with Brooke Bauer, who handles their PR and Marketing in house.  Brooke isn’t like most in the industry.  She didn’t cut her teeth working at a bike shop.  Instead, she started off in a sales job within the cycling industry, and racing bikes was the hook that kept her around. Read on for her story.

BIKERUMOR: Who are you and what are you doing here?

BAUER:  I’m Brooke Bauer and I handle pretty much anything related to Marketing for Rolf Prima. Whether it’s in person, at events and races, or behind the scenes on our social media, email, website, print ads and more, most likely you’ll find I had a hand in it.

Brooke - onFront_EugeneRoubaix race

BIKERUMOR:  What was your first job or experience in the cycling industry? How did you “break” in? 

BAUER:  I didn’t have the typical entry into the industry by starting out in a bike shop and working my up.  I actually grew up in the veterinary field.  My mother was a lead technician at a veterinary hospital and as a kid if I wasn’t in school I was at the hospital with her.

My first job in the industry was with Rolf Prima in their sales department.  I joined their inside sales team and jumped in with both feet as I knew I had a lot to learn.  Not only was cycling new to me, but the industry as a whole was new. A friend of mine from Burley set me up with my first road bike and quickly starting showing me the ropes of cycling in Eugene.  Before I knew it I was entering my first road race, although the end result was horrible, I was hooked and had found a new passion.

Brooke - Cross race2

BIKERUMOR:  What’s your educational background? 

BAUER:  Not really knowing what I wanted to do “when I grew up” I stepped away from college after getting my two-year in accounting.  I actually returned to the veterinary field as a practice manager and eventually moved onto a pharmaceutical sales position with a local distributor.  Yep, I was a legal drug dealer.  After awhile I got the itch to return to school and finish my undergrad.  I chose to pursue marketing as it seemed logical with my current sales position.

BIKERUMOR:  After that first experience/job, what was the path to your current position? 

BAUER:  When I first started with Rolf Prima I was in the process of finishing my marketing degree. At the time I looked at Rolf Prima as a stepping stone, but I knew I had found myself an industry and sport I wanted to stay in. After being with Rolf Prima for a little over a year, I was contacted by the owner of Burley. With a position that meant I could pursue more in marketing I made the hard decision to leave Rolf Prima – little did I know I’d be back. Almost one year to the date from leaving, Rolf himself retired from Rolf Prima and the company was looking to put together a strong sales and marketing team.

And let’s face it, they missed having a girl in the group. I made the jump back over to Rolf Prima and at first helped strengthen their sales force before I took on my current marketing role.

Brooke - CritRace_Bend,OR

BIKERUMOR:  What’s a normal day for you? 

BAUER:  I don’t know that I really have normal days, but for me that’s what makes it fun. I remember when I worked in sales and looked forward to the busy season, now every day for me is the busy season.

This time of year my days usually start by stripping the rain gear or extra layers off from the commute in – seems I can never gage how warm or cold it’s going to be for the morning commute. After I get through the morning emails, I dig into my most pressing items of that day or week; ad designs, video editing, sponsorship requests, contacting editors, press releases, website design and updates, event scheduling and race updates….

BIKERUMOR:  What are the highlights of your job? 

BAUER:  I’d say it’s the people, the people I work with, as well as the people I meet at races/events and get to know. This industry is full of great people, who at the end of the day, just really want to go ride bikes. How cool is that?

Brooke - Cross race

BIKERUMOR:  What could you do without? 

BAUER:  I would probably say writing computer code.  It’s not something I went to school for, so being self taught over the past couple of years, means I know just enough to get myself in trouble. I’m very thankful for the “undo” button.

BIKERUMOR:  What advice would you give to someone looking to follow your path today? 

BAUER:  Follow what makes you happy.  I never saw myself going into marketing or even working in the bike industry, so I can’t say I followed my dreams, but I did follow what made me happy and it led me to a pretty cool place. The other big thing I’d say is be willing to work hard, most jobs in this industry are not your typical 8-5 job.

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