At the head of the company are 84-year-old matriarch Gert Boyle, chairman of the board of directors, and her son, Tim Boyle, president and chief executive officer. Columbia's history began in the 1930s when Gert's parents fled Germany and settled in Portland, Oregon. They bought a small hat distributorship and named it Columbia Hat Company, after the river bordering the city. Frustrated by poor deliveries from suppliers, the family started manufacturing products themselves, and expanded the line to include jackets, fishing vests and shirts. Columbia is known as a product innovator and has an unparalleled reputation for quality and value. These basic principles guide Columbia through the creation of inventive and highly popular designs, including its famous Interchange System¿. Columbia developed this revolutionary concept in 1982 and it has since propelled the company to the forefront of the outerwear industry. Columbia's first Interchange jackets were made for hunting and featured a weatherproof outer shell and an insulating inner jacket that could be worn together or separately. As Columbia Sportswear has grown, so has its commitment to serving the expanding community. Locally and throughout the world, Columbia provides support to organizations that specialize in human assistance, conservation, the environment, the arts and education. Columbia's chairman's passion drives them to make the best products for outdoors people with the same spirit. They believe this passion is what defines true pioneers. Not skill. Not the size of the mountains they play on. It's their joy. To them this makes the great outdoors the Greater Outdoors.