BOULDER — In a recent online letter to members, new Outdoor Industry Association president Kent Ebersole pledged that the Boulder-based industry group will embrace a role as a “catalyst for meaningful change” within the sector. That means garnering a broad base of support for businesses but also ensuring that the industry does its part to ensure diverse stakeholders (including those not yet born) have access to outdoor recreation.
OIA’s “government affairs team is a force for collective action,” Ebersole said, dedicated to establishing state-level outdoor recreation agencies, such as the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, across the country. “We won’t stop until we achieve the creation of 50 bipartisan state offices, working together to protect and sustain our water, air, land, and wildlife for current and future generations.”
The association is pushing its members to take steps necessary to make outdoor recreation a “climate positive industry by 2030,” Ebersole’s letter said.
Connecting to communities, especially those typically excluded from outdoor recreation activities, will be another focal point, he said.
“Notwithstanding the economic climate, I believe that one of the reasons we lost momentum is because we didn’t connect the dots on how our work supports your business and the communities you care about. But this is what catalysts do — we ‘connect the dots, set things in motion and learn continually,’” Ebersole’s letter said. “The nature of catalyst work is complex and much of it is invisibly and swiftly happening behind the scenes. We are pivoting to meet the needs of your business today but always with an eye on the future horizon.”
Ebersole, an outdoor industry marketing professional, was hired last summer to serve as OIA’s interim leader, following the departure of former president Lise Aangeenbrug.
He was the co-founder of outdoor-focused marketing, direct mail and catalog company Carrick Bend Media. His resume also includes roles with Camber Outdoors, the Outdoor Project and Dirty Girl Mud Run.
“Over the past several months, the OIA Board of Directors had the pleasure of seeing how Kent’s leadership, strategic mindset, personal connection, and dedication to collaboration will benefit an industry in change,” OIA board chairwoman Phyllis Grove said in a prepared statement. “We are confident in the map he has drawn for us all and we are ready to work alongside him to move the industry forward.”