CEO Blog: Lessons Learned in the Woods

Matt Kormann reflects on his first weeks on the job at ATA.
Photo Credit: Matt Kormann

Author: Matt Kormann

Target shooters like my daughter are fond of saying that archery is hard. That’s true. But tough lessons provide powerful experiences, and none can match those I learned in the woods last week during my first bowhunt. I learned a lot up in that treestand. I could have been more patient with a shot. I was reminded how critical it is to focus on the shot process instead of the result.

Many of these experiences translate to leadership lessons I’ve brought to my new role. More on those in a future post. I came home without filling my freezer – yet – and I also came home with a burning desire to get back into a treestand.

As Jay McAninch spelled out in his most recent blog, “We’re facing bowhunting’s first crisis in modern times.” Our Board and staff are well aware of that. I’ve come into my ATA tenure with my eyes wide open to those facts. Each of us joined this team because it gives us the chance to make a difference in a sport we love. That’s why I’m here today.

I’m eager to see manufacturers keep leading the way in R&D so bowhunters and target archers can improve their games. I’m excited to see retailers, dealers and distributors not simply survive in a challenging environment, but thrive and build a community with their customers.

Matt Kormann, President and CEO of the ATA stated, “As a native Minnesotan, it’s been rewarding to find myself back in the upper Midwest during the most beautiful time of the year.” Photo Courtesy: Matt Kormann.

Thanks to bowhunting, I’ve found new appreciation for archery as an industry. I expect I’ll learn a lot more from our members in the coming weeks. I’m eager to add those lessons to how the ATA supports our members. I’m just as eager to work together to ensure we’re growing stronger through challenging times like those we face today.

After these first two weeks, I know we have a mountain to climb. That mountain is going to get taller every year. But together I’m confident in our ability to summit it. As I close out my second week with the Archery Trade Association, I’m more excited for our industry than ever.

I’ve spent time getting to know our team. I’ve found exceptional marketers, engaging writers, brilliant educators, and incredibly talented planners. And as a native Minnesotan, it’s rewarding to find myself back in the upper Midwest during the most beautiful time of the year.

In many of these discussions, I’ve been reminded of lessons I learned from my father while growing up working in his corner grocery in St. Paul. Customer service was king there, as was his deep commitment that how he did business was more important than how much business he did.

“None of us can be sure. But what is certain is the love our staff has for our industry, the concern we have for your businesses, and the drive we all have to put more bows in the woods and in people’s hands.” – Matt Kormann, ATA President/CEO. Photo Courtesy: Matt Kormann.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be getting to know some of our members while working closely with our teams who are preparing for #ATA2018. Already in my first week I’ve discussed the challenges our retailers face when starting a new business. I’ve been proud of the support network our staff has created for those members.

What does the future hold for the ATA and our industry? None of us can be sure. All that’s certain is that our staff loves our industry, they’re concerned with your businesses, and we’re all driven to put more bows into the woods and into people’s hands.

If you haven’t registered yet for #ATA2018, do it now. Book a plane ticket or plan your drive, and come talk to me in Indianapolis. Take advantage of the many opportunities the ATA Trade Show offers to help your business grow.

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