Profile Hincapie: Andrea Housley

Providing great customer service requires good listening skills, excellent working knowledge of our business, and a friendly attitude. These are some of the many traits that Hincapie Customer Service Representative Andrea Housley utilizes when helping service our dealers and consumers.  She’s the first person you get on the phone when you call the office, so we thought we would focus on her for this week’s Profile Hincapie.

Andrea came to Hincapie Sportswear a couple years ago when a friend recommended that she contact the company.  “I’m not a cyclist, but I knew about Hincapie Sportswear from the local media coverage of George,” said the Alabama native. “My friend did boot camp with one of the employees and she said Hincapie was looking for a new customer service rep. I jumped at the chance to work here.”

We were looking for a customer service rep, and when we found out Andrea could do more pull-ups than half the guys around here, we knew she would be tough enough to handle any situation that might arise.  As an avid runner and cross-fit devotee, she is passionate about her fitness.  That athletic discipline carries over into her professional life and helps her keep track of all the activities around the office.  It’s good to have some detail-oriented team members like her to keep things running smoothly.

Her southern charm and her willingness to chat up the customers make her an excellent asset at shows and events like the Tour of California and USA Cycling Championships.  She’s looking forward to making her second trip to Cali, but her real dreams take her much farther away.  “If I wasn’t working here, I would be a professional chef,” she explains. “If I could, I would take a 2 month tour of Europe and take cooking classes along the way.” I think I’m going to start petitioning the boss for some continuing education credits so Andrea can master her Bouchees and Beignets.

This Bama-Girl has mad skills with a bush hog too!

If you call and talk to Andrea on the phone, tell her you read about her on the blog.  You can even send her some recipe recommendations.  Just leave out the “Paula Dean Pound of Butter” stuff.  We’re trying to stay fit for the racing season around here.  Thanks to Andrea for all that she does around here.  We’re glad to have her as part of our Hincapie extended family.

P.S. Happy birthday to Andrea. She's traveling with the Hincapie crew at the Tour of California this week but some friends surprised her at the office with some balloons before she left. It's bad when you have to celebrate your birthday when you are out of town on business but its not as bad when you're hanging on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Happy birthday Andrea.

Profile Hincapie: Emily Pitts

Family is the core of Hincapie Sportswear, and that concept extends beyond blood relatives to the people that make our company what it is today. Every week we will give you a look at one of our valuable team members to help you get to know Hincapie a little better.  This week, we will profile Graphic Artist, Emily Pitts.

Emily joined Hincapie Sportswear almost 5 years ago and, as she says, she’s “been making spandex pretty ever since.” She was designing t-shirts at a regional shirt company and longing for a better way to use her creative genius.  We swiped her resume from the pile of candidates at a local design firm and dialed her up.  We’d like to think it was love at first…interview, so we’ll leave it at that.

One of our strengths at Hincapie Sportswear is providing our clients with professional design services.  Emily is a big part of our success with helping our teams and clubs create the most attractive kits in the peloton.  It’s really amazing the way she can take the random inputs from a customer and crank out something that looks great and turns heads on the road.  This Greenville native is good at what she does, but it’s not the only thing keeping her going.

“I’d like to say I love spandex, but really, it’s my coworkers that make this an awesome place to work,” she said. “Well, that and the candy in the jar at the office coffee bar and the wine Wednesday socials at 5 o’clock. I mean, what’s not to love around here?”

Emily enjoys getting out on her bike now and then to relieve the incredible stresses of custom clothing design.

It’s an extremely exciting year for Emily and her husband Jonathan, as they are expecting a baby boy in September.  It’s actually been quite a distraction at the office with all the naming ideas being thrown around.  Some current suggestions include Muscles, Artimus, Day’quandray, Tiny, and our favorite…Little Don Ricky Georgie.  Obviously they need some help with the names, so feel free to make your suggestions.  Emily will bounce them all off Edward the guinea pig and get back to us with her final choice sometime around September.  Regardless of his name, we’re all excited to be welcoming a new mini-member to our extended Hincapie Sportswear family.

We want to send a big thanks to Emily for all that she does to help make this the best cycling apparel company in the world.  If she designed your latest kits, send us a picture of your team. If you’re looking for a new design, give us a call.  Emily is bursting at the seams with creativity (it’s not just the new baby).

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Baby Pitts.

Getting in the Spirit for Paris Roubaix

We had a great time on our Paris Roubaix celebration ride today. We promised cobblestones and we delivered!  Thanks to the dedicated fans that came out to join us.

We planned a route that featured 2 Pave sections (ok, we’re calling both of them Pave, but one was more like gravel).  We headed north from the Hincapie HQ on the Swamp Rabbit Trail to Pave section #1.  This is the short gravel section of the trail after Roe Ford Rd. that we normally curse, but today it was more reasonable.  You could tell that some of the group had been reading rider diaries from the race, because the pace immediately quickened over the rocks.  Just like in France, right!

We started from a gravel parking lot behind Hincapie HQ to get in the spirit quickly.

From there we headed back towards downtown over the base of Paris Mountain where (just by chance) we found Pave section #2, an unexpected Pave section very close to George’s house.  In the spirit of the weekend, the DOT had ground up the asphalt to prepare for a repaving.  At this point, as a rumbled over the rough surface, I couldn’t help but wonder how close this was to the actual torture they will face during the race.  I settled on “not even close” as I rode one-handed trying to shoot some video of the experience.

