Osprey founder and Chief Designer Mike Pfotenhauer was named OutDoor Celebrity of the Year 2015 at this year’s OutDoor trade show, held in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
The award was presented to Mike by industry expert and Equipment Editor at German Outdoor magazine, Frank Wacker, who recalled meeting Mike over 20 years ago:
“To me it was like a teenager going up to this rockstar and the cool thing about Mike was that he was so incredibly normal. I was standing in front of this person, who was known for making some of the best packs in the world and he just talked to me on the same level. Mike is incredibly humble and this is reflected in the way he works and instils decades of loyalty amongst his employees. Thanks to his vision, Osprey has gone from being a small high-end outfit to one of the most influential backpack brands in the world – a very impressive achievement.”
Mike flew in from Vietnam to accept this special award stating: “I never thought of myself as a celebrity. I’m really honoured to be recognised with this award, this is really meaningful to me. The joy of my life is in coming up with designs and then making them real. This industry is all about working with people who appreciate the things in life that are meaningful. Hence, our vision is to create work that is meaningful to everybody in the company. What’s better than to build product that you can take out into the wilderness and live with day in and day out.”
Mike founded Osprey back in 1974 with a single sewing machine, a head full of ideas and a spirit to do things differently. After finishing university in Santa Cruz he initially started making packs just for himself and his close friends, but word of their outstanding quality soon spread and Osprey was born. Mike’s main principle was that the backpacks had to fit users’ backs, so he designed custom-made technical backpacks with a meticulous attention to detail that Osprey is now famous for. In 2003, Mike even relocated with his family to Vietnam to oversee production that had been moved from the US to ensure that the outstanding quality of each product was maintained.
From the initial introduction of the breathable mesh panel in 1976 to the new AntiGravityTM 3D suspended mesh back system in 2015. Mike has continued to innovate throughout Osprey’s history, creating ground- breaking products that offer users revolutionary levels of comfort and support. 40 years later, Mike’s outstanding design and innovation has earnt him celebrity status within the outdoor industry, even if he’s too modest to admit it!