2021 Stewards of Opportunity Conference Track:

Responsible Outdoor Product Innovation

About the Responsible Outdoor Product Innovation Track

There’s a reason that the top companies in the world are integrating environmental and social responsibility strategies into every aspect of their businesses, and innovating their core products to make a positive impact. They are doing so because today’s consumers demand that their brands stand for something, and because it makes good business sense. This track will focus on how outdoor brands both large and small can design and build products that have positive impacts, create value, and provide a competitive advantage.  From sourcing, supply chain, and manufacturing, all the way to waste management and circular economies – this track will highlight a whole-systems approach to innovative and regenerative company and product development.

Topics for this Track Include:

  • The State of Outdoor Product Innovation


  • Supporting Outdoor Company Growth in Your Community – What Do Outdoor Businesses Need? – This plenary panel, lead by Amy Allison, the Director of the Outdoor Industry Office of North Carolina, will highlight recent data on the outdoor economy. It will also showcase companies from various sectors of the industry engaging in a conversation about what they are facing today and how local communities and partners can support a growing outdoor economy.


  • Retail & Consumer Trends – What’s Driving Product Innovation – Our industry is expanding. Brands and communities must have a complete view of the market to meet consumers needs and wants, as well as, understand which outlets they are flocking to, to grow business and maintain health for our industry. The NPD Group offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help you understand and leverage the outdoor industry.


  • Sustainable Innovations Across the Product Development Process


  • Model Product Innovation Collaborations


  • Selling Quality, Innovation, and Sustainability

Speakers for This Track Include:

  • Sam Buff, Manufacturing Solutions Center

  • David Billstrom, CEO, Kitsbow

  • Dr. Karen Leonas, NCSU Textile Consumer Science and Sustainability

  • Patrick Kennedy, SylvanSport

Be Awesome. Save Money. Buy Tickets.

The past year has been life changing, not just for us as individuals, but for our communities, economies, and the outdoor industry as a whole. The need to grow and strengthen our respective outdoor economies is more relevant than ever. 

Since its inception, Outdoor Economy Conference has provided an invaluable opportunity to connect with, learn from, and be inspired by the leaders and doers who are working to grow the outdoor industry and craft an economy that’s intimately tied to the well-being of their places and communities.

This year’s conference is no exception. Our team is passionate about their work and has been busy crafting an amazing program centered around place driven community and economic development.

Did we mention that the conference is in the legendary outdoor playground that is Western North Carolina? You’ll be just 5 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 5 minutes from some of the country’s most epic mountain biking, and within walking distance of fantastic fly fishing.

Maybe you’re more of a luxe digs sort of person – well, we’ve got that too. The Outdoor Economy Conference will be one of the first events at the swanky, newly-constructed, Harrah’s Cherokee Event Center. And the room rates are crazy good. Oh, and it’s also during those magical first few weeks of spring, when the trillium and the trout are rising. So what are you waiting for? Register now! 

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4th Annual Conference Tracks: "Stewards of Opportunity"

Photo: Bren Photography for Camp Grier

Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Tourism

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Outdoor-Driven Economic Development

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Photo: Bear Allison for Cherokee

Balancing Conservation and the Outdoor Economy

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Photo: Industry Nine

Responsible Outdoor Product Innovation

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harrah's cherokee conference center

777 Casino Dr. Cherokee, NC 28719

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