One-on-one with Quantum's VP of Marketing, Bob Bagby
Introduction: Being one of the largest
tackle manufacturers today, Zebco/Quantum has made a colossal comeback ever since W.C. Bradley took
of the well known brands. We had the opportunity to sit down with Bob Bagby, Vice President of Marketing at Quantum,
for a one-on-one session so we could pick his brain about the past,
the future of the company.
Meet Bob Bagby and his 30+ pound Permit
JIP: Hi Bob! Really appreciate the time you're
giving us for our one-on-one. Let's begin. Tell us about your personal history at Zebco/Quantum.
Bagby: I have been with Zebco for 19 years. I previously worked in the automotive and heavy equipment
industries as a design engineer. I have always had a passion for the outdoors
and grew up hunting and fishing with my Dad. My ambition was to someday work in
the outdoor industry. When the Zebco opportunity came up, I jumped at the
chance. I started as a spinning reel design engineer and eventually managed the
R&D group. I then made a transition to product management in the early 90’s and
have been in marketing ever since. The marketing group is responsible for both
the product management and marketing communications.
JIP: How has Zebco/Quantum grown and/or changed
over the years since W.C. Bradley took over?
Bagby: Brunswick acquired
a group of outdoor companies that were combined with Zebco to form a large
outdoor group. Those companies included Motorguide, Swivel-Eze, Igloo,
Roadmaster and Mongoose bikes, and American Camper. This began to create a lack
of focus on the core fishing business and Brunswick eventually decided to divest
all of these companies except Motorguide and Swivel Eze which they combined with
the Mercury Marine business. The acquisition by WC Bradley provided a very
supportive corporate parent who allowed the Zebco management team to re-focus on
the core fishing business and implement strategies to get the business healthy
again. Increased investments were made in R&D, marketing, and global sourcing
and literally hundreds of new products have been launched since the acquisition.
We are producing the highest quality, most technically advanced products ever
and are focusing on both the recreational angler and avid angler with the
Quantum, Rhino, and Zebco brands.
Bob hooks up onto a big fish with the Cabo PT
JIP: What would you say sets Quantum apart from
Bagby: Fishing is truly
our passion and it’s our only business now. We love it and really strive to
improve the sport and the fishery. We are unique in that we have both a
recreational market and an avid market with the brands that we have. A fisherman
can start as a youngster with Zebco and develop into an avid angler with
Quantum, Van Staal, or Fin-Nor. We have something for every angler of all skill
levels in the categories in which we compete. Our philosophy is pretty simple…do
what’s right for the angler and provide the very best product that we can for
the price. The test is pretty simple… as fishermen, would we be happy with it
for ourselves? We also know that the bar is pretty high with the avid angler
and have put a lot of effort into upgrading our products in this segment and the
avid angler is telling us we are on the right path.
A big striped bass falls victim to the Cabo
PT setup Bob used to wrestle it to the boat
In the past year or so you guys acquired two
well-known reel companies, Van Staal and Fin-Nor. What's Quantum's strategy
behind these acquisitions?
Bagby: We will stay true
to these brands and will be introducing innovative products in each of the
brands. Quantum will continue to bring cutting edge innovation and technology;
Fin-Nor will feature durable, well built saltwater tackle that stands the test
of time. Van Staal will continue to focus on the core surf market and any other
markets that require precision built products that can survive in a very harsh
environment like surf fishing.
Being an avid angler, Bob fishes for all
types of fish including trolling for salmon with Quantum's saltwater gear
What changes, if any, will you guys make with Van
Staal and Fin-Nor?
Bagby: We are returning
Van Staal and Fin-Nor to being premium brands backed by unmatched quality
products and customer service. We are making a number of design improvements in
existing products and planning to introduce a few new key products over the next
couple of years. We have eliminated the low end Fin-Nor products and will be
focusing only on the serious saltwater angler. We will greatly improve customer
service and parts availability as well as improve the overall consumer and trade
communication. Within two years these brands will be as good as they have ever