Recap: ATA Board of Directors Meeting

Members of the ATA Board of Directors met in July. The meeting was hosted by Hoyt Archery in Salt Lake City.
Photo Credit: Teresa Johnson

Author: Cassie Scott

The Archery Trade Association’s Board of Directors met in Salt Lake City last month to discuss topics important to the ATA’s membership, which consists of archery manufacturers and retailers. The 18-member Board convened at Hoyt Archery, Inc., an ATA member company which offered to host the meeting. In the Board room, the dialogue was passionate and productive as company leaders from large and small businesses shared information about the archery and bowhunting industry and provided strategic guidance for the trade association’s staff.

Among the topics discussed:

Chairman’s Report – Ben Summers, chairman of the Board of Directors, focused his report on the significant accomplishments and dramatic changes made during Jay McAninch’s tenure as president and CEO. McAninch announced his intention to step down earlier this year, and a CEO search is currently underway. A Board of Directors search committee is spearheading that effort with the assistance of an executive search firm.

Seats Added for Buying Groups – The Board voted to add two additional retail seats, one for each of the two largest buying groups, the Archery Range and Retailers Organization (ARRO) and the National Archery Buyers Association (NABA), citing the need for retailers and manufacturers to have as many opportunities as possible to collaborate. These seats will be held by Deb Colgrove, executive secretary of ARRO, and Gary Kinard, president of NABA.

Ben Summers of T.R.U. Ball/AXCEL, Chairman of the Board of Directors, participates in the discussion, along with Mark Copeland of Jay's Sporting Goods (left) and Todd Bahnub of Mathews Archery (far left). Photo credits: Teresa Johnson/ATA

Added Membership Categories: Archery Range Operators and Government Agencies –  Board members discussed the potential for archery range operators to take advantage of the many benefits offered to ATA members. There are currently retail businesses that operate as  ranges which receive access to ATA ePRO and other benefits. Dan Forster, ATA’s director of government relations, recommended government agencies also receive a membership category, which would remove them from the non-profit category. The membership expansions serve to identify more clearly the diversity of organizations and businesses that chose to affiliate with ATA, giving the ATA a more well-rounded membership base.

Revised Language for Non-Profits – Revisions will be made to the language of the non-profit membership category to insure those groups approved for membership have a mission and goals that align with the ATA and/or are working as partners with the ATA to grow participation.

Allow Voting Members to Decide Ties Among Directors – A motion was passed to allow voting ATA members to vote to break a tie among Board of Director candidates. If the second vote ends in a tie, the election would then be decided by a vote of the Board of Directors. The new tie-breaking procedure insures that ATA members determine who represents them on the ATA Board of Directors.

Discussion on Counterfeiting – Counterfeit archery and bowhunting products result in a loss of profit for ATA members and jeopardize the safety of archery and bowhunting participants. McAninch shared a number of actions recently taken to resolve counterfeiting problems. In addition, McAninch proposed a multifaceted counterfeit product program to the board which was unanimously approved for immediate implementation. The program will focus first on eliminating companies involved in counterfeiting from the members and the trade show. A second step will involve use of the ATA logo on Member company products to designate the products as original.  Use of the logo by nonmembers will bring about swift and strong legal action from ATA which should help reduce counterfeiting.

Chronic Wasting Disease Update – CEO Jay McAninch addressed the Board regarding concern for Chronic Wasting Disease, an always-fatal disease found in deer, elk and moose in the United States and Canada. The discussion included the need for research and surveillance efforts in state wildlife agencies, and work being done by the National Deer Alliance to gain nationwide support to tackle CWD-related issues. They also discussed a USA Today article mentioning the potential for the disease to jump to humans who eat CWD-infected venison.

ATA staff also provided presentations to the Board of Directors regarding progress on various projects and initiatives. Photo credits: Teresa Johnson/ATA

Retail Council Updates – Chair of the Retail Council, Mark Copeland, reported on the recent progress of the retail council during a meeting held in May in Wisconsin. The discussion included mention of the election of six new members to the council and the progress made with ATA Connect, the ATA’s newest online discussion community created exclusively for ATA member-retailers.

Bowhunting Initiative Updates – A nationwide bowhunting initiative adopted by the ATA Board in 2016 continues to focus on issues regarding bowhunting interest, regulations and recruitment efforts.   The ATA has underway a  three-pronged approach including communications, government relations, and outreach and education strategies to help overcome participation downfalls. The launch of Bowhunting360 by the Communications team, the expanded implementation of Explore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing by the Outreach team and efforts by the government relations team to update state bowhunting regulations and reactivate lapsed bowhunters are highlights of ATA efforts to increase bowhunting participation.

Government Relations Report – Director of Government Relations Dan Forster said he worked closely with CEO Jay McAninch while attending the National Deer Alliance Summit meeting and while working with the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable. ATA has had a strong influence through industry projects like the Archery Equipment Transportation update with Amtrak, Deer Protection Program Oversight Committee establishment, as well as the leadership transition in the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. Forster also presented to the Board his involvement with data collection and survey work for several nationwide initiatives.

Meeting participants were invited to the Easton Salt Lake Archery Center, where ATA Board member Greg Easton of Jas. D. Easton, Inc. provided a tour of the facilities, including the Center's impressive 70 meter indoor range. Photo credits: Teresa Johnson/ATA

Outreach and Education Report – Emily Beach, ATA’s senior director of education and outreach, explained and clarified how she and her team reach beyond our industry to do vital archery and bowhunting work on behalf of ATA members. She discussed recent partnerships with non-government organizations and state wildlife agencies, and their progress to build a grassroots base in communities nationwide. Beach also provided updates on the Retail Growth InitiativeExplore Bowhunting and Explore Bowfishing programs, including the recent demand in “Explore Caza Con Arco” materials, the Spanish version of ATA’s Explore Bowhunting program.

Trade Show Report – Maria Lewis, ATA’s senior director of Trade Show and membership, reviewed the 2018 Trade Show registration plan, booth sales numbers, an updated floorplan and new rules on displays and advertising for ATA members, including the ban on airguns that shoot arrows, with the ATA Board. The ATA Trade Show is the archery and bowhunting industry’s largest and most inclusive show. It will be held Jan. 11-13 in Indianapolis. Lewis also went over budget adjustments and asked Board members to report conversations regarding the Show so she can address concerns and adjust strategies as needed.

Communications Report – Teresa Johnson, ATA’s senior director of communications and administration, explained how the Communications team works collectively with all ATA teams to effectively communicate news, announcements and plans. Johnson discussed a planned redesign of to better serve ATA members’ needs, as well as the rollout of the newly-launched, designed to drive consumers to archery retail stores. Social media and Google advertising to drive traffic to Archery 360’s and Bowhunting 360’s store locators will continue in full force throughout the remainder of the year. The Communications team is also preparing its strategy for Trade Show coverage.

The ATA’s Board of Directors next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 10, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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