Founded in 2013 by a small group of gear manufacturers, the Outdoor Business Alliance now includes more than 100 member companies and organizations representing the entire outdoor industry in Western North Carolina. Our members include: Gear Builders, Experience Providers, Skills Instructors, Outfitters, Retail Shops, Supporting Businesses, and Nonprofits.
In local sourcing
Matt has been an advocate, business leader, connector and educator in our outdoor industry for many years. He has been engaged with the OBA since the early days serving as a founding board member including a term as board chair before exiting in 2020. In partnership with the OBA and Mountain Bizworks, he developed the Waypoint Accelerator, an outdoor entrepreneurship and innovation accelerator program for early-stage, outdoor-focused companies which he has led for the past 4 years.
He loves being outside fly fishing, paddle boarding, hiking, camping and skiing. The Appalachian Mountains hold a special place in his heart, having spent the majority of his life living in Western North Carolina with his wife and two boys. Matt studied business and outdoor recreation management at Appalachian State University and earned an MBA from Western Carolina University. He believes that providing a platform for collaboration, networking, the exchange of ideas, best practices and connections is one of most important value propositions the OBA offers their member companies. This platform spurs innovation, competitive advantage, business growth and overall positive impact within our outdoor economy and community.
Board of Directors
Dorene has been in WNC for almost 8 years now. Cycling in Pisgah and the surrounding areas are her go-to for being outside, but the MTS trail is right up the road and can be counted on for a quick jaunt in the woods. She is currently the Director of Advocacy, Outreach, Events and Talent for Cane Creek Cycling Components, is a Dirt Skrrts Board Member and ride leader for the Silver Shredders, as well as a NICA Coach and an active DEI and Events Committee member of People for Bikes. She is looking forward to taking on the role of Board Chair for the OBA and getting to work with more members of the community.
Adam began his outdoor career in 2005 while working the retail floor at Mast General Store. This is where his passion for the industry took shape, and he became interested in the “business” of all things outdoors. After putting his gear to good use as a guide at a wilderness therapy program, he transitioned to a management role with Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO). He spent the next 10 years with ENO developing a deeper understanding of the industry and was successful in launching ENO’s international sales program. It was through this experience that Adam was connected to European outdoor brand distributor, Sport Hansa, and in 2018, he accepted the position as Director of Business Development. The years of industry experience culminated at Sport Hansa and Adam was given the opportunity to develop several house brands from concept to market. Earning shelf space at some of the nation’s largest outdoor retailers was the highlight of his career. After the birth of his twin sons in 2021, Adam reconnected with ENO and transitioned back as their Chief Financial Officer. Adam has earned his MBA from Louisiana State University at Shreveport, and when he’s not crunching numbers, he can be found playing outside with his three boys and sneaking in evening runs.
Abby really found her footing in the WNC outdoor community (literally) when she first joined the NC Mountain Trail Runners (NCMTR) back in 2016. After spending 2 years serving as President of NCMTR, she continued being actively engaged within the community, serving on the board for the RUN828 Foundation, working on creating more trail running opportunities for women, and co-founding WNC’s first and only hundred mile race, the Hellbender 100 Miler. If you haven’t already guessed by now, Abby loves trail running, but what she’s valued most from it are the new connections and insights she’s made from people of varying backgrounds in the outdoor industry. Currently, she is the Digital Marketing Manager for White Blaze Marketing, where she works on developing, implementing and managing marketing campaigns for a number of businesses. In her role, she has produced targeted marketing campaigns, social media and display advertising along with email campaigns to help increase brand awareness and loyalty for companies both small and global. When she isn’t immersed in the digital marketing world, Abby loves digging into a good book, trying out new recipes, and tagging high peaks with her partner.
Brent has been involved in the outdoors throughout his career and is currently the owner of Tentrax, a Black Mountain, NC-based company that builds camping trailers, rooftop tents, and other camping gear. After several years in the Pacific Northwest, Brent packed up his family on a year-long North American RV trip, ultimately ending up closer to home in Asheville, NC in 2019. He and his wife, daughter and golden retriever enjoy being outdoors in Western NC, spending time mountain biking, hiking, paddling, motorcycle riding, and camping.
Joanna Postlethwaite Brown is a 15-year resident of Western North Carolina. Following a near decade in WNC’s beer and events industries, in 2021 she became the Brand and Communications Manager for the MADE X MTNS Partnership, which serves the pillars of growing outdoor businesses, building vibrant outdoor communities, and amplifying outdoor culture across WNC. She is passionate about enjoying the outdoors, increasing access to outdoor recreation, and being an environmental steward. In her free time, you’ll find her mountain biking, hiking, and SUPing. Joanna currently resides in Gerton, NC with her husband and fluffy trail dog.
