This award and the ceremony was a part of the great outdoor exhibition, the Outdoor 2012. The winner of this honorable award is always selected by a joint of well known journalists (they must have discriminated me because I am a snail) and industry representatives. And the award went to Mr. Josef Wagner, the 90-year-old shoemaker from Germany. He is the nephew of Hans Wagner, the founder of the famous shoemaking company, Hanwag. Josef started the whole thing almost 80 years ago as an apprentice at his uncle's company in Vierkirchen, a small town near Munich. And he was the one who turned that "small" workshop into an internationally well known outdoor footwear company. Let me summarize briefly the story of Hanwag which is more or less Mr. Josef Wagner's story :
In 1919 HANs WAGner learnt the art of making shoes with double stitches (the technique that Hanwag still uses.) After two years, in 1921 he opened his workshop in Vierkirchen. In 1923 he already had four apprentices, and he built his first house. After the first five years his shoes were in demand, and he had to employ seamstresses. From the year of 1940 these double-stitched beauties have being made by machines. After WWII Hans was thinking about names for his company, and chose Hawa (the shortened version of his names). But in 1952 he renamed it, because Hawa was quite similar to an existing textile company. In 1956 Hanwag exhibited at the Sport equipment trade show in Wiesbaden (later became the ISPO), and Josef Wagner met there Klaus Obermeyer who was very active in the American skiing business. In the following years Hanwag produced unique boots for his business with the name Garmisch.
In 1970 Hanwag's Haute Route was the world's first-and-only high alpine ski touring shoe. From the 80's
Hanwag broke into the climbing world, and produced light climbing shoes that were very unique at that time. Considered the suggestions of Sepp Gschwendtner (German climbing legend), Hanwag was able to meet all the climbers' requirements. And with the growing number of trekkers and hikers, Hanwag started to concentrate on these fields, and chose as the primary focus of operation.
In 1996 Hanwag produced the Alaska GTX, the best known trekking boots, and it remains one of Hanwag's bestsellers. In 2004 without inheritors, Josef Wagner sold his company to Fenix Outdoor AB under the conditions that all the workplaces were to be kept, and the head office remained in Vierkirchen. In 2006 they built a completely new manufacturing and service complex in Vierkirchen to keep the production of some models in Germany, and Hanwag's other production plants are in Hungary and Croatia.
In 2011 Hanwag celebrated its 90th anniversary with the slogan: 90 YEARS OF ALPINE EXPERIENCE. And this year (2012) Mr. Josef (Sepp) Wagner was awarded as the OUTDOOR CELEBRITY OF THE YEAR 2012.
And keeping the focus on Sepp Wagner... He took over the management in 1964, and turned the workshop into an internationally well known outdoor brand. But don't even think about Sepp Wagner as an ordinary retired man. Because it is still very likely that you'll run into him in Hanwag's production facility. He is still working every day. The only exception is Thursday, because that day he meets his three tennis mates to play double. No question that no-one would deserve this award better than him. Jürgen Siegwarth (head of marketing and sales at Hanwag) told: "We can still benefit so much from his outstanding experience and his profound shoemaking skills. But above all, Josef Wagner is a role model for all of us!"