The promo community was struck by a tragedy last week when Stephan Baere, director of business development at S&S Activewear (PPAI 256121, S12), lost his life unexpectedly. Authorities believe that he was killed while attempting to save his dog from a moving train.

  • Baere was 52 years old.
  • He left behind his girlfriend and their two sons, ages 19 and 25.

An Unexpected Strategy

According to the San Diego County Sherrif, Baere was struck by a North County Transit District Coaster train.

  • It is believed that he was trying to rescue his dog.
  • The train conductor say that the train was heading south around 6:30 am when he saw a man attempting to free a dog on the tracks.
  • The train tracks where the incident took place were approximately a mile away from the apartment Baere shared with his girlfriend.
  • San Diego Police had received a call about a distressed dog outside his owner’s door not far from the tracks in Sorrento Valley.

The conductor attempted to hit the brakes but was not able to do so in time to prevent the accident.

The dog, a husky, survived and is at home with Baere’s girlfriend.

Baere’s girlfriend told media that he was “the nicest man she knew.”

An Impressive Promo Career

A nearly 20-year veteran of the promotional products industry, Baere spent the past eight years at S&S Activewear – ranked the No. 2 supplier in the inaugural PPAI 100. He worked in distributor relations and strategic partnerships before becoming director of business development in January of 2023.

Previously, Baere was business development manager at Sportsman Cap and Bag, focusing on improving underdeveloped territories within the promotional headwear and bag categories.

He also held managerial roles at TaylorMade, Adidas Golf Company and Gathering Storm, a division of TMax Gear, which was acquired by the former in 2011.

  • Baere graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s in business, management, marketing and related support services and earned the certification of Incentive Professional from the Incentive Marketing Association.