President's Message: History in the Making

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 1/11/19 9:51 AM

KenyonGleason-5This month, I’m entering my 5th year at NASGW. I can’t believe how quickly time passes. The old saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” most definitely applies to me. I love this organization, our mission, and the things we’ve accomplished. But most of all, I love the people.

One of the great privileges of being the President and Secretary at NASGW is that I get the opportunity to work with a number of different board of directors’ leaders. The association’s bylaws require a new board chair be elected every two years, meaning new and fresh ideas are always on tap.

In my time at NASGW, I’ve had the honor of working with Pete Brownell of Crow Shooting Sports and most recently, Brad Burney of L.M. Burney Distributors. Each of these gentlemen has provided our organization with strong leadership. Each handled the role in different ways, but at the end of the day, both were laser-focused on making NASGW stronger and more impactful in the shooting sports industry and both were passionate about the responsibility. To say I’ve learned and grown from my experiences with them would be a massive understatement. I’m grateful to both Pete and Brad for sharing their passion, talent and leadership. 

As we move into 2019 though, things have taken a decidedly historical turn for the organization, and I can’t help but share my excitement over the opportunity to work with our next board chairperson. In part because I know how well-respected she is across the industry, and in part because I’m excited to help in whatever small way as she makes history in the shooting sports arena. I hope you’ll all join me in welcoming and congratulating Laurie Aronson, President and CEO of Lipsey’s in Baton Rouge, who was chosen as NASGW Chairwoman during the 2018 Expo in Pittsburgh.

This is the first time since our creation in 1954 that NASGW will have a woman in the top leadership role. This says a lot about where our association is going, and I think it also says a lot about where the industry as a whole is moving.


We often face the caricature from today’s media elites that the gun industry is made up of old, white men from rural America. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Never before has the industry been more ethnically diverse, geographically diverse and never before have women been more involved and engaged.

It’s no accident that the National Rifle Association has an entire program geared around women in the industry. Hunting and shooting shows on television feature top female talent. Some of our nation’s top competitive shooters are women. Women hold top leadership roles at many of the largest gun manufacturing companies. And finally, and most importantly, more women than ever are buying and shooting guns for sport, hunting and self-defense. You can see the decided impact this is having on the types of guns being made across the industry.

So I suppose it’s only fitting, and probably long-overdue, that NASGW has a woman leader as board chair. I know that Laurie has every intention of continuing to be a strong advocate for two-step distribution. I know she also shares with NASGW leaders before her (including her father Richard Lipsey) a strong desire and passion to take NASGW to even greater heights.

As if this wasn’t already a great story, there’s one final note for me to share. NASGW’s newly elected Vice Chair is also a woman. Stefanie Zanders, VP and Chief Operating Officer at Zanders Sporting Goods, is joining Laurie on the leadership team at NASGW, making our organization truly unique and poised for an incredible future.

And folks, that’s just what we’ll be doing, working hard toward a successful future… and making history along the way.

 

Until next time,

KenyonGleason-signature
Kenyon Gleason

NASGW President

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