Alumni Spotlight: Seth Buchwalter

Alumni Spotlight: Seth Buchwalter
Posted on 05/24/2023
Alumni Spotlight: Seth Buchwalter

Ellenville High School alumnus Seth Buchwalter may have built an exciting life and career as a public relations and marketing professional in the city of Portland, Oregon, but the 2004 graduate says that he now has even more appreciation for his hometown.

“When I come home [to Ellenville] to visit my parents, I really see how it, too, is a great place to live,” he says. “It has that small, quiet town feel and a beautiful natural setting.”

After graduating from the University at Albany in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric and Communication, Seth entered the field of public relations with a small agency in Saratoga Springs. That would become the stepping stone for his next big career move, which brought him to New York City as a creative marketing professional for Brand Definition, where he enjoyed four years of success working in the music industry. 

During this time, Seth says he “became good at building relationships with artists and engineers,” and relished both meeting several Grammy Award winners and traveling around the world. But what really changed his life was his next move, which led him to Oregon, his future wife, and the very first On store (featuring Swiss performance running shoes and clothing) to open in the United States. 

While active on both Junior Varsity and Varsity teams, Seth says he wasn’t much of an athlete during his days at Ellenville. He discovered the joy of running in his mid-twenties, however, and in 2017, he began entering competitive obstacle course racing. “I finally found a sport that caters to my strengths,” he says. 

Seth explains that his 6'4”, 210 lb. frame can sometimes present a challenge. “It's a lot more work racing against people who aren't carrying as much weight,” he says. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Seth refocused his athletics to local trails, and has since run through the deserts of Arizona, in the mountains in British Columbia, and up and down volcanoes in Oregon. 

The On store, which incorporates specialized cushioning technology called "Cloudtec" into their running shoes, facilitated his new hobby. But running eventually became much more than a hobby. Seth took the reins of the brand’s community running club (based out of the Portland On store), managing both the daily activities of the club and partnerships with like-minded brands. Through his Instagram account, he promotes the company’s gear, engages in fitness discussions, and informs the running community about local community runs and races.

“To be the face of such an inspirational global company, telling stories about fitness, movement, and community in my city, is one of the best professional experiences I’ve had in my decade-plus communications career,” he says. “It’s really easy to talk about a brand you’re passionate about—living its spirits and vision daily!”

Seth is a true Ellenville Blue Devil. He attended Ellenville schools since Kindergarten, and remembers many good times at each one. As far as extracurriculars go, Seth played Soccer and Basketball, while also participating in the Chorus and Chamber Singers.

“That’s one great thing about growing up in a small town with a small school,” he says. “You can get involved in many different activities rather than having to specialize in just one. It’s much more manageable.”

Seth says he enjoyed his teachers, but there are two that stand out in his memories—Music teacher Bob Oehme and English teacher Dennis Warner (who passed away in 2013). “Both of these teachers made learning fun,” he says. “They always respected us and listened to us. It was a pleasure to be their student.”

These days, Seth stays busy balancing his career, raising a family—which includes his wife Sarah and their two-year-old daughter Ella—and of course, staying fit and running. Seth’s favorite trails to run on are the local waterfall trails near his home, but recently, he discovered another special place.
“Last time I was in Ellenville, I ran the trail up to the ‘Senior Rock,’” he says. “I never realized how cool or accessible it was, and wish I had taken advantage of it when I was a kid.”

“If only the Ellenville coaches could see me now!” he laughs. 

Seth BuchwalterSeth Buchwalter