Steven Elmes

BRAND STRATEGIST. EXPERIENTIAL MARKETER. CUSTOMER ADVOCATE.

Over 25 years of developing brand strategy and direct-to-consumer marketing experience with expertise ranging from scrappy start-ups to globally recognized corporations. Entrepreneurial background and drive. Demonstrated success in the realm of experiential marketing with a focus on new product launches, as well as a proven ability to bridge the gap between new business development and account side execution.

Case Studies

Brands I've
Worked With

My Journey

–– Personal

–– Work

1968

1994-2001
Co-Founder/Director of Sales and Marketing

One of 4 co-founders of this start-up employee owned and operated custom bike frame manufacturer with primary oversight of brand management, marketing and sales strategy, and product line development. DIRTRAG ARTICLE

2003-2004
Maverick American
Director of Marketing

Designed and implemented all marketing strategies, brand promotion and online presence both in the U.S. and in Europe for this manufacturer of high end bike suspension frames and forks.

2004-2006
SJE Productions (Chapter 1)
Owner

Started up a marketing firm to provide unfiltered and direct feedback with focus on building brand and product awareness through a combination of guerrilla marketing, media relations, event promotions, and related events to maximize results and ROI, despite lean budgets. Recruited by client, Match Action, for in-house position.

2006-2014
Director

Directed highly original Brand Strategy and Award Winning Experiential Marketing campaigns for top brands with a focus on new product launches. Clients included: Progressive Insurance, adidas , NBA, Pepsi, Ford, Lincoln, Clif Bar, Hi-Chew, BRP, City of Denver, Harley Davidson and others.

2014-PRESENT
SJE Productions (Rebirth)
Owner

Blending my agency and brand side experiences, along with my entrepreneurial mindset, I created SJE Productions to help organizations bridge the gap between strategy and execution with a consistent focus on how your actions impact your customer’s experience. Consider me a navigational partner.

2014-2015
Director of Marketing

Contracted Position. Provided stability and leadership, developed and executed all facets of Kidrobot’s marketing efforts prior to and through acquisition by new ownership group. Established new principles on industry and consumer engagement for the brand while simultaneously developing the relaunch strategy.

2016-2017
Director of Marketing

Contracted Postion. Provided stability and leadership, developed and executed all facets of the NBDA’s marketing efforts. Worked with senior leadership, including the Board Chair, on developing a revised strategy for the Association; one that would provide better benefits for members, stronger recruitment tools for the Association and strength through an updated communication/educational focused platform.

2016-PRESENT
Director of Sponsorship and Partnerships

Contracted Position. Oversee all facets of sponsorship for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, the premier consumer show for the handmade bicycle industry, now in it’s 15th year. Additionally oversee the development of local partnerships, including our yearly charitable partner, to drive awareness amongst consumers, drive ticket sales, and strengthen NAHBS’s relationship with the local market. Lastly, provide the owner with strategic direction and insights on overall show operations and opportunities.

2018

Board of Directors

What clients have to say

I have had the good fortune to work with Steve at both Kidrobot and the National Bicycle Dealers Association. Steve brings value to any organization well beyond his experience and expertise at marketing. With his skill to embrace and understand each company’s culture Steve brings a strategic planning approach to the organization that helps create alignment across the groups and individuals with whom he is working.

Todd Grant
Former President NBDA

With Steven’s strategic help Hi-Chew was able to make great progress over the span of two years. He saw the fundamental issues I was facing and was able to succinctly build a program that helped me achieve my goals. Steven is very dependable and loyal. This gave me piece of mind when dealing with a growing, yet still nebulous, brand that was in the middle of a transformation. I recommend Steven for his big picture strategies and constant loyalty.

Clayton Perkins
Former Marketing Manager, Hi-Chew

I can honestly say, Steve is a master of managing and building strategic experiential and social media marketing programs that deliver results. Over the past 3 years, we have forged a strong relationship with an eye on humanizing the Progressive brand and inspiring consumers to see Progressive as much more than just an insurance company. More importantly, Steve has an innate ability to inspire and push thinking while keeping an eye on the details while never losing sight of the big picture. He was a true partner, tireless in his pursuit of delivering the optimal experience for the brand, for executive management, for the product teams, and ultimately for the consumer. I am very grateful for the successes we achieved together and would welcome any opportunity to collaborate again.

Todd Matthews
Lead Marketing Events Specialist, Progressive

Contact


BORN 1968
The youngest of five kids (three girls, two boys) I was born in the town of Worcester, MA and raised in the small town of Thompson, CT. With no stores, one flashing traffic light, one restaurant, a church and a town common it was quintessential New England small town living, but our town was blessed with several big families, and so it was rarely boring. Not to mention, being the youngest of five kids meant I was rarely without company (some might call it getting mercilessly picked on by my older siblings, but I called it love).


GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL 1986
Being from a small town, meant all our schools (elementary/middle/high) existed under one roof, only the wings of the building separating one from another. So I traveled the halls of Thompson Elementary, Thompson Middle and Tourtellotte Memorial for my entire childhood, the beneficiary of small classes, great teachers, incredible peers, and graduated with 96 of my fellow classmates in 1986.

