Mike Baumgartner has joined Rapala VMC as its new regional sales manager serving the Western U.S. and select national accounts.
“Mike brings a deep, grassroots understanding of what customers want and expect from manufacturers,” said Travis Tuma, vice president of sales for Rapala VMC. “Mike’s experience, knowledge, and passion for his customers fits perfectly into the Rapala culture. And now with the addition of 13 Fishing and CrushCity, we’re looking forward to growing our strong portfolio of brands with Mike’s expertise. We’re very excited to have Mike become part of the Rapala family.”
In his new role, Baumgartner will work with Rapala VMC’s retail partners to market all Rapala VMC brands sold in the U.S., including Rapala lures, knives, apparel, and accessories; Storm, Blue Fox, Luhr-Jensen, and Williamson lures; StrikeMaster ice fishing augers and apparel; VMC hooks and terminal tackle; Sufix fishing line and leaders; CrushCity soft baits; and 13 Fishing rods and reels.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Baumgartner has been an avid angler and hunter his entire life. He spent countless hours in pursuit of walleyes, muskies, and bass on Minnesota’s waters growing up, and calls himself a true multi-species angler who enjoys fishing year-round.
Baumgartner brings a deep understanding of what local dealers and regional/national retailers face in attracting anglers to their stores. During his time at St. Cloud State University, where he graduated with bachelor’s degree in marketing, Baumgartner worked at Scheels as a fishing and hunting sales associate. There he grew his knowledge base of sporting goods retail and knew he wanted to pursue a career in the fishing industry.
Later, he joined Pure Fishing as a key account manager. During his 12 years there, Baumgartner worked closely with dealers and national accounts across the country to drive key initiatives and grow sales in all fishing categories.
“Growing up in Minnesota, Rapala is the most iconic brand around,” said Baumgartner. “So, for me, it’s a true honor to be part of the Rapala family. I’ve been using Rapala lures since I was a kid, so this feels like coming full circle.”