Steve Barker steps in as Outdoor Industry Association’s interim executive director

OIA hopes to have the position permanently filled in early 2020.
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Steve Barker headshot

Steve Barker is a force for outdoor participation, according to OIA.

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is more than one month into its search for a new executive director to replace Amy Roberts, who started at The North Face in the last week. 

In the meantime, Eagle Creek Co-Founder Steve Barker will serve as the interim executive director. He was previously the board chair of the Outdoor Foundation, OIA's charitable arm, but Jen Mull Neuhaus will assume the position in the while he leads the organization.

"It is paramount that we take the necessary time to find the next leader for the outdoor industry to collaborate on the issues that we will face over the next decade," OIA Board Chair Nora Stowell said. "Meanwhile, we have brought in Steve Barker as interim ED to continue the work with our great staff on our three pillars—sustainability, participation, and policy—and to be a connector, not only with our board, but also with other key constituents both inside and outside our industry."

SNEWS reached out to Barker for a comment, but has not heard back yet.

Nora Stowell's letter to OIA members in its entirety

Dear Outdoor Industry Members

Last week, Amy Roberts served her last day at OIA as executive director. As the OIA Board chair, I want to send one last thank you for her respected leadership over the last four years. We will forever be grateful for Amy's contribution and ability to lead with a balanced perspective and steady hand, and we wish her the best of luck in her new role at The North Face.

To continue the positive momentum of the work at OIA, we have formed a search committee to find a new executive director. The search has been underway for over one month, and we have done extensive outreach with more than 50 interested candidates. We expect to conduct interviews beginning in November, with a decision in December and a new executive director starting in early 2020.

In the interim, the board has asked industry veteran Steve Barker, who has been a longtime champion of OIA’s work, to support the OIA team as interim executive director. Steve co-founded Eagle Creek, and since that time he has served on the boards of OIA and the Conservation Alliance and is currently chairing the work of the Outdoor Foundation (OF). Steve has also been heavily involved in OIA’s state and local government affairs work. Steve will be joining the team starting on October 14 to bring additional capacity and leadership to OIA during the search process to ensure that the work of OIA continues to drive value for our membership.

While Steve is serving as interim OIA executive director, Jen Mull Neuhaus will assume the position of interim board chair for the Outdoor Foundation to guide the important work of getting more kids and families engaging in repeat and frequent outdoor experiences, so that the joy and wonder of the outdoors become an important part of their lives. As the former owner of Backwoods, Jen is deeply tied to the outdoor industry and is a strong advocate of the work of OIA and OF. She chaired the OIA Board from 2013 to 2015, sat on the OIA Board for several years prior to that and has been on the OF Board for the last three years.

This is an interesting time for the outdoor industry, and I am honored to be leading the board. We appreciate your support and engagement in the important work of OIA on behalf of the industry. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any comments, questions or concerns as we navigate through this transition.

Nora Stowell

OIA Board Chair

W.L. Gore & Associates, Fabric Sales and Marketing Divisional Leader

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