Outdoor Industry Association elected one returning Director and four new incoming Directors who will officially begin their three-year terms at the upcoming board meeting on June 22:

  • Scott Buelter, CEO, Ascent360
  • Trina Fornerette, Brand Manager, Waypoint Outdoor
  • Alison Hill, CEO, LifeStraw
  • Jennifer McLaren, President & CEO, Smartwool
  • Kevin Winkel, Founder & GM, Wayward Collective

The OIA Board of Directors provides guidance for the organization’s overall strategic direction, establishes policies and positions, monitors the organization’s financial health, programs and overall performance, and prepares the industry and association for the future, ensuring OIA’s success as an organization and for its members.

OIA issued the following bios for each of the 2020 honorees:

Scott Buelter is a seasoned executive with broad experience both inside and outside of the outdoor industry. Currently, the CEO of Ascent360, a venture capital-backed software company, Scott works closely with outdoor brands, resorts, retailers and event management companies such as Smartwool, Thule, Ragnar Relay, and Alterra Mountain Company. In this role, Scott leads a team that helps outdoor companies better understand their end consumers and effectively communicates with them.

Over the past 15 years, Scott has been gaining a unique perspective of the outdoor industry by understanding the data that supports the industry – retail sales data, consumer habits and eCommerce/web-behavior. With Scott’s breadth of knowledge in both the outdoor industry and technology, he provides cutting-edge, data-driven marketing to an industry that has not traditionally utilized those capabilities. Prior to his work at Ascent360, Scott ran the CRM practice for the Leisure Trends Group and worked with many outdoor companies across the globe. Scott has also been responsible for the digital marketing and data analysis at Merkle and Experian, after helping another software company grow from a startup through IPO. Outside of the outdoor industry, Scott has experience working with global brands including Nike, Disney, Royal Caribbean, Loews Hotels, American Express, Samsung and many others. Scott holds his MBA from the University of California at Irvine and has studied at the University of San Diego and the London School of Economics, as well as IES in both Berlin and Vienna.

Trina Fornerette joined the Waypoint Outdoor Agency in April 2019 as the Brand Manager of Smartwool. In this role, she’s responsible for partnering with the Smartwool brand on the assortment direction and positioning in the marketplace to achieve sales goals for Key and Specialty accounts. Her responsibilities also include driving the partnership of key accounts, such as REI, and representing their business needs to the Smartwool brand and leading/developing a high-performing sales rep team to deliver on sales targets. As part of the leadership team for Waypoint, she oversees P&L and makes business decisions in partnership with co-brand managers and the CEO to maximize profitability for the agency, as well as oversee the day-to-day office needs to ensure efficient operations.

Prior to Waypoint, she was with REI for 9 years. There, she was a category merchandise manager of footwear and most recently the senior category merchandise manager of womenswear. During her tenure, she was responsible for developing department buy strategies and leading cross-divisional partners and external brand partnerships to achieve financial goals. More notably, as the senior category merchandise manager of womenswear, she led, influenced, and collaborated the transformation of the apparel strategy. This included launching plus sizes, launching the partnership with the Athleta brand, leading an evolved/transformed private brands assortment architecture, implementing a quarterly and transitional buy strategy, leading the creation of a merchandising playground to help inform the buy and create the visual experience, and leading the execution of the broader apparel strategy with the visual and marketing teams.

Prior to REI, Trina was with Eddie Bauer for 12 years in varying buying roles and launched her career at Nordstrom, there for nine years.

Alison Hill is the CEO of LifeStraw, a global company providing safe water through technological innovation and product design. For the last 10 years, Alison has built the LifeStraw brand through retail, humanitarian water programs and emergency preparedness and response.

Under Alison’s leadership, the LifeStraw business has grown more than 80% in the last five years in the outdoor sports retail markets, and in 2019, the company entered the household market. The growth of Lifestraw’s retail business drove the success of one of the largest private investments providing kids with safe drinking water. As of 2019 this program has provided over three million kids with safe drinking water for a year through its giveback initiative.

Alison began her career in Zambia, focused on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, aiming to gain experience in infectious disease. After four years leading a staff of 100, caring for more than 600 patients at any given time, she concluded that she could make a greater impact by influencing public health. She returned to the U.S. and got a master’s in public health and an MBA from John’s Hopkins University.

In 2009, Alison joined Vestergaard, LifeStraw’s previous parent company, focusing on innovative financing for health programs. She spearheaded the first program ever to link carbon finance to safe drinking water – providing water filtration to 4.5 million people in Kenya. In 2012, Alison was named managing director of Vestergaard’s LifeStraw business. She drove LifeStraw’s entry into retail but kept the brand true to the company’s humanitarian DNA. In 2020, she was officially named CEO.

At 40, Alison has emerged as one of a handful of women business leaders successfully managing an international brand that brings together retail, social good and public health, and she has infused the company with female leaders and diversity at all levels of LifeStraw.

Jen McLaren is the current president and general manager of Smartwool, located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Jen is responsible for the oversight and strategic direction of the Smartwool global brand. She has been with Smartwool for more than eight years as a member of the senior leadership team and chief financial officer. Prior to Smartwool, she served as North America CFO, Timberland®. She joined the Timberland brand in 2003 in the global financial planning and analysis organization. Jen holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and Economics. She began her career in public accounting at Arthur Andersen and then moved into various finance roles in start-ups and SoftBank Capital.

Kevin Winkel is the Founder of Wayward, a lifestyle retail brand with stores in the greater Seattle and Chicago areas. Wayward has been focused on supporting the adventure and creative communities to enrich and enhance participation and growth through exploration since its launch in 2017. Prior to this, Kevin has held global roles for brands like Burton and K2 Sports as well as leading brand, culture, marketing and loyalty initiatives for the North American retailer Zumiez.

Born and raised in Northwestern Montana, Kevin grew up living on a llama farm surrounded by the beauty of Glacier Park and Flathead lake. In his earlier years, Kevin had a strong eye for photography and has spent years traveling the world and living in places such as Bellingham, WA; Lake Tahoe; Los Angeles; Burlington, VT; and Bend, OR.

Kevin is a graduate of Cal Poly and has served on the SOS Outreach NW Advisory Council as well as a previous participant and supporter of NOLS.

Photos courtesy OIA