 

After the construction zone we headed back down North Main, retracing part of the USPro RR course. We were headed to Pave section #3, the only authentic “cobblestone” section in downtown Greenville. This would culminate our celebration and get all of us charged up for the weekend’s race.  Or it would at least give us a truer understanding of what George and the BMC boys will go through on Sunday.

We found our Roubaix replica cobbles behind the Upcountry History Museum.

Before you tell me that there are other cobblestone sections in Greenville, please realize that we aren’t talking about smooth brickwork with little tiny gaps between bricks. We’re not talking about the smooth, decorative pavers scattered around downtown. If you can roll your baby stroller across it without waking up junior, it’s not a true section of Pave.  We rolled up to the stones in front of the Upcountry History Museum thinking we would finally experience a little bit of Paris Roubaix.  What an experience it was?!?!  Those guys are crazy. One well traveled cyclist was with us and who had actually ridden through the Arenberg Forest on his bike.  He confirmed that the Pave section we finished on was indeed close to what they ride in the actual race.  Big difference is…we rode about 100 meters…and they will ride over 50 kilometers of that stuff on Sunday!  It was humbling to realize what they actually go through.  Good luck to George and the BMC boys this weekend.  Everyone that finishes that race deserves a trophy.

Those are some nasty rocks!

We didn't have any major mishaps, but we did break a shifter cable on our Pave.

Emergence Photo Shoot Fun

When I tell my cycling friends that I work at Hincapie Sportswear, they usually kid me about riding my bike all the time as if going to the office is like one big group ride every day.  Sure, we try to get in the occasional lunch ride and I do get to talk cycling for a living, but we all work pretty hard around here to make all this happen.  Some of our more challenging (but often times fun) tasks are photo shoots.  These take lots of preparation and planning to execute, and we all pitch in to help when needed.  One interesting shoot we did recently was for our new Emergence Collection.

Some people would never believe the crazy things we had to do to get this cool shot!

Emergence is a collection of brand new products that blend state of the art technologies with innovative aerodynamic designs and style to make garments that perform well and fit you like a glove.  We wanted the photos for these products to capture that spirit, so we had this genius idea to do a photo shoot under a bridge…on a public road…at night!  Yeah, I know you’re thinking the same thing I was when the creative team concepted the idea.  Crazy!  I’m happy to report that no one was killed during the madness, and it was actually kind of fun (when we got past the obvious terrors).

Kirk and Taylor found this awesome overpass on a side road in a fairly shady area of town that would give us this awesome backdrop for a great shot.  In an effort to save lives, we helped make the crew (that’s Taylor, Kirk, Emily and me) more visible to traffic with a combination of reflective vests and several red and green blinking Firefly Supernova lights from our friends at Road ID.  We also had radios to communicate within the team to make sure the road was clear before we shot our rider through the tunnel at full speed in the dark.  Traffic “control” (that’s Emily and me) would use flashlights to help communicate with the cars and the photography team would try to stay out of traffic in their orange vests and blinky lights.  The rider (brave Yuans)…well the rider would rely on the reflective treatments on the Emergence Jersey and Bibshort as he sprinted under the overpass.  Since nobody died, I’d say it was a huge success, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have our fair share of excitement.

That's Taylor in position before the darkness made things more...exciting.

This picture cracks me up! Doesn't Emily look super excited in her traffic control outfit?

Brave Yuans said the BMC SLR01 TeamMachine he road was inspiring enough to outrun the cars under the bridge.

 

I learned a few things at this photo shoot:

1. The road we used is twice as busy at night as it is in the daytime, so always check your location during the actual time you will be filming. Our night was further complicated by the added noise of our (not-so-portable) portable generator and the occassional freight train roaring over our heads.

2. Some people are “radio challenged” and yell into the radio, with their lips ON the microphone, rendering their broadcast useless and adding to the anxiety and confusion while you repeat, “what, what did you say…what?”

3. According to Kirk, wearing your bicycle helmet during a photo shoot will increase your chances of surviving being run over by a car. Luckily we never actually tested this one, but he wore his Bell helmet all night. (Still wish I had a picture of him that night!)

4. Most cars don’t really want anything to do with a man wearing a blinking light, waving a flashlight, on a side road, in a shady area of town, within 500 meters of a liquor store.

5. The reflective treatments on the Emergence clothing work great!

 

It’s never a dull moment around here!

USPro Press Conference at Hincapie HQ

We are very pleased to report that the Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Championships will return to Greenville for the sixth consecutive year in 2011.  We’re so excited, in fact, that we’re hosting the official press conference here at Hincapie Sportswear World Headquarters next Tuesday, Jan 18 at 2pm.  We’d love to fill the house with other excited cyclists, so please plan on joining us next week to get the scoop on all the exciting weekend activities.

 

 

The race is moving to Memorial Day Weekend this year (May 28-30), so we’re back to throwing a big 3-day celebration for the entire event.  They will announce the schedule at the press conference, and I know you’re going to be pleased with the weekend’s activities.  One reason to attend the press conference is to meet the reigning USPro RR Champion, Ben King.  He put on a fantastic display when he took the stars and stripes jersey last year, and he’s coming back to tell about it.  We hope you’ll join us Tuesday, Jan 18 @ 2pm at Hincapie HQ to show the sponsors and the media just how excited we are to have this event in Greenville.

 

WHO: City of Greenville, Greenville County, Greenville Hospital System, TD Bank & Medalist Sports

WHAT: News Conference to Provide Overview of 2011 Championships

WHEN: Tuesday, January 18 @ 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Hincapie Sportswear, 45 Pete Hollis Blvd, Greenville, SC 29601

 

 

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