As part of our team spotlight, we will have each month a team member answering a few questions so you can get to know us a bit better.
This month we are focusing on Gilad Nachmani, CNOC's co-founder and General Manager.
Who are you? Give us some highlights from your past
Hi, I'm Gilad, I started CNOC back in 2016 in England and then moved it to the US in early 2017 when I moved here with my family.
I'm originally from Israel, where I spent much of my childhood and teenage years outside, playing, exploring, roaming and meeting people. After my army service I went travelling in Australia and New Zealand and got the backpacking bug, which led to the start of my career in the outdoors industry on the store floor of an outfitter in Jerusalem. After a while there, I became a real gear nerd and wanted to test my new found passion, which led to 7 months of backpacking along the Andes from Argentina to Peru, crisscrossing Chile and Bolivia along the way.
After this amazing experience, I returned to Israel to complete a degree in Economics in Jerusalem, where I met and fell in love with Mika. After getting my degree, Mika and I moved to the UK. Part of the plan to go with that move was to start my own outdoor outfitter. This didn't come to fruition, and once again I found myself working in outdoor retail, starting at the store, then managing, and eventually moving to buying and merchandising.
Throughout this time, I was backpacking regularly, discovering new trails or just covering existing ones, developing my skills and sharing them with my family.
Tell us about a very memorable trip outdoors from the last few years
These days my trips are short and sweet, usually a night or so, just to get some outdoors time, so they very rarely fall into the "big adventure" realm.
One of the more memorable ones of late, was a backpacking trip I took with my daughter a couple of years back, when she was just 6 years old. We went for an overnight on Zigzag Mountain, in the Mt Hood area, as part of our PCT shakedown process.
We start in the late morning with a long slog of a climb on the Burnt Lake Trail, hoping to make good progress, but we were not really prepared for such a climb. After 3-4 hours, my daughter had had enough, so to get her going, I took her backpack and we continued on. We got to the saddle as the sun was getting low, setting camp at Burnt Lake with the coming dark.
The night was fine until it start pouring rain around 3am, not letting up until the day break. In the morning we found ourselves wet, cold and needing to get off a mountain. I quickly packed camp while trying to get my daughter to eat some food. We made a hasty climb down the way we came, trying to eat enough calories to fend off how wet and cold we were.
To this day, my daughter views this trip as a type 3 fun, but I see it more of a type 2 and a huge learning experience.
What do you do at CNOC?
I don't really have an official title, but the closest would be General Manager. Beyond managing the team, giving a hand where needed and covering for anyone who isn't in, I do a host of roles: sales (mainly wholesale), marketing, R&D, buying, IT, finance, and everything else day to day related.
Owning a small business means that I get to constantly be a part of things wherever extra help is needed, but what I enjoy the most is entrepreneurship aspect of it: development, ideation, finding way to make things actually happen.
What is a running project you are working on at the moment that no one knows about yet?
I constantly work on so many projects, some are due soon and some will take many years. One thing that I've been focusing a lot lately is finding a way to make our cork grips locally from recycled cork.
Currently the cork grips for our trekking poles are made in China by a Taiwanese company that gets the raw material from the leftovers of the industry in Portugal. This is highly inefficient, even if all is moved by boats and cork is a carbon negative material. The way we make our grips, we can actually use old wine corks and turn them into grips, which will make them so much better, reducing our poles' carbon impact further and allow us to offer more work locally.
This has been a project for some time now, and I'm hoping it is something we can achieve this year.
What is your favorite kit that we make?
This is like picking a favorite child! I've designed them all, so I really do like all our gear since we are making it to my specifications, but if I have to pick one it will be the Vecto.
The Vecto has been a consistent challenge and satisfaction, it is what we get the most feedback about (and most complaints...) and it is so much part of the way I backpack that I cant really go out without taking it. I also drink a lot of water every day, even when I don't hike, so having a way to filter water quickly makes a big difference in my gear carry.
What's an interesting (or not-so-interesting) non-Cnoc factoid about yourself that is important to who you are as a person?
I'm a self-taught, self sufficient kind of a person with a great need to try and do things myself, even if they are done badly. I'm not really a perfectionist as much as I need to be able to just understand how something is done. That need to make and tinker has led to DIY house renovation, growing our own food, learning all I can about native plans and pollinating, building computers and learning all I can to make things from plastic despite never having studied it formally.
Mika claims that I should have been an engineer because of all of that, and not an economist...
To Learn more about our team, head over to our About Page.