A Better Boardroom
By Michael V. Copeland

(Business 2.0) – Forget oak paneling and stuffed Shirts Debating potential mergers. In the "board room" on the ground floor of Patagonia's Ventura, Calif., headquarters—where many of the outdoor-clothing-and-equipment company's 330 local staffers stow their wetsuits, canoe paddles, and, of course, surfboards—you'll find only smiling employees en route to the popular local surf break known as C Street. Sweet as the setup is, though, Patagonia didn't become a 32-year-old, $230 million company because its workers are out ripping it up when they should be bearing down. "When the swell is good, this place can get pretty empty," admits Bremen Schmeltz, a sales rep who often surfs for a couple of hours at lunchtime and then stays at his desk until 9 p.m. "But Patagonia is always the priority." — MICHAEL V. COPELAND