Now hiring: 30 new employees for South Bay bike shop

November 30, 2011 5:54:01 PM PST
A Silicon Valley bicycle maker is more bullish than most companies about hiring. It will participate in an ABC7 Job Fair Thursday to add 30 employees.

Thirty job openings represent a great deal of confidence, and at Specialized in Morgan Hill, strong exports to Europe and Asia are creating work for Americans.

Specialized was the first mass producer of mountain bikes. As fitness and cycling have grown in popularity, so has its expanding line of bikes, accessories and apparel. Now more than half of its sales are overseas.

Greg Pappas heads human resources, which Specialized calls the chief people officer.

"I think being a global company certainly helps, not only our business strategy, but just our growth opportunity and ability to hire different people and continue to create jobs for people," said Pappas.

Specialized has 300 people working at its Morgan Hill headquarters and it has current openings for 30 more -- a 10 percent expansion.

"Right now we have a few openings in IT. We have some marketing positions open, some engineering positions, some field positions," said Specialized job recruiter Nancy LaRocque. "It really runs the gamut throughout the whole company."

Specialized engineers and makes its own frames, handlebars and components. Assembly is done in Asia.

The reputation of American-designed bikes has created a global market. Winners of 11 world championships this year rode Specialized bikes.

Europe is a big market, Australia is emerging and Japan and Taiwan are strong.

The company has a typical Silicon Valley culture where dogs are welcome, but it also attracts a certain breed of employee.

"People that work here are really passionate about cycling or passionate about being outdoors or passionate about something that really kind of speaks to them, so very few people join a company like Specialized that are just looking for a job," said Pappas.

Employees work hard, but they also play hard. The bikes they keep next to their cubicles aren't just for show, they also cycle.

The noontime employee ride is part of the culture at Specialized, but be forewarned, job applicants are routinely invited along. It's not your typical job interview.

Specialized says it's so confident of its projected growth that as soon as it fills the 30 current job openings, it has plans to hire another 20. Specialized is just one of more than a dozen companies taking part in Thursday's HIREvent Job Fair in San Jose. It takes place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel on Gateway Place. For more information on this job fair, click here.


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