Outdoor Industry Association® Expands Educational Opportunities for Outdoor Retailers by Bringing Outdoor University® into the OIA Family of Benefits

Frank Hugelmeyer, President of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), announces the incorporation of Outdoor University into its portfolio of educational events. Outdoor University provides experiential outdoor training events to outdoor industry retail sales associates. Integrating Outdoor University under the OIA umbrella provides the opportunity to expand specialized retail training experiences to a wider audience. OIA has contracted with Ken Barmore to manage and expand the programs to the northeast and southeast in 2006 and to develop an action plan on how to expand the concept nationally.
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BOULDER, CO – Frank Hugelmeyer, President of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), announces the incorporation of Outdoor University into its portfolio of educational events. Outdoor University provides experiential outdoor training events to outdoor industry retail sales associates. Integrating Outdoor University under the OIA umbrella provides the opportunity to expand specialized retail training experiences to a wider audience. OIA has contracted with Ken Barmore to manage and expand the programs to the northeast and southeast in 2006 and to develop an action plan on how to expand the concept nationally.

“The success of our industry depends on all members of the outdoor business community having access to the best education and training possible,” notes Hugelmeyer. ”Under Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor University will be able to grow to provide national training for retail professionals at all levels and regions.”

Launched in 2000, Outdoor University represents a partnership between manufacturers and retailers designed to better train and educate retail sales associates. Outdoor University hosts experiential outdoor training events that engage retail sales employees, increase product knowledge and experience, increase customer service, and ultimately improve sales.

"Our Sales Associates not only gained valuable product knowledge,” said Linda Gage-Cauley, of Gander Mountain, “the event also further developed the camaraderie and teamwork within our department. Outdoor University is an invaluable training tool for building passion, knowledge, teamwork and ultimately sales for retail stores in the outdoor industry."

Outdoor University events provide retail sales associates with the opportunity to camp, filter, cook, taste test, trail run, climb, hike, backpack, use a map/compass and GPS unit, canoe, kayak, etc. and to actually use and test the products that they will ultimately sell.

Outdoor University depends heavily on support from the title sponsors Timberland and The North Face. Participation from manufacturers, including Mountain Hardwear, MSR, Yakima, Petzl, Cascade Designs, Terramar, Vasque, Patagonia, Garmin, Katadyn, Lowa, Kelty, W.L. Gore, Leki, Ground, Cloudveil, Thule, Princeton Tec, Keen, ShockDoctor, Confluence, Gregory, and Sierra Designs, all add to the program's success.

“Outdoor University gives us a valuable opportunity to provide in-depth and hands-on product training and field trials with retail staff, and help them deliver the best possible service to their customers when it comes to Timberland gear,” said Bruce Gordon, National Sales Director, Timberland Outdoor Performance. “As the program grows, we will also begin engaging Outdoor University participants in community service. Beyond just product, we think it's important to join forces and support the communities where we live, work and play.”

Upcoming 2006 Outdoor University Events:

•Southeastern Event - April 25th – 27th, 2006 located at Camp Rockmont in Black Mountain, NC.
•Northeastern Event - May 9th – 11th, 2006 located at Camp Becket in Becket, MA.
•Midwestern Event - May 23rd-25th, 2006 located at Devil's Lake State Park north of Madison, WI.

To learn more about Outdoor University, visit http://www.outdooruniversity.org or contact Outdoor University Coordinator Ken Barmore at coordinator@outdooruniversity.org or 608.239.0038.

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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. A wide spectrum of leading manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers of outdoor recreation equipment and services, as well as other related business entities make up OIA's membership. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, cutting edge market research, member cost saving benefits and outreach initiatives to grow participation in outdoor activities and promote healthier lifestyles. Educational events include the annual Outdoor Industry Rendezvous, Outdoor University, and the Capitol Summit in Washington, D.C., are hosted by OIA. Outdoor Industry Association is the exclusive endorser of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow. For more information go to http://www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.

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