Industry

Growth and Guidance: Evolution of the ATA Board of Directors, Part 2

The ATA Board of Directors has undergone significant changes in the past 15 years. How has it evolved?
Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

Author: Cassie Scott

The ATA Board of Directors has come far the past 20 years. In Part 1 we explained how the Board grew from 12 seats to 20 since 2002, and how that diversity helped balance industry representation among Board members.

Now let’s discuss how Board members are changing the industry and facing its latest challenges.

Strong, Unified Force

 

Jimmy Primos, chief operations officer for Primos Hunting Calls, started serving on the Board in 2008, and was vice chair in 2011. Primos remembers when the ATA struggled getting candidates to fill Board seats. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

The ATA Board meets three times annually to craft investment strategies for ATA programs and facilities that promote archery, maintain and protect bowhunting, and work with state and federal officials and agencies.

The Board focuses on solving problems and moving the industry forward. Board member Randy Phillips, owner of Archery Headquarters in Arizona, said the Board handles those tasks better than ever because it’s more “professional.”

Dave White, president of Hot Shot Manufacturing, agrees, saying the Board has “matured.” In other words, the ATA Board has evolved by improving its size, focus, “atmosphere,” work ethic, and composition of its representatives.

Jimmy Primos, chief operations officer for Primos Hunting Calls, started serving on the Board in 2008, and was vice chair in 2011. Primos remembers when the ATA struggled getting candidates to fill Board seats. In recent years, multiple applicants regularly compete for the seats. In the 2017 Board election, for example, 13 candidates squared off for three positions.

Primos said the Board is also on firm ground financially, which helps it focus on strategic matters. “Our No. 1 goal is to help our members be more successful,” he said.

Revamping the Retail Council

The ATA Retail Council, a group that helps guide and support the organization’s retail members, used to meet occasionally to address issues affecting industry retailers. Photo Credit: Ryan Kirby

The Board wasn’t the only ATA group to receive such TLC. The ATA Retail Council, a group that helps guide and support the organization’s retail members, used to meet occasionally to address issues affecting industry retailers. For instance they met when the ATA was building Archery 360’s store locator, and met again when ATA staff created the Explore Bowhunting curriculum. In other words, the Retail Council stepped in as needed.

However, the Board and ATA president/CEO Jay McAninch wanted even more input from the Retail Council. To make it more productive — that is, help retailers grow their stores, and improve archery and bowhunting’s markets — the Council needed a new start, which began in 2016. It expanded its reach even further in 2017 to include new membersso the group could tackle bigger issues and create better resources for retailers.

Who’s on the Retail Council? It’s led by seven ATA Board members and five retailers who meet monthly to discuss how to best support and strengthen retailers. The group strives to represent all industry retailers, whether they work online, at single-proprietor stores, at multichannel giants like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops, or for the industry’s top buying groups: the National Archery Buyers Association and the Archery Range and Retailers Organization.

Overall Industry Growth

An example of those efforts revealed itself in a recent ATA survey that found 23.8 million Americans enjoyed archery in 2015. In fact, archery and bowhunting participation jumped over 20 percent from 2012 to 2015. Photo Credit: cbayou.org

The archery and bowhunting industry has flourished under the ATA Board’s guidance. Maybe that’s because the Board has always benefited from companies whose leaders dedicate time, money and resources to serving the industry. “That’s obvious when you look at everything we’ve achieved over the years,” McAninch said.

An example of those efforts revealed itself in a recent ATA survey that found 23.8 million Americans enjoyed archery in 2015. In fact, archery and bowhunting participation jumped over 20 percent from 2012 to 2015.

Outtech president Jay Scholes, meanwhile, saw that progress firsthand. When he rejoined the ATA Board in 2016 after first serving nearly 20 years earlier, Scholes said he witnessed the transformation in his everyday work. He poses two questions to ATA members: “Where were you then? And where are you now?”

Scholes acknowledges the past two years have been difficult for many companies, but advises businesses to step back and think about what they’re comparing.

“My business is five times the size of what it was 20 years ago,” Scholes said. “We can’t lose sight of where we came from. Companies have grown, participation numbers have increased, and the industry has flourished.”

Hoyt president Randy Walk, who still attends Board meetings as an Easton company, agreed.

“Some say today is a low spot in the industry,” he said. “I’m not sure that’s necessarily true, but even if it is, we’re significantly farther ahead than we were 20 years ago. People are quick to blame the Trade Association for their struggles, but it’s grossly unfair. The only thing the ATA has done is help. We would be in a much worse place than we are now if it weren’t for (the ATA).”

Always Moving Forward


As the Board moves forward, its 20 members face many challenges to the industry and its sports, including counterfeiting,chronic wasting disease and minimum advertised pricing policies. According to Kormann, though, the Board is well-positioned to find opportunities in the face of a changing marketplace. Photo Credit: Ryan Kirby

The ATA remains under strong, consistent leadership as it transitions from McAninch to his successor, Matt Kormann. Between the ATA Board of Directors, the revitalized Retail Council and its new president/CEO, ATA members should feel confident they’ll receive the support and guidance they need.

As the Board moves forward, its 20 members face many challenges to the industry and its sports, including counterfeitingchronic wasting disease and minimum advertised pricing policies. According to Kormann, though, the Board is well-positioned to find opportunities in the face of a changing marketplace. “Thanks to the strong foundation laid by Jay and the Board members who have worked so hard over the years, we’re in a great place to move forward,” Kormann said. “Our entire team is energized and incredibly passionate about helping our members grow and succeed, and the current Board is engaged and invested in our success. We are fortunate to have their guidance and support.”

If you have questions or want to share concerns, contact the ATA’s business office at (866) 266-2776 or (507) 233-8130.

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