Great event!

The OIA Capitol Summit gave OIA members the opportunity to meet in person with Congressmen and women, Senators and their staff to share the impact the larger outdoor recreation industry has on local economies. We talked jobs, revenue generation and the high quality of life that our national treasures- parks (national, state and local), rivers, lakes and oceans provide to this country.

The OIA staff was very prepared and highly professional. They provided us with details on funding issues that are coming up and coached each member to share their company’s story- how many people we support and what our businesses and open access to public lands mean to our local economy.

As we shared numbers on the over all economic impact of the industry (FYI- we are larger than housing was in 2007) related to hotel stays, eating out, gas, retail purchases and all the other things that go into a person getting outside, you really could see their eyes and minds open to what our industry truly means as an economic engine.

Our education of elected officials is critical to the industry. Call it lobbying, relationship building or advocacy whatever, it all adds up to driving an agenda to ensure there is adequate funding on a federal level for outdoor recreation. I left feeling very patriotic, where else can a person with zero political connections walk into the seat of the federal government and have a voice?

To sum it up, I learned that in Washington, if you aren’t sitting at the table you are on the menu. I never want National Outdoor Recreation on the menu and I will continue to fight for our rightful seat at the table.

Will Manzer (Eastern Mountain Sports) and Jennifer Mull (Backwoods) with Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA-8) at the OIA PAC Candidate Reception
Will Manzer (Eastern Mountain Sports) and Jennifer Mull (Backwoods) with Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA-8) at the OIA PAC Candidate Reception

Keith Reis is the Managing Partner of Sanitas Sales Group based in Colorado.  Sanitas Sales Group represents high quality brands in the outdoor, ski, bike and outdoor recreation channels of distribution.  As a member of OIA, we strive to educate our elected officials on the benefits of recreation to our local economies and quality of life.

One comment

  1. Keith, what an incredible experience! Thank you for sharing your time in DC. With the “outdoor lifestyle” trend continuing to spill over into mainstream retail, our economic power continues to grow. There is no doubt with all the noise going on in the 24hr news cycle, we need to keep our voice very loud and our stomach’s hungry so we never leave “the table”. In my brief experience with local government agencies, the people typically have the right intentions and desire to do what is best. However, the reality of any large organization that is swayed by public interests is that they have to react to to financial impact and crisis, human and environmental emergencies and the liability associated with these problems. This is what being at the table means, keeping in front of them, building those relationships and always making sure they know the risk of not keeping our interests happy! Keep up the great work and thank you for devoting your time, passion and experience in representing us all!

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