The Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) has announced three new Board Members: Robert Brigham, Managing Director of Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports; Nick Giles, Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure; and Matt Gowar, Founder and CEO of Equip Outdoor Technologies. They replace Richard Leedham and Mark Brigham, who both recently stepped down from the OIA Board.
Managing Director of Ordnance Survey Leisure since 2012, Nick Giles has reinvigorated the traditional paper map market, launched OS into the mobile application market (where now over 3.5 million people use OS applications to enjoy and explore the great outdoors) and launched the GetOutside initiative to inspire increased levels of participation in outdoor recreation. Today, GetOutside is engaging with over a million people a month and inspiring more people to enjoy the benefits of the outdoors, ultimately helping to grow the sector. Nick’s background is in marketing, having graduated from university in Bristol he went on to work in and own a number of direct marketing agencies before moving into industry where he held senior roles at RSA, LV, Aviva and the RAC. Escaping financial services and moving with his passion into the outdoor sector was always an ambition and it took little persuasion for Nick to join Ordnance Survey (Great Britain’s National Mapping Agency) in 2012. He leads all consumer activity within OS with the mission to inspire and help more people to get outside more often.
Commenting on his new appointment, Nick said: “I’m absolutely delighted to join the OIA Board and to continue the work we have been doing to help more people to get outside more often. Promoting the benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle is an area I’m passionate about and collaboration in participation activity can only be good for the whole industry. GetOutside is perfectly aligned to the core purpose of the OIA and is there for the entire industry to engage, inspire and motivate more people to get outside more often. I look forward to working even closer with the OIA and delivering growth, collaboration and cohesion to the industry.”
Also joining the Board is Robert Brigham, who has been Managing Director of Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports for almost eight years, having worked in a variety of roles at the company since he was teenager, starting out in-store. He moved into accounts and the warehouse department, before working on delivering new stores and improved back office systems as Operations Manager. Born into the outdoor industry, all Robert wanted to do from an early age was work in his father’s business.
He comments: “The Outdoor and Snowsports industries just seemed to be full of great people doing all the things I loved to do. The truth is I’m just as in love with the great outdoors as I ever was; it’s just that now I’m as much a retailer as an outdoors man! It is such a dynamic environment; every day is different and nothing stands still.”
The third new OIA Board member is Matt Gowar, CEO of Equip Outdoor Technologies. His initial participation will be delayed until due to business travel, but from January 2019 he will attend the regular Board Meetings. Matt founded Equip Outdoor Technologies in 1991 to retail specialist travel equipment. This led to the development and manufacture of products to his specifications and to sourcing and importing of selected equipment from overseas. In 1997 a partnership was formed and in January 2000 Equip Outdoor Technologies Ltd became incorporated with Matt as the Managing Director; this role held responsibility at Board level to control buying, sourcing, sales and financial control. Equip acquired the brand Rab in 2003, which in 2008 went on to become the largest technical apparel brand in the UK. In 2011 Equip also purchased Lowe Alpine to further enhance their portfolio. Today, Matt is a board member and CEO of Equip Outdoor Technologies UK, which continues to specialise in the design and marketing of technical outdoor equipment.
OIA Chief Executive, Andrew Denton comments: “As we continue influencing government to develop and support outdoor recreation, we need an extensive, experienced Board of Directors to maximise the trade’s impact – Matt, Nick and Robert most definitely fit the bill and we’re delighted to welcome them to the association. We’re incredibly lucky to have such a strong Board, with all 12 Directors volunteering their time, travel and expenses all free of charge, in addition to their companies being fully paid OIA Members.”
For further information about the OIA Board, please visit www.theoia.co.uk/about/team