Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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Stories of Leadership: Doug Collier

Doug Collier received both his undergraduate and master's degree at SDSU.

Doug Collier graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in accounting ’in 1985, the received an M.S.A. from SDSU in 1989.

Collier is currently chairman of the board of Skullcandy, an audio lifestyle company and he is a member of the board of directors of Tilly’s, a specialty retailer. 

Doug Collier headshot
Doug Collier

Doug served as the chief financial officer of Volcom, an action sports clothing company, from 1994, three years after the company was founded, to 2011, when the company was sold to French Luxury Brand Company PPR.  

Prior to his tenure at Volcom, Doug served as the controller at Mary Tyler Moore Studios and worked in the tax department at KPMG. Doug resides in Newport Beach with his wife, Wende Zomnir who is the co-founder of Urban Decay cosmetics. They have two boys, Crash age 10, and Cruz, age 7.

Tell us the highlights of your professional career. What are your proudest achievements?

One of my proudest achievements was helping to lead Volcom’s IPO in 2005 and in total, my 17 years with the company. During my time at Volcom, we grew the business from $2 million to $334 million in sales. I also enjoyed being the lead contact and public face of the company for investor relations to Wall Street. 

What’s your favorite college memory?

I have so many good memoires of my time at State! One of my favorite memories was sneaking into Hepner Hall at night. During much of my time at SDSU, part of the building was closed for earthquake retrofitting. Inside, it was like an abandoned warehouse and Art students created sculptures from building materials. We’d go in there late at night, check out the artwork and climb to the top of Hardy Tower to check out the amazing view of San Diego.

Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class?

My favorite class was a class in grad school, tax research taught by Gene Whittenburg. Gene would report test scores at the old Square Pan Pizza near campus. 

If you were to give current SDSU students some advice, what would you say?

Enjoy! College is a special time in your life. You couldn’t ask for a better place to be than San Diego. Students should enjoy their time and experience at SDSU. They may want to keep a long term perspective on their career path and not stress about their first job after graduation. Continue to make contacts and keep options open.  Avoid debt and fixed expenses.  Remember that your first job is just that: Your first job. It probably will be nothing like where you ultimately end up, but learn what you can.   

What are you currently reading? What’s your favorite book?

A couple of books that are my favorite include "Into Thin Air" and "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer. Krakauer is a great adventurer and an amazing writer. I enjoy everything he’s written. I am currently reading the "Paleo Solution" by Robb Wolf, which is an eye opener about healthy diet and lifestyle.

What is your passion?

My passions are surfing and snowboarding. I also enjoy yoga and mountain biking. Spending time and traveling with my family is also important to me. 

If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings?

In many ways I feel I have won the lottery. My health is good, I have an awesome family and friends and my career has been rewarding. I’ve been fortunate. 

Which trait do you value most in your friends and colleagues?

I enjoy being around people who are energetic, enthusiastic and have a positive attitude.

If you knew you could not fail, what would you attempt?

I would be towed into a 15 foot wave at Teahupoo, Tahiti.  It is a dangerous, incredibly powerful wave that breaks over a shallow, sharp coral reef.