It’s been said that aligning one’s passions with one’s vocation is a fundamental formula for happiness. A big part of making the Best Rods on Earth®comes down to having the best – and happiest – people on Earth, people whose love for fishing drives them to help other anglers enjoy better experiences. One such individual at St. Croix Rod is Alex Smay, a passionate angler and former Northeast Regional Account Manager who was recently promoted to Regional Sales Manager.
Smay started with St. Croix Rod in December of 2017 as a Regional Account Manager (RAM) covering New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. He came to the St. Croix Team with nine years of experience at one of Pennsylvania’s largest independently owned sporting goods retailers where he worked in customer service, sales and marketing roles.
“I have a strong desire to see more independent retailers thrive and grow with us,” says Smay. “Working with around 170 independent accounts in the Northeast has been a lot of fun and really eye opening. Our retail partners there are really dialed in to their particular fisheries, both saltwater and freshwater, and do a great job of making sure the right rod is put in the anglers’ hands. As Regional Sales Manager, I’m looking forward to working in a larger region to continue growing the St. Croix brand, improving the angling experience for even more anglers, and making it even easier for our retail partners to do business with us.”
“Even after nearly 75 years in business, St. Croix continues to grow because of the simple fact that we never stop listening to and responding to the needs of anglers,” Says St. Croix Vice President of Sales, Steve Self. “Our retail partners are a primary conduit for much of this critical angler feedback, so the relationships our Sales Team members have with those partners are very important and highly valuable. Alex has proven himself over the past four-and-a-half years and firmly understands what it takes to advance St. Croix’s mission of improving the fishing experience for all anglers. We have the highest confidence in his knowledge and abilities and this is a great illustration of growing from within.”
In his new role as Regional Sales Manager, Smay will go from managing sales at approximately 170 independent retailers in his old four-state region to managing all sales in 14 eastern states and Canada, as well as a few key accounts outside of this territory. “I’ll be managing a team of reps within the region to handle the day-to-day sales with our independent dealer base and will be working directly with several key accounts,” Smay says. “Dunkin Lewis is our rep group throughout the Southeast and TALO states. We have recently chosen them and four members of their team to take over day-to-day sales responsibilities in my old territory and I know they are going to do a fantastic job. I’m looking forward to working with them and the rest of the sales team that has been with us for many years in this area that includes so many great fisheries and passionate anglers.”
Smay lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with his wife Alissa, three-year-old son Henry, and six-year-old daughter Charlotte. They love to fish, particularly at their cabin in North Central Pennsylvania for panfish and trout. “It’s been something that we never wanted to force our kids to do, but they’ve taken to it and are constantly asking to go,” Smay says. “I’m centrally located in the territory, which works nicely as I’ll still travel with our reps to visit retailers within the territory from time to time. Our key account partners have been integral in introducing a wide array of anglers to the St. Croix brand. With the launch of several new series in 2022 and 2023, together, we have an incredible opportunity to continue to bring more anglers The Best Rods on Earth®, specifically designed for their favorite species and fisheries.”
Aside from the satisfaction Smay derives from working with St. Croix’s retail partners, he says he’s grateful to be a part of the St. Croix family.
“When I first took the role of RAM, I didn’t realize how closely I would get to work with all of the teams throughout the company. The best part of working for a family-owned business is that we work together like family. We challenge each other to be the best at developing rods, bringing them to market, and reaching the most anglers we can. It’s been an incredibly quick four-and-a-half years and I’m looking forward to the many amazing things this team has planned for the benefit of anglers on the horizon.”