When something is your life’s passion, you cannot avoid its pull. This could not be more true for Mike Rangel. The newly appointed Athlete Relations Coordinator at Fox started in the industry fresh out of high school, but after some time left to see what the “regular world” offered. Through his connections and knowledge, he was able to come back into the fold after years away with a position at one of the largest brands in the industry.
What is your job title at Fox and how long have you been with the company?
Well, my business cards say "Athlete Relations Coordinator." (Laughs) I've been here since October.
How did you get involved with motocross and what lead you to working in the industry?
My Pops runs a road racing team for AMA Superbike, so I grew in the industry. I raced BMX and some moto and straight out of high school, I was able to get a job with Troy Lee Designs on their Supercross team. I worked there for three and a half years, wrenching and working with the athletes, and it was a good job to get right out of high school.
How did you move from there to working at Fox?
I had gotten a job opportunity outside of the industry and I ended up working at a hospital fulltime. I got a regular job to try out something that I didn't really know. While I was doing that, I was racing mountain bikes and was able to travel. Mike Redding, who runs the mountain bike program at Fox, helped me out quite a bit. He and Warren originally had me doing fit modeling for the moto and bike products, and through that, I was able to meet everyone here. Then the position came up and I met with Beeks (Chris Onstott), and my experience in the industry helped me get the position.
Were you looking to get back into the industry?
With riding, I kept pretty busy, but the clock-in clock-out nine to five wasn't for me. Racing has been my passion and now that I am back in, I don't plan on leaving.
What are your job duties?
At the races, I manage all of the product for athletes when Beeks is not there. Whichever races he does not end up traveling to, I will be there. I make sure the guys are dialed at the track and during the week, I get everything ready and work with our FMX riders.
How much do you travel?
I did all of the "local" rounds, like Anaheim and San Diego, and Indianapolis will be my first traveling race for the company.
Was coming to Fox a big change or did everything you had learned from Troy Lee carry over?
I knew racing preparation and working with athletes, and Fox is a leading brand in motocross. I came in wanting to do the best that I can because I know it is expected of the brand to be the best out there. I understood everything, but I am learning still by working with Beeks and the other guys here.
What are some requests that riders have? Are there some who are more specific than others are?
Typically, everyone gets the same amount of gear. All of our guys are knowledgeable about the product, so they know how things fit and what fits best. Some of the guys do get alterations done, but they all know what they want. When we go to the races, we know what they need whether it is pant fit or jersey fit. We build all of the goggles here, as well. For Supercross it is standard because of the domes and we know each guy's setup and what they prefer. With the open stadiums, we will prepare for rain and anything like that.
Before the season, the guys can come in and be measured up in our tech room so they can be dialed in with any request. We will do what they need to make them as comfortable as possible when they are racing.
How much testing will Chad and Ken do with a goggle before the consumer sees the changes?
We got our first run of the new goggle in November and started doing testing. As the seasons progressed, we have learned more and more about the product. It is not something that you want to put on the athlete and then find things out the hard way. Beeker, Rob, and I have done everything we can to make sure the product is the best that it can be and the riders give us feedback every weekend to make it better.
What advice do you have for someone looking to get a job within the industry?
I was lucky, but I think learning as much as possible, being willing to do anything handed to you, having good communication, and getting along with everyone in the industry is important. I was extremely lucky to get back into the industry after I got out. However, someone should learn as much as they can in every aspect.