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Greg Easton: Hitting the Target
By: By Hilary Ingoldsby Whitesides
September 30, 2015
Greg Easton is the president and chairman of the board of Jas D. Easton, the parent company of Easton Technical Products and Hoyt Archery. He is also president of the nonprofit arm of the company, Easton Foundations. As a third-generation leader in the family business, Easton is not only passionate about developing innovative high-tech products, but also taking archery to the masses.
Did you grow up with a bow and arrow in your hand?
Almost … We spent a lot of summers at my grandmother’s house in California, where the company was originally based, and had a couple of areas to shoot on the property. There was a target not far from the pool, so we would play in the pool and then go shoot arrows. My grandfather’s workshop was there and one whole wall was covered with bows. There were always bows and arrows around.
How does it feel to be carrying on the family legacy?
It’s fun and it’s rewarding. It was a great opportunity working with my dad over the years. He was clear that he wanted to see me get involved and take over the business, but that it wasn’t a requirement. I got interested in the company, the sports and the industries we are in. … Now that I’ve taken over most of the companies, I’m excited to see how I can run the companies and continue our legacy of being innovative.
How does Easton Foundations complement the business?
On the manufacturing side, we try to build really innovative products that consumers demand. The foundation efforts focus on archery itself. We’re trying to find and develop the customers by giving people opportunities to shoot and pulling people in that way. We’re not selling a product, but we’re providing a service.
I was recently at the Youth World Championship competition. We learned that one of the kids competing had been interested in archery and started shooting at one of our centers in Florida the day it opened six years ago. Now he’s competing for the U.S. team. That’s what really gets me—changing lives and helping people fulfill dreams.
In 2014 Easton Foundations opened a world-class archery center in Salt Lake. How has it been received thus far?
We’ve gotten a lot of interest … The U.S. Archery Paralympic Teams have been practicing at the center and we just had a Junior Dream Team, which consists of athletes who want to get on the U.S. national team, training at the center. Team Japan has been here. We’ve probably had 10 or so countries here already. We also successfully got a bid for the upcoming World Cup events. In 2017, 18 and 19, Salt Lake City will be one of the four legs of the World Cup. We have gotten a lot of support from the Utah Sports Commission and are hoping to get even more community and governmental support.
We’re definitely bringing people into the state and increasing tourism and exposure. We built this facility with these events in mind so it’s fun to see it come to fruition.
What would you say to people who don’t know a lot about archery or think it isn’t for them?
It’s something that truthfully anybody at any ability can do. With just a little bit of practice you can be pretty proficient and have a lot of fun. There’s something ancestral or innate about shooting an arrow. … Come try it. It’s a great family activity and great for all ages. I’ll keep shooting all my life.