June 17, 2020 – Asheville, NC – Outdoor Business Alliance of WNC, the first gear builder association of its kind in the outdoor industry, is excited to announce the appointment of Andy Williamson to the new Executive Director role. Celebrating its seventh year in existence, Outdoor Business Alliance (OBA) has grown to over 50 members and has been a force in the economic development of WNC.

Outdoor Business Alliance’ mission is to cultivate, connect, and support a community of outdoor industry leaders. The new part-time Executive Director position will enable the organization to focus on goals set forth at the beginning of 2020, as well as grow membership and benefits for members. Andy Wiliamson, Principal of Active Strategies, was instrumental in the strategic planning process with Outdoor Business Alliance and has a history of working with nonprofits to assist them in charting a course for a more sustainable and impactful future. 

Williamson’s background in the outdoor and cycling industries is extensive and includes work with organizations such as Bikepacking Roots, DRAFT, A People for Bikes Meetup, and International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) as Director of Programs. He has also designed, implemented, and supported numerous catalytic programs, events, and workshops at the Outdoor Economy Conference in WNC, Gateway Outdoor Summit in St. Louis, and IMBA Trail Labs in Arkansas. With an in-depth knowledge of the outdoor industry, nonprofits, and capital campaigns, Williamson will be instrumental in guiding and working alongside the OBA board to execute strategic planning goals and assist in the growth of the organization. 

Regarding the hiring of Williamson as the OBA Executive Director, Matt Godfrey the OBA Board Chair, said, “The board has a high level of confidence in our selection of Andy as our new ED.  His background leading organizations in the outdoor industry and nonprofit space were key factors in our decision, as well as his strong desire to be a contributing member to our outdoor community. He is the right person to work closely with our board and membership to assist in taking the OBA to the next level of outdoor industry leadership and influence within Western North Carolina and beyond.” 

The new Executive Director role will replace OBA’s Network Manager Kaylee Larkin Masters, who decided to step down from her position this summer. As the OBA’s first paid employee, Larkin Masters played an important role in growing the membership of the organization to where it is now, improving communication and providing more networking opportunities for members. 

“Over the winter I got to spend a great deal of time getting to know the OBA board and I’m looking forward to supporting them and the membership in growing the organization,” Williamson said. “I’m grateful for the time they and Kaylee put into getting the organization where it is today. This opportunity will allow me to be more engaged in my community while also continuing to work with my other amazing clients and partners across the US. I can’t wait to get out there to meet and listen to all of the companies and stakeholders that make the OBA so special.” 

Williamson will start with the Outdoor Business Alliance in a part-time capacity officially on July 1. For more information on Outdoor Business Alliance and the efforts they are making in WNC, please visit outdoorgearbuilders.com. Williamson can be reached at ED@outdoorgearbuilders.com.

About the Outdoor Business Alliance

The Outdoor Business Alliance of WNC are Western North Carolina-based companies collaborating to share talents, encourage new ideas, and inspire each other. Member brands are dedicated to creating exceptional outdoor gear with a focus on responsible manufacturing, cutting edge innovation, and economic growth in our region. The OBA’s motto is: “Extraordinary Gear Made Here.” Learn more at outdoorgearbuilders.com or join the conversation on Facebook at Outdoor Business Alliance of WNC.