GRADUATED COLLEGE 1990
After a year at St. Leo College, in Dade County, Florida (who knew Florida had cows?) where I learned a valuable life lesson in getting my shit together, I transferred to Bryant College, in Smithfield, RI where I would major in Marketing and dabble in hotel management. Bryant College was where I also discovered the sport of Rugby, a sport I would go on to play for close to 8 years.

MOVED TO BOSTON 1990
After a failed attempt to relocate to Seattle, WA (it was the grunge era and seemed like a good idea), I found myself living in Somerville MA (suburb of Boston) and launching my career in hotel management. Now had any one of my teachers told me in Hotel Mgmt 101 that a hotel never, ever closes, I might have reconsidered, but they didn’t and I didn’t and so 4 years of my life whisked by in a flurry of bed-sheets, VIP Guests, and Front desks, and all the glory that is hotel management, before I found my calling in the bike industry.

LEARNED THE ART OF BOXING 1992
I simply wanted to buy a pair of boxing gloves, as a way to stay in shape, alas the old coach I met wouldn’t sell them to me unless I could prove to him I knew how to throw a jab (short story, I didn’t) and thus began the life-long pursuit of the delicate art of boxing. Oddly enough, that serendipitous encounter and the rabbit-hole it sent me down, has been one of the greatest personal and professional gifts I have ever been the recipient of. While my jab isn’t what it once used to be, I still enjoy the sport to this very day.


RACED THE LEADVILLE 100 ON A TANDEM 1999
Technically this was our second attempt on a tandem, the first in 1998 spawned after a night of too many margaritas and bravado. We finished in 98’, with only a half-hour to spare in the 12-hour window given to complete the 100 miles, and vowed we could do better. We returned in 1999 to win the tandem class in 10:01:37, setting a tandem course record that would stand until 2002. I returned to complete the Leadville twice more on a standard issue mountain bike. Oh the things one does to win a belt buckle.


RELOCATED TO BOULDER, CO 2001
Growing up in New England, family and community were values instilled in me at a very young age, so the notion of leaving wasn’t something I pondered until I began really traveling for my company. And so inevitably the company I helped start, Independent Fabrication, the very thing that should for all intents and purposes grounded me, would be the very thing that would lead to me uprooting myself and heading west in search of what? That question I would wrestle with for quite some time.

LEARNED TO RIDE A MOTORCYCLE 2002
With 5 kids to feed, some things we simply didn’t have access to growing up and yet I was always intrigued by motorcycles. My older cousin road one and I can still recall the first time he took me for a ride. I was maybe 8 years old. I was hooked, but some things we have to wait for. So at the young age of 34, I bought a motorcycle I didn’t even know how to ride, took a three day class and set myself on a path of adventure and discovery I never imagined. Today I ride tens-of-thousands of miles each year, have competed in races and ridden my bike through Mexico, as well as to Alaska and back.

LEARNED HOW TO PLAY ICE HOCKEY 2005
The only thing I knew about ice hockey growing up was that hand-me-down figure skates and a walk through the woods, would get me to the pond (nah, more like a swamp) and my friends would be there with make-shift nets, a fire and if we were lucky a thermos of hot chocolate. Fast forward to 2005, I’ve been convinced by several of my older friends that since their kids play hockey, we should all play hockey and since I once held a hockey stick, I should most definitely play. To say what occurred was embarrassing would be an understatement, yet life has a funny way of delivering gifts in the most unsuspecting ways. I’ve played ever since, to say I love the sport would be an understatement and I currently play 3x a week with an incredibly gifted and talented group.


SPENT 5 WEEKS VOLUNTEERING IN NEPAL 2006
Before transitioning from my consulting business to working for Match Marketing group, I took a bit of a spiritual journey and signed up to volunteer in Nepal with Volunteer Services Nepal, an organization that managed and owned orphanages. More specifically, they worked to bring honesty, love and care to the children caught in the web of a corrupt business practice. I spent five weeks living in an off-the-grid village and working as a handyman to repair/build/fix whatever it was the orphanages and kids needed. While I did my best to transforming their lives, they most certainly did a better job transforming mine.


FIRST MOTORCYCLE TRIP TO COPPER CANYON, MEXICO 2009
As I noted earlier, learning to ride a motorcycle has been one of the greatest gifts I’ve bestowed upon myself and in 2009 it culminated in a 10-day trip into a region of Northern Mexico known as the Copper Canyon. My longest trip and first foray into Mexico. Comprised of six distinct canyons, with most access via jeep and farm roads, many of the historic towns remain as they did when they were first built in the 17th century. The area is also home to the indigenous tribe of tarahumara, renowned for their long-distance running ability (made more famous in the Book Born to Run, to Christopher McDougall). So incredible is the Copper Canyon, the people and towns that inhabit it, I have made six return trips, each unique and special in its own.


VOLUNTEERED DURING THE BOULDER FLOODS 2013
In 2013, Boulder experienced what many called a 1000-year flood, ravaging homes and communities throughout Boulder County. In the midst of this chaos a ragtag band of volunteers, myself included, grabbed shovels, rubber boots and headed straight into the chaos. Moving swiftly and gaining access by any means possible to those areas hardest hit, we dug out homes, saved personal possessions, gave hope and assurance where we could to those in need. Our group, so aptly named The Mud Slingers, was by all accounts the beautiful, poetic, perfect response from a community that cared about its neighbors. Our leader, Aly Nickles, captured the story in her short film: KNEE DEEP