PARK FALLS, WI – St. Croix Rod, handcrafters of the Best Rods on Earth® for nearly 75 years, is pleased to announce the promotion of Cristian Simpkins to the position of Show and Staff Coordinator. Simpkins previously worked as an Angler Guide in St. Croix’s Guide Center.
The key Marketing Team role places Simpkins as primary point of contact and administrator for St. Croix’s extensive pro staff, guide, and scholastic programs. Additionally, Simpkins will assume responsibility for the logistical aspects of St. Croix’s presence at trade and consumer shows.
Simpkins was raised in Northern Illinois, where he developed a passion for bass fishing at an early age. He started a bass-fishing team at his high school, then did the same at the college level while attending Waubonsee Community College. He moved to Phillips, Wisconsin in March of 2021 and began working for St. Croix in the Guide Center, the company’s customer-service department.
“I started with direct-to-angler customer service, which means I was interacting with and helping our anglers with a wide variety of issues, from warranty claims and product registration to making recommendations on rods that best fit their circumstances and fishing objectives,” Simpkins says. “I really enjoyed having the chance to talk with so many anglers that are just as enthusiastic about fishing as I am. I quickly expanded into dealer service, too. That’s when I got to know many of our St. Croix retail partners as well as our sales reps.”
Simpkins says working in customer service has been a great experience. “You’re often helping customers deal with some sort of a problem or challenge, so being in a position to offer solutions to those problems was really rewarding. In addition to making rods that really do give anglers the upper hand, I think providing meaningful and effective service to our anglers is something that St. Croix is really good about, and something all of us never stop working to get even better at.”
St. Croix Brand Manager, Ryan Teach, says Simpkins’ passion for fishing, knowledge of the St. Croix brand, and people skills made him an ideal candidate for the Show and Staff Coordinator position. “A lot of us love and live to fish here at St. Croix,” says Teach, “and Cristian falls at the extreme end of that curve. He earned this new position on the Marketing Team because of his proven record of helping and putting customers at ease during his tenure in the Guide Center. He joined St. Croix to pursue a career in an industry he’s very passionate about, and those passions will continue to serve him well as Show and Staff Coordinator because they match those of the anglers, educators, and partnered St. Croix enthusiasts he’ll be working closely with to help grow our brand.”
Simpkins says he’s looking forward to all aspects of his new job. “We’ve currently got over 300 anglers on staff at various levels, another 250 or so anglers on our guide program, and hundreds more high school and collegiate anglers on our scholastic program,” he says. “I’m excited to start making some changes that make it easier for all of these anglers to advance and promote the St. Croix brand more effectively. I also love the role I’ll be playing at trade and consumer shows. These are incredible opportunities to meet and connect with anglers and other potential partners within the industry. I was recently at the St. Paul Ice Show and the St. Charles Musky Expo and had the chance to meet several of our staffers. I’m a very hands-on person when it comes to our products and I enjoy interacting with other anglers, so I’m very much in my element with the face-to-face opportunities these shows deliver.”
While he still enjoys fishing for bass, Simpkins says his move to Northern Wisconsin has helped take his passions for musky angling and ice fishing to new levels. “During the open water season, I’ll bring my boat to the office three or four times a week and be able to get a few hours of musky fishing in after work,” he says. “And now that it’s wintertime, I’m spending a lot of time chasing crappies through the ice over the weekends.”
His favorite rods? “I’m a huge fan of Legend Elite, Legend Elite Musky and Legend Elite panfish,” Simpkins reports. “I use them for everything. They’re crazy light and sensitive, and I love the guide trains, the full cork handles, and they’re beautiful to look at, too. I’ve only been at St. Croix for a couple of years now, so I’ve used just about everything over the years. Even if I didn’t work here, after fishing St. Croix, I’d never go back to anything else.”
Simpkins says he’s looking forward to getting to know every angler on St. Croix’s various programs. “Every good relationship starts with effective communication,” he says. “I want everyone to know that I’m a passionate angler, just like they are. I’m also easy going, fair, and easy to talk with, but I also mean business. It’s everyone’s responsibility on staff to advance the St. Croix brand. I’m here to help everyone to do that by creating systems and providing information that hopefully make things a bit easier, but at the end of the day everyone needs to bring value.”
Simpkins assumes his new role January 2.
About St. Croix Rod
Headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has been proudly producing the “Best Rods on Earth” for nearly 75 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled craftsmanship, St. Croix is the only major producer to still build rods entirely from design through manufacturing. The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series such as Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Victory Avid®, Premier®, RIFT, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is revered by all types of anglers from around the world.