Tyler was raised exploring the wilds of the Adirondack mountains, and made the choice to come to Western North Carolina to find his true calling in the outdoor industry. He turned his background in marketing into a career in outdoor leadership spanning volunteerism, outfitting, trails advocacy and guiding. During his 15 years in Asheville, he has worked with some of the area’s top outdoor companies, was instrumental in organizing the Mountain Sports Festival, and worked with independent outdoor retailers across the country via Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Along the way other outdoor pursuits led him to advocate for trails with Pisgah Area SORBA and was part of the the inception of the Outdoor Business Alliance of WNC. Currently, his role as the Marketing Director for French Broad Adventures focuses on bringing guests from around the country into the backcountry of Pisgah National Forest and onto the storied French Broad River. He brings a passion to connect people with the outdoors and encourage people of all ages to access public lands for recreation and health.
Ashley is new to the Outdoor Industry and spent most of her career as an elementary school teacher. She and her family have lived internationally for years and chose to move back to Western North Carolina to be close to their families, to enjoy the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and have many opportunities to enjoy an active lifestyle.
Currently, Ashley is a sales representative and events coordinator for Recover Brands, spreading the good word about sustainability and environmental responsibility. Most of the time you can find her riding her mountain bike on the local trails with her husband, daughter, and friends during any season. Ashley brings her high energy optimism and passion for community, relationship building, and promoting equal access to outdoor spaces.
Meet Bethany, a seasoned marketing professional with over a decade of experience, who has spent the last 4 years working in the outdoor industry. As an account manager at Akers Digital, she collaborates with outdoor brands, leveraging her expertise in digital marketing and eCommerce. Bethany is also a freelance graphic designer, combining creativity with design to align with a brand to effectively communicate a message. Passionate about the outdoors, she enjoys exploring new places, attending outdoor concerts, rides mountain and gravel bikes, and enjoys activities like fly fishing, hiking, camping, and most recently running. A self-starter, Bethany moved to Asheville for its beauty and outdoor industry opportunities, cherishing time with friends and family in this adventure-filled community.
Jesse is an attorney working primarily in land use law and civil litigation, who also advises small businesses on a range of matters including entity formation, operating agreements, and contracts. In the past, he has worked as a raft guide, a bicycle mechanic, and a full-time wheel builder. It was his work in the bicycle industry and his love for the trails in Pisgah National Forest that first brought him to WNC over a decade ago. Not long after, he pulled up his new roots to attend law school in Chapel Hill and then returned to Asheville and put them back down, where he and his wife do their best to cultivate a love of biking, hiking, and paddling in their two sons.
Ashley has devoted the past decade to fostering deeper connections and meaning between people and places. As a climate refugee from New Orleans, she embraces impermanence. Gaining fresh perspectives through experiencing different cultures, she cultivated her love of cycling and building community during a semester abroad in Holland. Before moving to Asheville in 2022, Ashley dedicated her time and passion to public service as a transportation and land use planner for the City of Austin. Over the course of eight years, she played a key role in zoning reform and successfully led a community-powered initiative shifting how residents chose to get around. Inspired by travel, she presently holds the position of Public Information Manager at Explore Asheville, maintaining the dynamic role of lead communicator, local media liaison, and public affairs specialist. Any given weekend, you can find her shredding the trails on her mountain bike, or running with her new husky pup, Sockeye.
Jake’s career took root in the automotive industry, where he honed his supply chain management skills in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. While the automotive and outdoor industries may seem worlds apart, Jake’s path led him to Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) in 2016. Here, he eagerly embraced the opportunity to align his profession with his passion for outdoor pursuits.
Before joining ENO, Jake’s exposure to the professional side of the outdoor industry had been limited to selling ski gear on the shop floor at Boyne Country Sports in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. This early retail experience would later provide invaluable insights into the needs of both outdoor enthusiasts and dealers. As the Chief Operating Officer, Jake now oversees the inbound flow of materials and finished goods through ENO’s global supply chain, the Warehouse/Material Handling Team in Asheville, and the outbound distribution of products to customers throughout the United States and abroad.
Driven by tenacity, Jake expanded his undergraduate studies in supply chain management by earning an MBA from North Carolina State University in 2022. Outside the office, you’ll find him on the trail, either mountain biking or hiking with his wife, dog, and young son in tow.