This year’s Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) Conference and AGM at Shrigley Hall, Cheshire, saw more than 160 delegates from all aspects of the outdoor industry gather together from 13th to 14th March.
It saw a range of keynote presentations and talks from the likes of Daniel Raven-Ellison (London City Park), Liz McMahon (Madison Muir Group) and explorer Ben Saunders. The interactive breakout sessions included Andy Atkins of Resonant, Phillipp Grüntker and Jonas Wand from the Foursource Group, David Judge and Lee Isherwood of Cornershop Design and Gordon Young from Sheffield Hallam University who gave delegates an insight into various aspects of business.
There was also a ‘Pass on Plastic’ panel discussion chaired by AS Adventure chairman Frédéric Hufkens with Seὸnaid Lafferty, Kieran Miles and Scott Nelson, on the issue of single-use plastic. The conference started with a number of physical outdoor activities on the Wednesday morning, and there was a choice of mountain-biking and road cycling led by OIA member British Cycling, a ten kilometre run with Chris Lines and a countryside walk with sponsor Ordnance Survey.
Nick Giles, managing director of Ordnance Survey Consumer, said: “The OIA conference, aside from being a great time to form and nurture connections across the industry, is an engaging, insightful and productive event. I’d defy anyone to not leave the conference with at least a few great nuggets of information that will help shape their organisations over the coming year. For me this is a must attend event and further demonstrates the significant benefits of OIA membership.”
Paul Trepte, managing director of Trekitt, said: “As an independent retailer we found the OIA conference an ideal opportunity to network with business leaders and brand representatives from across the industry. It’s only when you stick your head out from the trench and have a good look around, can you get a true sense of perspective about the outdoor industry as a whole.”
It was also announced that Robert Louden MBE will be stepping down from his role as chairman of the OIA after a three year period. His successor Robert Brigham, managing director of the snow sports and outdoor retail chain Ellis Brigham, was unanimously voted in by the membership as the new chairman at the AGM on 13th March.
Commenting on his appointment, Brigham said: “I am very much looking forward to building on the great work already completed by my predecessor, Robert Louden, and the rest of the OIA board. The outdoor industry is facing many challenges and opportunities ahead, it is reassuring to know that we have a very strong trade association and I was pleased to see so many representatives from different aspects of the industry including brands, suppliers, retailers and partners at the recent OIA conference.
“The OIA has developed a strong voice for the industry and it is important that we maintain our high profile and work with our partners on our mission to encourage more people to become active outdoors. Having worked all my life in the outdoor industry I am honoured to take on the chairman’s role and keen to play my part in contributing to the overall success of the OIA in the future.”