Benchmade Takes New VP of Marketing and Sales on Board

Benchmade has hired Mike Ulwelling for the role of VP of Sales and Marketing. The new exec brings years of experience in his field, and hopes to leverage that for the Oregon City-based Benchmade.

“With a well-rounded base focused on leadership development, Ulwelling brings a driven style of management that will further strengthen the Benchmade culture and brand,” the company writes. Although new to the knife industry, Ulwelling’s sales and marketing experience crosses multiple product and service categories, including lawn/garden, software, and maintenance/repair services. “Ulwelling will bring a combined 19 years of executive experience from companies such as Hewlett Packard, Ideagility and Service Master Solutions.”

Mike Ulwelling

Mike Ulwelling

Ulwelling is joining Benchmade at a pivotal time for the company. One of the biggest changes to their strategy over the last few years has been a break away from traditional release schedules. Benchmade still debuts a core catalog ahead of SHOT Show, but keeps the excitement high with a steady stream of additional releases throughout the year. Products like the Aileron, SOCP Folder, and the Puukko released outside of that traditional window. There’s also been a concerted effort to push itself into new product territories and take some chances with its designs. That decision paid off big time with successful releases like the ultralight Bugout and the modern/traditional fusion Proper series. Line expansions have also played a huge part in the current Benchmade product game plan. The Mini Crooked River, Tactical Triage, and Mini Loco all brought some depth to already-popular product lines.

In short, by all appearances it seems like Benchmade has been reinventing its product strategies. Ulwelling will be coordinating those strategies in both the front- and back-ends of the business. This means launching new products as well as orchestrating the logistics that gets them onto dealers’ shelves and, by extension, users’ collections, pockets, and hands. “Mike’s success as CEO/owner of a former company will strengthen and reinforce our entrepreneurial approach,” says Les de Asis, Benchmade CEO. “We are all very excited to have the addition of Mike to our executive team!”

Knife featured in image: Benchmade Griptilian, 940