St. Croix Rod CEO and co-owner, Paul Schluter, announced a planned transition of leadership in January, citing his desire to hand over the day-to-day operations of the 70-year-old company in order to focus on family, fishing, and other aspects of the company he most loves.
Schluter’s journey with St. Croix started in 1983 when his father, Gordon, hired him to manage retailer accounts in Minnesota. A year later, he was promoted to sales manager. In 1989, his father stepped aside, and Schluter assumed the role of president. Brothers Paul, Jeff, Dave, and sister Pamela Smiley purchased St. Croix from their parents Gordon and Irene in 1990, and continue to own the company to this day.
St. Croix’s board of directors announced in a press release June 24 that fishing-industry veteran, Scott Forristall, has been selected and hired as the company’s new president and CEO.
Forristall brings a keen understanding of the fishing-rod business and the greater fishing industry to St. Croix, earned from a rich employment history with premier companies such as Eagle Claw, Johnson Outdoors, and Far-Bank Enterprises, parent company to the Sage, Redington, and Rio Products fly-fishing brands. Most recently, Forristall served as president and CEO of the R.L. Winston Rod Company and Bauer Reels.
“St. Croix is the strongest brand in fishing rods in the U.S.,” said Forristall, in the release. “To come to work in Park Falls for this premier, family-owned business with U.S. manufacturing is a rare opportunity in this industry that I love. St. Croix — its people, products and ties to the community — is everything I value and want to be part of.”
“Scott comes to us with vast experience managing premium outdoor brands and exhibits a management style which is consistent with all that we value at St. Croix,” said Schluter. “I’m really excited to watch Scott and the rest of our strong team further our objective of providing every angler the upper hand. Between my father and myself, a Schluter has been responsible for the execution of St. Croix’s mission for the last 41 of our 71 years. I have the highest confidence in Scott as he assumes this leadership role while I remain an active member of our board of directors, and, of course, an owner of St. Croix along with my brothers Jeff and Dave, and sister Pam.”
In addition to fishing, Forristall enjoys training and competing in triathlons during his free time. He and his wife of 44 years, Lynn, will relocate to Park Falls from their current home in Dillon, Montana. Forristall was set to begin work at St. Croix on June 24.