46.8787° N, 113.9966° W
Mario Schulzke is the Chief Marketing Officer at the University of Montana and the founder of IdeaMensch. In his free time, he fly-fishes, teaches marketing, plays soccer, farms, does triathlons, rides, bikes, swims, lifts, rock climbs, backpacks and is planning a one-month jaunt down the John Muir Trail. He’s mediocre at most of the above.
All of his blue shirts come from the Gap and he was recently awarded a Gold Card at Costco.
Regarding your favorite outdoor passion, how did you get into what you do?
I fish, I ride bikes, I grow my own food, I walk up mountains, and I prefer to sleep outside.
How did I get into that?
I came to America when I was 16 as a high school exchange student. And as luck would have it, I landed on a ranch in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. I graduated from high school here, then college and then left for a decade to create a career for myself in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, LA, Europe and then LA again. Now I have been back in Montana for the past five years, and it will take a miracle, an offer to play pro soccer in Europe (see former reason) or death for me to leave this place again.
When you live in Montana, you have no choice but to be into the outdoors.
Tell us about the first time you had a successful adventure – i.e. your first amazing trip, successful hunt or fishing trip.
I can't remember. It doesn't matter.
What matter is what I do now, and then tomorrow.
Tomorrow, I'll head up to camp in Southwestern Montana. On Saturday, I'll ride a 125-mile bike race. Next weekend, I'll camp up and fish Rock Creek with great friends and my beautiful girlfriend. That Sunday, we'll head up to Washington to spend 4th of July with more great friends. That next weekend, we'll stay at a fire lookout in the Bitterroot. Later on that month, I'll spend a week on horseback to fly-fish the Wind River Range in Wyoming. I am taking September off to walk the John Muir Trail.
I'd like my life to be measured by what I am doing, not what I did.
What’s the first thing you say to people when they ask why you do what you do?
I grow ideas for a living.
And to be good at that, I make sure that I prioritize living over working.
How do you mix/balance your professional life with adventure?
I used to work 70 to 80 hours per week, with the goal of trying to be one of the best in my field. Once I got up there in terms of compensation and success, I made the choice to begin prioritize free time over more money. I am 36 now and do pretty well career-wise. But I actually make less now than when I was 26. If you want to have a kickass career and a kickass life outside of that, all you have to do is prioritize accordingly. Most people choose one over the other and for short periods of time, and that might be OK.
What are the three pieces of gear you would never go without?
What do you do to stay in field shape?
I ride my bike to work. I run when I am sad. I lift heavy twice a week. I do meetings walking.
Do you have any advice for the guy or girl reading this who is considering a leap into your world?
Look at your calendar and take a day off next week and plan to do something cool that you've always wanted to do.
When you get back, look at your calendar again and see when you can take a week off. Plan a small adventure. Something exciting. Something slightly terrifying. Something that will challenge you. Something you need to prepare for. Post about it on your FB. Start training for it.
Next time you quit a job, make sure you've saved enough so you can take a month off between jobs. Or start talking to your boss about taking a month off unpaid.
Life's short, and it isn't a dress rehearsal.
What’s one thing we could do as a society to protect the environment vital to your passion?
Think long-term. Our planet has been around and awesome for a long time, and the only way we can ensure that it stays that way is by stop being so obsessed with short-term greed.
Tell us something that's true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Don't get married too young.
Go out, work hard, have adventures, learn who you are, love yourself and then find the perfect person for your life and theirs.
Also, if you're a dude, buy a Vespa.
99 out of 100 men feel like riding a Vespa threatens their masculinity. 99 out of 100 women love men who're masculine enough to ride a Vespa.
Do the math.
What is your favorite quote?
"You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzky
True in life, love, business, soccer and fishing.