Dan J. Costa was born and raised in California’s Central Valley. A lifelong passion for business and innovation began at an early age as Costa entered the hospitality industry as a dishwasher and by high school graduation had worked his way through the ranks at a well-established local restaurant, eventually becoming the head chef.
In 1976, at age 23, Costa began his first business venture, opening 60-seat restaurant serving homemade soups, sandwiches and ice cream in his hometown of Modesto, CA. Thirty Velvet Creamery restaurants were opened with Costa at the helm. During a 10-year span, he had created a vertically integrated company from food manufacturing to real estate, to full service restaurant. Included in this structure was wholesale produce and food service company, Davis Lay, which was later sold to Port Stockton Foods. Additionally, the company produced fresh soups, pastas and sauces under the Mallard’s Food Products label. In 1997, Mallard’s Food Products became a division of Tyson Foods, Inc. Also during this time, Costa opened Mallard’s, a 200-seat restaurant in Modesto, CA. Mallard’s was listed in the nation’s top 100 independent restaurants. Two additional Northern California locations opened in 1988 and 1991.
In 1999, Costa purchased Royal Robbins, a 30-year outdoor and travel clothing company. After doubling sales and decreasing costs, he sold Royal Robbins in 2003 to Phoenix Footwear. In 2003, Costa spun off the 5.11 Tactical brand from its parent company Royal Robbins, essentially creating the first tactical apparel brand. 5.11 Tactical was built on a foundation of durability, quality and value. After growing the 5.11 Tactical brand to be one of the most recognized names in public safety apparel worldwide, Costa sold majority ownership in 2007.
Since 2012, Costa has launched several more performance apparel companies with his daughter Kelsie under the umbrella of Innov8 Partners, including Noble Outfitters and First Tactical. Noble Outfitters began in 2013 and now includes an extensive line of apparel, footwear, accessories and animal care that cater to the equestrian enthusiast. Noble Outfitters products are available in over 2,500 stores in the US, with additional retailers Canada, England and Australia.
With First Tactical, launched in the US on July 4, 2015, Costa reentered the tactical apparel market. Focused on providing the end consumer with improved gear at better prices, First Tactical offers apparel, footwear and accessories precisely created for professionals in the emergency and law enforcement sectors. In early 2017, Costa oversaw the merge of First Tactical and Point Blank Enterprises. The merge allows one of the world’s top body armor companies to partner with Costa’s rapidly growing apparel company while providing customers a one-stop-shop when purchasing uniforms. The two teams will begin building an integrated clothing and body armor system that is unseen in the tactical marketplace.Back to Executive Leaders