11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Room 401
Today’s consumers want what they want and when they want it. According to a 2018 study, 74 percent of Americans prioritize experiences over products or things and eight out of every ten outdoor participants want to try a new outdoor activity.
Fortunately, the outdoor industry – from snow sports to boating, hiking to hunting and biking to RVing – has some of the best experiences to offer. Our challenge is to remove self-imposed barriers and connect consumers with the opportunities to experience all of the adventures waiting for them in the outdoors.
This panel will explore the challenges of working together to promote an experience-based, year-round, cross-sector outdoor economy. Panelists will share their insights on creating frictionless experiences and how they work with unlikely allies to bring more people into the outdoors. The panel will also address the work the industry still needs to do to remove barriers preventing consumers from participating more in more outdoor activities year-round.
Moderator: Jessica Wahl, Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR)
Jessica Wahl is the Executive Director of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), America’s leading coalition of outdoor recreation trade associations and organizations, comprised of 28 national association members serving over 100,000 businesses. Ms. Wahl has over a decade of experience in outdoor recreation spanning the public, private and non-profit sectors. Prior to ORR, Ms. Wahl directed Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) outdoor recreation and conservation portfolio in Washington D.C. where she led a successful effort that gained landmark government recognition of outdoor recreation’s contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product.
Ms. Wahl was also the co-founder and past-chair of the Coalition for Outdoor Access working to reform outfitter and guide permitting systems within federal land agencies, an effort designed to help more Americans gain access to the outdoors. Before OIA, she worked at the Department of the Interior in the Office of the Interior Secretary and managed First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside and Let’s Move! in Indian Country initiatives. She has a Master of Arts in American Government from Georgetown University and is an avid outdoorswoman who loves kayaking, climbing, hiking and running.
Panelist: Jenn Dice, PeopleForBikes
Jenn’s leads the Business Network of PeopleForBikes that works with governments at the federal, state and local level to make bicycling better for everyone and represent the business voice behind bikes. PeopleForBikes is the bicycle industry trade association that represents 200 suppliers/brands, 2,000 retailers and has 1.3 million people in our grassroots network united for more and better bicycling. Before PFB Jenn worked as the chief lobbyist for the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and directed their national and local public lands policy. Jenn was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2014 and in 2011 was recognized by Outside Magazine’s “power list” of the top 25 people that influence the world outside. Jenn is an avid endurance mountain biker who has completed the Leadville Trail 100 14 times and mountain biked down Mount Kilimanjaro (twice).
Panelist: Karen Redfern, Go RVing
As Vice President of Brand Marketing and Communications for The RV Industry Association, Karen leads the team of marketing and communications professionals responsible for the industry’s consumer-facing brand marketing campaign, Go RVing, including strategic marketing, social and digital media, traditional advertising, video content creation, public relations, experiential marketing, partnerships, and consumer trends and research.
Karen has spent the last 30 years of her career in PR, media and marketing roles with the RV Industry industry. Launching the Go RVing digital and social media platforms, the strategically-focused team has been successful in creating a recognizable and trusted image for the brand. Go RVing has successfully drawn in younger RV buyers through authentic, curated, story-telling content that brings RVing to life through social influencers with whom consumers can relate.
Diversity and creating a feeling of open to all, Karen and her team have strategically focused on messages of inclusivity targeting women, African Americans, Latinos, and active outdoor adventurers. Changing the (mis)perception of what is an RV and who is an RVer have been instrumental to the campaign’s success. The RV itself becomes secondary to sharing experiences that allow consumers to see themselves participating in…activities that can be enhanced by traveling in an RV.
Karen’s passion extends beyond the RV industry where she volunteers with several organizations dedicated to assisting and empowering women, especially victims of domestic abuse. She is an avid DIYer at home, tackling reno projects big and small and enjoys relaxing time hiking, biking and kayaking.
Panelist: Joe Hession, SNOW Operating
Joe Hession is the founder and CEO of SNOW Operating and a recognized leader in the field of resort operations. Joe was the architect behind the creation of SNOW Operating’s Terrain Based Learning and Conversion & Growth Programs, which have been implemented at more than 50 resorts world-wide. Joe is the owner/operator of Mountain Creek Resort in New Jersey as well as North America’s first indoor, real-snow, ski and snowboard facility, Big SNOW American Dream which opened this fall as part of the American Dream retail and entertainment center at New Jeresey’s Meadowlands. In addition to resort operations Joe is also the CEO and driving visionary behind, SnowCloud a technology company focused on improving the resort guest purchasing and arrival experiences.
Hession is a true resort operator with over 20 years of resort management experience. He has held leadership roles in nearly all resort operating departments working his way up from parking attendant to VP, General Manager of Mountain Creek Resort prior to founding SNOW Operating in 2012. During his time working as Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt for the Intrawest Corporation and during his time at Mountain Creek Hession found a true passion for experiential design with the intent of forming emotional connections between resorts and their guests.
Paneilst: Bryce Philips, evo
Bryce studied finance, juggling school while living in Whistler BC, skiing professionally for companies including Patagonia and K2, and chasing winters around the world. In 2001 Bryce started Evolución Innovations, Inc. (www.evo.com), an action sports and outdoor lifestyle retail business, and in 2005 opened a flagship store in Seattle, Washington. Originally launching the site with one employee from his living room, evo has grown to over 200 employees, is one of the fastest growing industry retailers in the world and has retail locations in Seattle, Portland, Denver and Whistler. Bryce’s vision is to continue building a truly unique brand seamlessly weaving together commerce, cause, culture and community.