2019 marks a quarter century in business. As with all momentous milestones, it has been a time to reflect on all the big wins over the years as well as look forward to the exciting frontiers ahead. For Founder and Chairman Rod Bremer, the anniversary was bittersweet. “It’s been one of the great honors of my life to work alongside the fine men and women that have given CRKT® substance, clout, and integrity all these years,” Rod reflects, “but it’s time to step back and welcome Mark Schreiber as the new president. We feel very proud of all we’ve built together over the years and have complete confidence in Mark. The team he has built is world class.”
Mark’s Intro Into the Edged Tool World
1994 was a year for the books. Not only was it the year that Rod founded CRKT®, but it was also the year that Mark married his wife, Thea, Rod’s oldest daughter. As you might imagine, conversations around the lively Bremer dinner table buzzed with insights about the newest innovations, the leading-edge designers, and Rod’s never-say-die vision for the company. Mark, a University of Oregon alum and team manager of a local software company was hooked, especially when he got ahold of some of the earliest CRKT® knives and tools.
Rod’s vision for the company and Mark’s true understanding of Confidence in Hand® came sharply into focus when, a few years later, he traveled to Alaska for a fishing trip with Rod and designers Russ Kommer and Brian Tighe. It was then that Mark knew he wanted to become part of the CRKT® team.
By the time Mark was ready to become a part of CRKT®, he had built a successful career in software and online banking. While Mark, Rod, and Peggy acknowledged that the timing was finally right, the decision didn’t come without risk. At the end of the day, all three decided that if things didn’t work out, they would all still remain close family. Turns out, though, bringing Mark on was a perfect choice and in November 2010, he stepped in as IT manager. His main order of business: learn the internal systems and processes like the back of his hand and devise strategies for efficiency and integration. Nearly a decade later, the foundation of his clean processes are still in place.
As Mark thrived in his roles and among his colleagues, he moved up in the company, positively impacting the edged-tool world around him as he went. From IT manager, he became VP of operations, then he was ultimately promoted to the executive team so his fresh thinking and logical vision could help guide the company’s major decisions. Four years ago, he stepped into the role of president alongside Rod.
The Future of CRKT®
“You can tell he cares tremendously,” Mark says of Rod’s leadership style. “There’s a passion about knives that shows through and through—he cares about every knife that’s in the catalog and every person within the company. Thanks to him,” Mark explains, “there’s a culture of respect built on deep relationships.”
While there is no doubt that Rod has created mighty shoes to fill, Mark is up to the challenge. “CRKT® is already a leader in innovation,” Mark says. “We will continue to push on this because it’s core to our identity, and it’s in the blood of the world’s best designers we are privileged to work with. Just when I think everything possible has been done, the designers come up with something new.”
When asked about what he’s most excited for going forward, he grins and responds, “I’m excited about the opportunity to build upon what Rod and Peggy have created and help take CRKT® to the next level. With the incredible team we have here at CRKT® and the amazing designers we work with, I can't wait to see what game-changing new innovations we’ll be able to bring to the knife and tool community in the future.”
Mark’s Closing Thoughts
For Mark, it’s evident: family comes first. “That’s what keeps CRKT® centered on a vision—it’s about the family,” he says. So when he’s not working with designers or impacting the big decisions, you can find Mark grilling up a family meal on his Traeger®, shooting hoops with his boys, or spending time with Thea, all the while carrying his time-tested favorite CRKT® knife: the M16®.