You probably won’t recognize his name, but you certainly know his handy work. Not to mention, Mother Ocean likes to think of him as her prodigal son. Meet Olaf Lohr, the main man behind Surfrider’s stellar membership drive.
Whenever you see a Surfrider sticker, email or newsletter, Olaf is the one who’s directing the creative distribution. As Membership Manager, O is on the hook for securing new members and keeping current one’s happy. So as you would imagine, much of his job is handshakes and smiles—and action sports loves him for it! Originally from Chemnitz, Germany, O hit Orange County in the late 90’s when he worked for a dot comer that provided technical support to Surfrider. After meeting the crew and volunteering at a few of their fundraisers, a position emerged that had O’s name written all over it. Already aware of his hard work ethic, Surfrider eagerly welcomed him aboard. (Which further proves what we’ve been saying all along: internships/volunteering = open doors.)
NAME: Olaf Lohr
HOMETOWN: Chemnitz / Germany
CURRENTLY LIVING IN: San Juan Capistrano
UNIVERSITIES: Bayreuth / Germany, Montpellier / France
LANGUAGES: German, French, bit of Spanish
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION AMERICANS HAVE ABOUT GERMANS: Germans drink warm beer wearing leather pants. WRONG: They wear jeans. And the beer is not warm.
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION GERMANS HAVE ABOUT AMERICANS: drink coke and eat burgers. Wrong, Americans drink diet Pepsi and eat Mexican food.
BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION THE WORLD HAS ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY: Trestles is not in Orange County.
WHEN YOU WERE A KID, YOU WANTED TO GROW UP TO BE? Never really knew except that I wanted to own my business.
YOUR PARENTS WANTED YOU TO BE? Electrical Engineer
HOME BREAK: Creek and Lower’s
FAVORITE BREAK: Pavones
BIGGEST CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS: We have almost doubled in members than when I started.
ADVICE TO THOSE WHO WANT TO WORK AT SURFRIDER? Your surfing style won’t get you in. Being an expert in the position you want to get will get you in. And, experience as a volunteer in one of our chapters is great because this is Surfrider Foundation’s backbone.
THE WORST WAY TO GO ABOUT GETTING A JOB AT SURFRIDER: Being unprofessional
DESCRIBE THE TYPICAL ROLES OF A SURFRIDER INTERN: Typically we have high level internships in coastal law and environmental science. Our interns work on specific projects, sometimes extending our existing staff’s capabilities because of their specific knowledge or expertise. A good example was this one intern from Canada, who mapped out our “State of the Beach Report” in the British Columbia area. She was a graduate in environmental science—a very active volunteer and surfer with local knowledge.
BEST WORK PERKS: Great responsibility and the ability to make decisions.
ARE YOU SURFING MORE OR LESS SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR JOB? Definitely more.
UPCOMING CAREER GOALS: Cracking the 60,000 members mark
DO YOU FEEL YOU’RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE? I really do. Our organization is making this world a better place. Hearing how passionate our members are about saving our oceans and beaches—that alone makes all things worthwhile.
IF FOR WHATEVER REASON YOU WOKE UP WITH OUT YOUR JOB, HOW WOULD YOU BEGIN YOUR NEW JOB SEARCH? I’d start by hiring myself.