Growing up outside of Milwaukee, Wisc., Evan doesn’t stray far from the hard-working and personal work ethic that the Midwest is known for. With an internal drive and ambition for adventure and knowledge, Evan attended the University of Montana where he successfully blended the age-old dilemma of the work/life balance having graduated with a 3.8 GPA for his B.S. in business administration (marketing and management). If you didn’t find him in the library, your best bet would to search the surrounding mountains and rivers, for these are the places where he spent the majority of his free time.
Having traveled across the globe, he set out once again to challenge himself. Upon graduation, Evan linked up with a company in New Zealand where he could grow professionally and utilize his unique skill set as marketing manager and business consultant. After returning home, Evan spent time working with various retail companies in similar roles back in Milwaukee.
Evan has since set down roots in Portland, Ore., where he is the social media manager with MadFish SEO. In addition, he works on multiple projects including IdeaMensch and is in the application process for his MBA.
Only 25 years old, Evan is a new up-and-coming prospect in the industry.
What are you up to?
First and foremost, I am working closely with Mario to see IdeaMensch.com get off the ground and running. It’s always an exciting time trying to execute a plan from an idea to reality. At the moment I am the newest member of MadFish SEO here in Portland. I also work closely with with my good friends at EYEini on a variety of projects, one of which is Fetha Styx Fishing Rod Company out of Redmond, Wash.
I get pretty stir crazy when I am not completely slammed with work, so I also am working closely with the local chapter of The Surfrider Foundation on an initiative to help ban the single use plastic bag here in Portland.
Above all, I am constantly trying to gain knowledge and insight into the industry. Whether it’s attending local networking events, workshops, webinars, or picking the brains of — and learning from — people like Mario, I try to go to bed every night with a head full of new ideas.
What are you into?
Outside of work I try to stay as busy as possible with maybe too many hobbies … I’m a big fan of live music. I like to play soccer, ski, snowboard, fly-fish, camp, travel, golf, surf, garden and kayak. Long story short, I like to do anything I can to spend as much time outdoors as possible.
Whether it’s work or play, I try to take out just as much as I put into something. I am on a constant path of knowledge and strive to be the best I can at everything I do.
How do you get stuff done?
Call me old fashioned, but I enjoy the getting “off the grid” and the quietness that comes from spending long nights in the library. I picked up the habit in college, but being able to free myself of most communication and spending time alone (distraction free) allows me to really focus and do my best work.
What work or life experiences have been the most influential to you in your ultimate career path?
By no means am I the first young kid to leave the States in pursuit of adventure and personal enlightenment after graduating college, but I believe my first job out of school in New Zealand was one of the most humbling and valuable learning experiences I could have had. I pride myself in my work ethic and fortitude when faced with challenges, and this particular experience was one that tested both of these characteristics, but one that I came out on top of. Being thrown into a pretty demanding and results-driven environment while trying to learn and adapt to both a different social and business culture is a tall task. Just having a “Yank” accent was enough of a roadblock in doing business, but being forced to make hard decisions with little experience outside of school definitely provided me with some early grey hairs. Establishing a place in a close-knit business network and achieving the successes my company experienced was very self-fulfilling, rewarding and an experience that will follow me throughout my career.
That being said, all the hard work paid off, and I had one of the best times of my life during this time. Spending time in a beautiful country like New Zealand that puts a lot more emphasis on the work/life balance has allowed me to take a step back when I get too stressed with work and appreciate the little time I have to myself, family and friends.
Being well rounded both personally and in a business sense is something that I have always strived to do. As a child I could never answer the question of what I wanted to be when I grow up when all the kids around me quickly shouted out fireman, doctor, astronaut, etc. To this day I look back and realize that this sentiment is still true as I don’t want to be judged on just one facet of my abilities, interests or overall dreams.
Being an advocate of sustainable/green business practices, what initially drew you to the cause?
I know it’s easy to hop on the eco or green bandwagon that has been gaining steady ground in the past few years, but we are coming into a very critical time in terms of depletion of resources, and changes do have to be made. Having had the good fortune of being able to travel and live in some of the most beautiful places (in my opinion) in the world, I have seen the environmental impact firsthand in just a relative short time frame. There are overpopulation problems, many ecosystems are to a point of no return, aquifers and rivers are drying up due to irrigation and energy consumption continues to grow. There is no way we can function and support ourselves as a society if there aren’t changes in both individuals and businesses. We are starting to move in the right direction, and I am seeing more emphasis being placed on these measures. I am not excluding myself from the blame by any means, but even small steps by individuals really can make a difference.
Surfrider Foundation – Portland
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.