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November 24, 2011 - Image 52

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-11-24

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Kopitz Makes Tracks Ba ck Home


His ascension to lead Summit's seven-
member marketing team is not completely
fraught with nepotism, as one might expect.
Yes, he grew up working the retail floors and
testing skis at Pine Knob and Nub's Nob, but
he earned his e-commerce chops elsewhere.
Kopitz headed for the Colorado slopes after
high school graduation, earned a bachelor's
degree in marketing and finance from the
University of Denver and landed a job at
eBags.com , a major player in Internet sales.
In his two years with eBags, he climbed from
intern to marketing analyst.
Back home, Summit Sports was changing
and thriving. The onetime 11-store operation
contracted its brick-and-mortar outlets by
more than half while it experienced upwards
of 50 percent growth in e-commerce sales for
three consecutive years.
"The business was exploding," Kopitz says. "I
saw a good opportunity there."
What's more, he said his heart was in the ski
and snowboard industry — and in his home-
town. "I really like Detroit, and I have a lot of
faith that it's coming back strong. I wanted to
be a part of that."
So when his father asked him to lead Sum-
mit's burgeoning e-commerce division, he left
Denver's powdered slopes behind for Sylvan
Lake, Mich. "It's kind of a paradox that I had to
give up great skiing to come back to work in
the industry," he says.
Steve Kopitz says he's happy Brad joined
Summit."He combines a passion for the cat-
egory with an understanding of the company
and a fresh perspective"from cutting his e-
commerce teeth outside the sports industry.
Summit's e-commerce business model
includes multi-focused websites that
incorporate sales, reviews,

product care information, videos and more.
"We think about it like we run our shops," Brad
explains. "We do five to six categories, and we
do them very well. We wanted to move that
Kopitz explains that Summit puts a lot of
stock in its employees' knowledge of both the
sport and the equipment; so the company
won't hire non-skiers to manage skis.com , for
example. "They know what they promote;' he
says. Our goal is to give our online customers
an experience that's better than an in-store
And despite its online retail success, neither
Kotpitz is prepared to jettison the retail arm of
the business anytime soon. Summit's Brighton,
Lansing, Keego Harbor and Rochester shops,
along with the Don Thomas ski shop it owns in
Birmingham — which claims to have the larg-
est ski selection in the Midwest and recently
tripled its space — are growing, Kopitz says.
"Our stores are seeing 10-to-20 percent
growth rates;' he says. "Last year, we had a
banner year in our stores — our best year in
22 years!'
He sums up Summit's success by giving
credit to the company's adaptability and
nimbleness, noting it was a completely differ-
ent operation four years ago, when retail sales
reigned supreme.
"We put a lot of effort into being dynamic;'
he says. "You've got to be quick and adaptable.
It could be totally different in six
months!' RT

The Roller Coaster
of High Finance

By Pamela A. Zinkosky


ichael Lehman cultivated a keen
interest in the stock market from
a young age. Growing up on New
York's Long Island in the 1990s — not
that far from Wall Street's bustling finan-
cial district — he thought stocks were
king, and big companies like Microsoft
— or IBM in those days — held the keys
to wealth.
Lehman's mindset changed after study-
ing finance and getting some real-life
experience in one of the most volatile
financial markets in history. As a financial
adviser for high-net-worth clients — most
of them approaching retirement — in
UBS Investment Bank's Farmington Hills
office, Lehman is the junior member of a
four-person team that manages 200 client
relationships worth anywhere from a few
thousand to $50 million.
At 28, Lehman spends the majority of
his time conducting investment research,
which helps the senior members advise
clients on keeping their money safe, pre-
serving enough to leave an estate, build-
ing more wealth if possible and meeting
other personal goals. The work has taught
him the importance of diversification.
"You can't put all your eggs in one
basket:' he says. "There's a lot of other stuff
out there" besides blue-chip stocks. Small
emerging companies, international com-
panies and mutual funds offer diversifica-
tion and wealth-building opportunities
large-sector stocks can't, especially in this
financial market, he says.
That's not to say the research isn't
disheartening sometimes."I started in this
business in 2008 — the worst year since
the Great Depression." he says.
Lehman's life, too, has had its share
of commotion in recent years. During

Victoria and Michael Lehman of
Huntington Woods.

his years in school at the University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor, he met Victoria,
a law major who grew up in Kalamazoo,
Mich. When he graduated, he landed a job
at UBS near his New York home. He lived
in Manhattan and commuted to the firm's
New Jersey home office, rotating through
multiple UBS departments as part of his
Lehman's first position at UBS was in
operations and compliance in the firm's
Rochester, N.Y. office. Victoria's career,
however, took her to a Detroit law firm,
and the couple reached a fork in the road,
Lehman says. "We were kinda at that point
where we had to either move somewhere
together or break up:'
In 2007, Lehman got a transfer to UBS's
Farmington Hills office and moved to
Royal Oak. He then acquired a license
to be a financial adviser and joined his
current team at UBS. Along the way, he
married Victoria, and the couple settled in
Huntington Woods with their pet dog.
After working in three different states
during his six-year tenure at UBS, Lehman
says he's staying in Michigan, and staying
in his job."Every day is a challenge; I love
what I do. There are always ups and downs
in the markets — and life; ride it out:'



14 December 2011


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