The 2017 NSSF Industry Summit, which attracted industry professionals from across the country to Austin, Texas, June 5-7, is receiving high praise for the impactful and engaging information it delivered to attendees to help them grow their businesses and participation in hunting and the shooting sports.
Attendance by nearly 270 industry leaders was second only to the 2015 Summit in Savannah, Georgia, and attests to the continuing value of these annual events. NSSF Summits have led to the development of many successful programs and initiatives benefitting the future of firearms ownership, hunting and target shooting.
— Ashley Hlebinsky (@ashleyhlebinsky) June 8, 2017
The Summit provided valuable content for all segments of the industry – from manufacturers, retailers and ranges, natural resource agencies and hunting and conservation groups – and focused on the opportunities and challenges the industry now faces in a new political environment and ever-changing and growing digital landscape. The Summit has set a new standard for offering sessions that motivate individuals, companies and organizations to improve and make meaningful changes to help ensure a healthy future for our industry and firearms-related sports.
Before the learning and thought sharing began, Summit attendees enjoyed the event’s opening reception at the YETI flagship store in downtown Austin, where they listened to live music, socialized, ate delicious food and checked out cool YETI merchandise.
The Summit kicked off with a welcome from NSSF President Steve Sanetti, followed by inspirational words from six-time Olympic medal winner and shooting champion Kim Rhode. Rhode shared how she got started shooting through dove hunting with her father, stories of her successful career and awkward political situations that she has faced that any typical Olympian would never encounter. She stated, “If we don’t step up to introduce others to the shooting sports, simply, no one else will.”
Following Kim Rhode was Wildlife Management Institute’s Programs Manager Matt Dunfee in the session “What is R3?” and Bob Curry, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Deputy Assistant Director, speaking about the impact and accomplishments of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program.
“We haven’t been trying to make more ‘hunters’ or ‘shooters’; we’ve been trying to reproduce our culture.” – Matt Dunfee at #NSSFSummit.
— NSSF (@NSSF) June 6, 2017
Next, pro shooter Julie Golob took the stage in “The Rise or Demise of the Shooting Sports” to discuss the challenges competitive shooting sports programs face with participation and ways to overcome those challenges. Golob compared shooting sports websites to CrossFit’s website and used CrossFit as a model to follow for increasing engagement and making the shooting sports more attractive and welcoming.
Taking a step away from industry-specific topics, Matt Beaudreau, Certified Keynote Speaker at The Center for Generational Kinetics, began his energetic session “Crossing the Generational Divide.” Beaudreau interacted with the audience to help explain the distinct differences and similarities across generations. “Technology always ripples up,” stated Beaudreau. “So, if you can follow the technological trends of younger generations — the Millennials, Gen Z — you can now win everybody. It doesn’t work the other way around.”
“You don’t start out entitled. It starts at home.” Matt Beaudreau at the #NSSFSummit. Excellent talk on generational differences.
— Nick Pinizzotto (@Nick_Pinizzotto) June 6, 2017
The afternoon sessions included topics that focused on new customers and how companies can be more open and welcoming to attract new hunters and shooters. The first afternoon session featured a grassroots panel, which included Founder of Black Guns Matter Maj Toure, Diversity Outreach Coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Alix Pedraza, owner of The Well Armed Woman Carrie Lightfoot and spokesperson for Pink Pistols Nicole Stallard, that discussed ways to be more welcoming to new customers and explained the mindsets customers have when entering a firearms retail store or shooting range.
Sunny Grosso, Coaching & Culture Chief at Delivering Happiness, then spoke about delivering happiness to customers and your workplace through positive employee engagement. Before the day’s agenda broke off into a more social note, a women’s panel discussed the past, present and future of women in hunting and the shooting sports.
Day two of the Summit featured two headliner presentations, with the main meeting room packed for a discussion on industry trends, insights and concerns by a panel of three high-profile industry leaders – Marty Daniel of Daniel Defense, Travis Hall of Browning and Brett Flaugher of Winchester Ammunition. Following the “View from the Top” CEO panel was a state agencies panel that discussed what programs different state departments were running to attract new hunters through focusing on the locavore movement.
The Summit wrapped up appropriately with best-selling author and inspirational speaker John O’Leary, who set attendees’ hearts and minds on fire with tales of inspiration, personal growth and an attitude that makes us look within to see how we can live an inspired life.
BECAUSE OF TODAY’S MESSAGE: I commit to giving myself permission to do what I want to do with my career and embrace my strengths #NSSFSummit
— Jenn Jacques (@JennJacques) June 7, 2017
I, on behalf of NSSF, would like to thank the 2017 Industry Summit sponsors — U.S. Concealed Carry Association, Georgia Department of Economic Development, CMC Triggers, Boy Scouts of America, Joseph Chiarello & Co., Magpul, Sportsmen’s Alliance and YETI — for making this event such a hit.