OIA Announces 2008 Industry Award Recipients

OIA last week announced the recipients of the 2008 Outdoor Industry Ambassador Award and Outdoor Industry Innovator Awards, as nominated by the outdoor industry and then selected by OIA’s Board of Directors.

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) last week announced the recipients of the 2008 Outdoor Industry Ambassador Award and Outdoor Industry Innovator Awards, as nominated by the outdoor industry and then selected by OIA's Board of Directors. The awards were presented at the Industry Breakfast at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City before an audience of 500 show attendees.

The winners of the 2008 Outdoor Industry Business Innovator Award are Horny Toad and Timberland. The winners of the 2008 Outdoor Industry Ambassador Award are Mountain Gear and the Sierra Club.

Outdoor Industry Association Business Innovator Award
The Outdoor Industry Business Innovator Award recognizes an industry business that has made significant contributions toward the continued innovation and growth of the outdoor industry, either through a dynamic business initiative or the creation and development of a new business tool or process.

Apparel company Horny Toad won the innovator of the year award for a small- and medium-sized business for an online toolbox it developed to help retailers place buys. CEO Gordon Seabury hopes to share the technology, developed in close cooperation with a buyer at Adventure 16, with the entire industry so that buyers can spend more time outside and less time sitting in front of their computers.

Winning the innovator award for large companies was Timberland for its Green Index label, which the company began rolling out last year with its footwear line. The awards panel described the index as a “credible” way to gauge a product's eco-friendliness. Timberland's Green Index has received praise from many sources and has been part of the catalyst behind the formation of the OIA Eco Working Group.

Outdoor Industry Association Ambassador Award
The Outdoor Industry Ambassador Award recognizes a company that has made significant and ongoing achievements toward the growth of participation in outdoor activities. Those efforts could include spearheading conservation programs, the development and support of programs or efforts intended to serve as model practices for the industry, the introduction and advancement of responsible tourism practices, outstanding consumer outreach campaigns, or making great strides in encouraging youth to develop an active outdoor lifestyle. This award pays tribute to a company that has embraced a worthy cause and made a significant achievement.

Specialty retailer Mountain Gear won the ambassador award in the small- to medium-sized category for its U Climb program, which trains about 1,000 new climbers a year through regional events like the Red Rock Rendezvous.

The non-profit Sierra Club was honored for its Inner City Outings program, which certified 500 people to lead 900 trips serving 1,200 inner city youth.

“The Outdoor Industry Ambassador and Outdoor Industry Business Innovator awards allow our industry to recognize those businesses and individuals that embody the spirit of innovation and commitment to sustainability that form the core ethos of our community, as well as the passion to promote the active outdoor lifestyle,” commented Mike Wallenfels, chairman of OIA's Board of Directors and president of Mountain Hardwear“ Horny Toad, Timberland, Mountain Gear, and the Sierra Club exemplify that which sets us apart from other industries. Each of their achievements illustrate that the outdoor industry is about more than selling a product, it is about a way of life and a connection to the world we live and play in.”

About Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for over 4000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business-to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Educational events include the annual Rendezvous, Outdoor University, and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information go to www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.