With nominees pouring in this spring and vetted by an esteemed panel of outdoor industry judges, the winners of the 12th Annual Outdoor Retailer Inspiration Awards embody everything the industry stands for in protecting the outdoors and promoting it for everyone to enjoy. “It’s a true marquee event for the industry,” says Show Director Marisa Nicholson.
“Inspiration is all around us,” host and former award winner Timmy O’Neill told the crowd at the Day 1 ceremony on June 9 when the winners were announced. “It’s in the skies and the earth, in the people we know and meet, in our homes and where we explore. It sparks awe, motivates us to push forward, breathes life into new ideas, and instills others with confidence. And it proves that what may seem ordinary can have extraordinary impact.”
Gloria Hwang, founder and CEO, Thousand
Winning the top spot on the podium this year was Gloria Hwang, the founder and CEO at Thousand, who started her Public Benefit Corporation with a shared vision to save lives and empower people to safely get around their cities on a bike, board, or scooter by making helmets people actually want to wear. Committing to being Climate Positive, she also worked with REI to help launch Path Ahead Ventures, accelerating the success of company founders of color.
Mercy M’fon Shammah, executive director, Wild Diversity
The emerging leader award celebrates those who empower others to be their best and are committed to creating positive change. This year’s award went to Mercy M’fon Shammah, the executive director of Wild Diversity who is dedicated to diversifying the outdoors and the activities people participate in by creating a sense of belonging for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.
The manufacturer award goes to companies that care for adventurers and communities alike by providing clean, reliable solutions that can improve time spent outdoors, support humanitarian needs, and save lives. This year, Goal Zero rose to the top of the podium for its pioneering role in making portable power products and supporting programs that bring more people outdoors. The company has also launched partnerships to alleviate issues of energy and power deficiency, and supports humanitarian efforts around the world.
The National Forest Foundation
The National Forest Foundation won this year’s nonprofit category for its efforts in making an impact in communities, on public lands, and the way people conduct business to build a better future for both people and planet.
Pack Rat Outdoor Center
In the hotly contested retail category, whose finalists all encourage the power of experience by providing a direct link to helping people get outside, Pack Rat Outdoor Center of Fayetteville, Arkansas, won for its commitment to giving customers a great experience, advocating for wild spaces, organizing stewardship programs, and serving as a model for responsible business practices. These include reusing business supplies, recycling business-generated waste, hosting community education and seminars on sustainable living and Leave No Trace principles.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
In one of the award ceremony’s most anticipated honors, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognized Larry Harrison, whose career in the outdoor industry has spanned more than 50 years. Harrison has worked for Eagle Creek, Wilderness Experience, JanSport, Lowa, Rockport, Sierra Designs, Adidas Outdoor, and more, capping his illustrious career with Outdoor Retailer (yes, he’s attended every single show). He also served on the Board of Directors for Outdoor Industry Association and Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition, and has championed numerous outdoor events and awards programs—all creating more stewards of the great outdoors.
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