Johnson comes to ASI with more than 30 years working in product and business development for companies including Specialized, Brunswick, Huffy and Pacific Cycle. Johnson got her start at retail at Champaign Cycle—where she learned how to work on bikes—to pay her way through school at the University of Illinois.
While at Specialized, Johnson began traveling regularly to Asia as she was tasked with spec’ing entry-level bikes including children’s, hybrids, some mountain bikes and BMX. After a nine-year stint at Specialized she decided to focus her interests on basic products for the underserved. That led her to Brunswick working on Mongoose, Roadmaster and licensed models. From there she moved to Huffy and then finally Pacific Cycle, a division of Dorel Industries, where she most recently was vice president of business development.
Johnson was among the 50 employees cut by Dorel earlier this year after the company reported a weak second quarter for its recreational and leisure division. She went to work for Pacific shortly after Chris Hornung had sold it to Dorel.
“When we learned Ellen was available, our entire senior management team didn’t think twice. We’ve always respected her work and love how she thinks outside of the box,” said Pat Cunnane, president of ASI, in a press release. “To now have her on board, we’re simply thrilled.”
Johnson will move from Madison, Wisconsin, to work out of ASI’s Philadelphia headquarters. She joins the growing ranks of women there, which number 15 out of more than 60 employees. ASI’s Cunnane has spoken at numerous conferences and panels about the benefits of workplace diversity and specifically bringing more women into the industry. Johnson joins an all-male product team.
“We see great potential in our lifestyle bikes within our SE, Fuji and Breezer lines, and we look forward to working with Ellen to help us grow in the ever-expanding lifestyle market—a market she thrives in,” said James Peters, ASI’s director of product development. “Her extensive network of contacts, experience in product development across multiple top-level brands, technical knowledge and customer focus make her a huge asset to our team.”
Johnson added: “I'm looking forward to developing great products, helping ASI continue to expand, and learning from such a passionate, experienced team. And as a proud, avid and perhaps unorthodox urban cyclist, I’m looking forward to the vibrant, big city of Philadelphia.”