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North Carolina appoints next Outdoor Recreation Industry Office director

Amy Allison worked most recently at Eagles Nest Outfitters and as co-founder of the Outdoor Gear Builders of Western North Carolina.

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headshot of Amy Allison in North Carolina
Amy Allison has worked for Eagles Nest Outfitters, Leave No Trace, and .Courtesy

North Carolina’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office has a new leader—and it was an obvious choice. 

Amy Allison steps into the role after working as marketing and PR manager at Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) and co-founding a coalition of outdoor brands based in Western North Carolina.

The news was shared by North Carolina Senate Majority Whip and Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee Rick Gunn on Thursday at the start of the second annual Outdoor Economy Conference in Asheville. “Outdoor industry plays a huge part in North Carolina’s economy,” Allison said “Our state’s natural assets provide the foundation for a healthy outdoor economy and help cultivate a way of life that makes North Carolina attractive to new and expanding outdoor companies. I’m excited to jump into this role to begin working with the many partners involved in our state’s outdoor industry and to continue to grow and maintain a successful outdoor recreation economy in North Carolina.”

Allison, based in Asheville, is charged with growing the state’s outdoor recreation industry, such as by recruiting companies to relocate or expand in the state and collaborating with existing attractions, businesses, and communities. Already, the state is home to ENO, Lightheart Gear, Astral, Farm to Feet, Sylvan Sport, and other outdoor brands.

The industry employs about 260,000 people and generates $28 billion annually in consumer spending in North Carolina, according to Outdoor Industry Association

North Carolina was one of the first states to capitalize on outdoor recreation and now 15 states have similar offices at the state level. Just last week, Axie Navas became New Mexico’s first outdoor rec office director.

“We’re thrilled to have Amy in this role,” said Christopher Chung, chief executive officer of the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. The role was previously held by David Knight, who returned June to natural resources consulting in June. “She has years of public relations and marketing experience in the state’s outdoor recreation industry, developing both domestic and international strategies. Her participation and leadership in organizations committed to growing the industry, including the Outdoor Gear Builders of Western North Carolina, means she is well-connected and able to rally the partnerships that will be needed to support her success.”

Allison also served at Leave No Trace, as a wilderness guide, as the co-founder and board chairwoman of the Outdoor Gear Builders, and on the advisory council of the Growing Outdoors Partnership.

“Amy has a unique set of experiences and a deep perspective of the Outdoor Industry,” said Sarah Wood, board chairwoman of N.C. OREC Coalition and operations director at Industry Nine Componentry. “She not only brings the perspective of leading a North Carolina outdoor brand, she has a deep industry network across the country and understands the work it takes to build partnerships and the power of collaboration. The N.C. OREC Coalition stands ready to fully support Amy in her work ahead.”