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Aug. 10, 2022

Shawn Combs - The Wizard of Rod

Shawn Combs - The Wizard of Rod

In this episode I sit down with Shawn Combs. Shawn is the Director of product design and development for fishing, hunting and dogs at the Orvis Company. He is also the lead designer for rods and reels. Shawn originally hails from Louisville, Kentucky w


In this episode I sit down with Shawn Combs.  Shawn is the Director of product design and development for fishing, hunting and dogs at the Orvis Company.  He is also the lead designer for rods and reels.  Shawn originally hails from Louisville, Kentucky where he grew up in the world of retail as his parents owned a specialty hunting and fishing shop.  Shawn went to the University of Louisville where he graduated with a master's in mechanical engineering.  

After a 10-year stint in the mechanical engineering world working for the likes of Exxon, GE and Lockheed Martin doing various small jobs all over the world, like developing and designing nuclear fuel for submarines, Shawn was on a flight back to upstate NY from UT, and then things changed.  He happened to sit next to Steve Hemkens who at the time was the head of product development at the Orvis company (and also the older brother of Mikey Hemkens Episode 12) and asked him if he could borrow a copy of his Drake Magazine.  (a grassroots journal for fly fishing enthusiasts) Five months later Shawn started working at the Orvis company and has been there ever since.  I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawn since the time he started his professional journey in the fly-fishing industry.  From where I sit, Shawn is an extraordinary talent and mind when it comes to developing products in the fly-fishing industry, and the proof is in the products.  In talking with Shawn in regard to the products that he and Orvis create, his ability to converse on an earthly level in order to collaborate is wildly impressive.  

Shawn currently lives in Winhall, VT with his wife Kate (grandfather-built bamboo rods at Orvis in the 50-70’s quite the coincidence) and his two daughters Blair, Isla.  Without further adieu please welcome Shawn Combs to the show!

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