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It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it, maker and beholder meet.

Wednesday 1.26.11

Casser and Carbonic Heat B

usinessman and Casser’s previous expeentrepreneur rience—has been part Conrad Cassof his challenge. He er has a tiger by came to the Wood the tail, one that River Valley in he hopes to have 1974, interested in tamed by this time mountain managenext year. The ment. Early on, by: JIMA tiger is Carbonic however, he hooked Rice, Ph.D. Heat, a Korean up with Smith manufacturing comGoggles, then in its pany that has patented start-up phase, and and applied a unique method soon found himself of heating homes that is widely helping to grow the used in Korea. Casser bought the business. Life was company in 2007 with plans to full. Casser taught bring Carbonic Heat to untapped tennis in the morning, worked at markets worldwide, starting Smith in the afternoon, and was with the U.S. a Charthouse waiter at night. “I started out as a passive Casser took on the role of investor,� says Casser, “but then Smith’s general manager for a I realized the company wasn’t decade followed by 14 years as going to grow as I envisioned North America’s general manand I had to either walk away or ager for Carrera Sports Eyeget more involved.� Casser chose wear. While at Carrera, he was deeper involvement and has had introduced to Swiss-made Masai two challenging years, but he’s (MBT) Footwear, a unique type confident now that he’s got a of shoe that creates natural insuccessful product that will be stability underfoot with positive worth the effort. effects on the body’s balance and Carbonic Heat manufactures overall physiology. He thought an electric floor heating system the shoes were comfortable, but that consists of a flat, smooth, it was doctors, fitness professionpaper-thin sheet that is applied als, and chiropractors to whom across a structure’s subfloor. he showed the shoe that alerted The sheet, running off 120v or him to its health potential. He 240v, radiates heat through any bought a supply to help MBT kind of flooring material: tile, introduce its product to the U.S., wood, stone, and some kinds of and four years later was working carpeting. Radiant heat, rather in Hailey with 25 employees at than warming the air, warms MBT’s North American headthe inhabitants and the objects quarters, selling and shipping in a room. The method allows product around the country. “My thermostats to be reduced as greatest pride with that prodmuch as 20 degrees, according to uct was that it helped so many Casser. Additionally, the entire people,� says Casser. sheet radiates warmth, providCasser sold out of MBT in ing uniform heat distribution 2007 and was ready to retire over a floor’s surface. when Carbonic Heat showed up, Working with this technolintroduced to him by a friend ogy—a distinct departure from impressed with the product. “He

“I’m good at taking someone else’s product and making a business out of it‌putting together the nuts and bolts of marketing, finance, distribution‌â€?

business

bio

–Conrad Casser Owner, Carbonic Heat

was right,� he says. The product was “unique, leading edge, and had good margins and a huge potential market.� So he invested and the story unfolded from there. As Casser puts it, “I’m good at taking someone else’s product and making a business out of it, putting together the nuts and bolts of marketing, finance, distribution—the strategic plan—and making it happen.� How does he handle the challenge of learning a new technology, Korean production, and growing pains? “You just go there,� Casser states, “and there are some soul-searching times. But being able to slog along with something and then come out the other side is very satisfying.� Casser says he just puts one foot in front of the other each day and works long hours. But “every

Between ski runs at River Run, Conrad Casser shows off his new business, Carbonic Heat, a radiant floor heating system contained in a sheet of material that is thinner than a CD. Photo: JIMA RICE/TWP

day is interesting,� he says with a light in his eye, “like working on a puzzle, putting pieces together. It’s never rote, never predictable.� What’s his next step after Carbonic Heat? Casser takes a deep breath and smiles. “When Carbonic Heat is reliably up and running, I’ll be spending a lot more time with my family.� twp Jima Rice holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and is president of Jigsaw, Inc., a local 501(c)(3) non-profit that supports entrepreneurs, small businesses, and a sustainable economy in the Wood River Valley. To recieve Jigsaw’s free weekly e-letter, please contact Jima at jimasv@cox.net

theweeklypaper • 7

Film Fest Tuesday By KAREN BOSSICK

H

ave a look at a “Whitebark Warrior� and a ski adventure along a “Desert River,� which will be among three films shown at the Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival at The Liberty Theatre Tuesday night. Winter Wildlands Alliance is partnering with Idaho Conservation League’s Ketchum office to showcase the films during the Second Annual Sun Valley Nordic Festival, a nine-day event that begins on Saturday. “We thought it would be fun to have something in Hailey during the festival,� said Brett Stevenson of the ICL. The first film will be Best of Festival Teton Gravity Research’s “Deeper,� which follows snowboarder Jeremy Jones and other riders as they venture deep into untouched terrain without the aid of helicopters, snowmobiles or lifts. The second is “Desert River,� featuring a ski adventure in Alaska filmed by Sweetgrass Productions. The last is “Whitebark Warrior,� which chronicles the decline of thousand-year-old whitebark pines due to climate change and the efforts that are underway to save the iconic high alpine trees. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the films begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 and there will be a raffle and Big Sky beer, with proceeds going to Winter Wildlands Alliance’s efforts to preserve and conserve winter landscapes for quiet uses. The festival, which premiered in Boise, is traveling to more than 30 communities in the United States from Alaska to twp New Hampshire.

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January 26 with Health & Fitness  

a weekly entertainment paper serving the Wood River Valley and beyond