Behind The Brand With Josh & Anna –
Expanding The Sport With Memorable Experiences
Story By Cody Carney
Photos By Tyler Tate
Many people find themselves in careers where they’re just “going through the motions.” I’m talking about countless hours spent doing the same thing almost every day. The environment or faces might change, but at some point the mind starts to zombie out. Days might seem monotonous and the repetitiveness may even make one feel as a machine programmed to complete certain tasks for a purpose that has nothing to do with who they are or what they would like to be doing. It’s hard to imagine anybody being passionate about this type of work. Fortunately, the work environment for our friends over at Polaris Inc. is anything but this.
Imagine being on the other side of the work and play line. Where your passion for work derives from your passion in life. You hear it all the time, “when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Suddenly, whether you’re on or off the clock is of little importance anymore as you are surrounded by friends and family who have that same passion for anything off-road embedded into them. Not only that, but for these guys and gals, they’re able to facilitate a means for other people to join in on the off-road lifestyle, make connections there, and in doing so, expand the sport that we all know and love through those relationships and the products they offer. Experiencing this firsthand are some of our friends, Josh Hermes and Anna Abbott.
Josh Hermes, the Marketing Director for RANGER, General, and ATV, has been with Polaris long before working for them. At the early age of three, he started riding Polaris snowmobiles and ATVs (which were prominent in the upper peninsula of Michigan where he’s from), and that pretty much stuck with him while growing up. You can imagine how working for them now would be something he considers a bit of a dream job.
While in grad school, Josh had the opportunity to go through a recruiting process and it just so happened that Polaris was there recruiting. “One of the things I said was I wanted to be passionate about the service or product that whatever the next company I went to work for provided. With Polaris there and me being such a passionate powersports person, I felt it was the perfect fit,” stated Josh.
The recruitment process happened about six years ago, and for that first year, his role was in the accessories department of the company working on strategic projects. After that, he moved into the off-road vehicle part of the business where he’s been for around five years now. As a father of three, Josh enjoys spending time with his family outdoors. Living in Minnesota makes it easy with things to do all year round. During the summer they’ll spend almost every weekend out on the lake. If it’s not the lake, you’ll find Josh and his family out riding. Sometimes that means traveling.
Josh: “My favorite place to ride is in the dunes, especially Glamis. I love it because I don’t get to ride there that often. Riding the Glamis sand dunes is just a totally different and awesome experience. Thinking about cool experiences, I would love to go explore some new areas. I would love to get down to South America, maybe Patagonia and ride there. I think that would be a lot of fun. Baja would be really cool. Man… There’s just a lot of places I would love to go ride.
“It’s such a great experience, and it’s something that can really build lifelong memories.”
For anybody, off-road and powersports is just an awesome experience. It’s something that’s kind of core to my life. I grew up doing it, I’ve started my kids in it, and if you think about just the environment recently and the opportunity with people… things slowed down for a while, people had more time to spend with their friends and family, making it such a great time to get into powersports. Anybody out there that’s thought about it or are thinking about it, definitely get outside and try it. Find some friends that have one. It’s such a great experience, and it’s something that can really build lifelong memories.”
This is the very way of thinking that creates the atmosphere over at Polaris. All the employees are thrilled to create and share experiences with their customers as much as possible. Each one of them has some type of background growing up involved in the sport and later in life have been fortunate enough to find job opportunities that tie into their childhood memories. One of these lucky gals is none other than Anna Abbott. She is the RANGER marketing manager and has been with Polaris for about five years now. Born in the most Southwestern city of Minnesota, Anna grew up spending time in the cold with her family around Polaris snowmobiles. She was raised knowing the Polaris name so it was no stranger to her when she was looking for a job change after getting out of college.
Anna: “My sister actually started working for the company before me and had talked very highly of the culture. When I was looking to leave my old employer, the biggest thing I was looking for was the right culture. I wanted something that was fun. Where people were super passionate about the products and kind of wanted that ‘work hard, play hard’ culture as well. My sister told me, ‘You just need to interview here because everything you’re telling me, you’re talking Polaris.
I went on to go through the interview process, and I interviewed specifically for the off-road vehicles division, which I had not a ton of experience in, and then I started working on RANGER where I continue to work now.
I worked at companies where it honestly felt like some people would just come into work to come into work, so when I came here I saw a difference in the people and in their passion. It’s a win win for them. They’re not just creating vehicles to then go home and get a paycheck. They’re doing it because they absolutely love it and they love our consumers. The culture is so energizing. The people I work with have now become best friends, and I’ve had some of the greatest bosses and really cool leaders. Something to really make note of is people stay. They love it—the culture and the products. I think that was the best part about joining. That, and the experiences. Never in my life would I thought I’d be able to go ride in the mud pits in Louisiana, hunt in the South, ride North Dakota, or go meet with consumers all around the entire country, whether or not it’s in Texas, California or the East Coast. They really create memorable experiences.”