Paul Bastean is the Managing Director and principal owner of Ultimate Defense Firing Range & Training Center, LLC, and the Managing Director of Heritage Estate Services and Firearm’s Appraisals, all while maintaining a sergeant’s commission with the Special Operations Division for the Lake St. Louis Police Department. Through his leadership and vision, Ultimate Defense is today one of the leading firearms training institutes in the United States.
Benjamin Brickweg has an MBA in marketing and is an attorney and published author. As the founding partner of Sagewood Transaction Advisors, Brickweg leads client development initiatives, working directly with clients in the outdoors industry, adventure travel and resort and mountain town markets, and over the past 15 years has guided more than 100 business owners through successful exits from their respective industries.
A serial entrepreneur, Brickweg has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of business exit strategies. His know-how includes navigating the routine snarls of valuation, transaction structures, family/employee transitions, due diligence, distressed company situations, and complex negotiations.
Karen Butler is the founder and President of SLG², Inc., DBA Shoot Like A Girl. Launched in 2018, Shoot Like a Girl is dedicated to growing the number of women who participate in shooting sports, while her SLG2 Consulting, launched in 2019, works to maximize the experience and knowledge gained from building the initial brand and create strategies leading to growth for corporations.
Butler retired from the Department of the Army in 2016 after 22 years of civilian service. An advocate for all shooting sports, she was recognized in 2011 by Outdoor Life Magazine as one of its top 25 leaders in hunting, fishing and conservation, and in 2017 she was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama. An accomplished speaker and writer, she has been featured in Time Magazine, on multiple television shows and national radio, and has conducted seminars at numerous events, including the Archery Trade Association (ATA) Archery Academy and Field & Stream Deer and Turkey Expos. Butler also delivers motivational speeches for women’s executive leadership groups, as well as one for Women’s History Month, and she has served as a panel member for both the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum and The Catalyst.
Ty Eggemeyer is the co-owner and co-founder of Keystone Shooting Center, an indoor NSSF Five-Star range and retailer located outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As the co-founder and CEO of Canopy-Solutions, a Houston-area specialty construction business, Eggemeyer is also involved in senior housing facility development and other private equity ventures. His specialty is marketing and operational control, having spent many years leading Pinnacle Electronics and AccuSpec Electronics to world-class performance. He holds an MBA from the University of Virginia, where he was a Shermet scholar, and a BBA in Finance from West Texas where he was named Outstanding Finance graduate. Upon graduating, Eggemeyer worked for the global consulting company McKinsey & Company before moving on to become Director of Business Development for Precision Castparts which is today a Berkshire Hathaway Company.
Dan has owned Maxon Shooter's Supplies since 2015, advancing into the firearms industry after a 20-plus year career in commodity futures trading. He is also the founder and first president of the Illinois firearms dealer association FFL-IL, which was founded in response to relentless attacks against Federal Firearm Licensees by anti-gun and anti-2nd Amendment groups. Today FFL-IL is dedicated to preserving the gun rights of all lawful Illinois residents by ensuring gun stores and ranges are not regulated out of business.
Taylor Hayden is the owner of Blackstone Shooting Sports, a 27,000-square-foot indoor shooting range and retail firearms store located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Prior to starting Blackstone, Hayden was a corporate attorney at a large Southeastern law firm where he represented private and public entities in all areas of corporate structuring, financing and equity transactions and mergers and acquisitions. In addition to operating Blackstone, he is also a managing member of Boost Business & Legal Advisors, a business improvement company that focuses on helping small and medium-sized businesses address legal and operational challenges.
Dan Heuertz is the Founder and President of The Preferred Group, a business development management and consulting firm located in Palatine, Illinois. He enjoys leading high-growth entrepreneurs in strategic planning and facilitating strategy summits and retreats. His expertise is backed by a diverse background in; franchising, real estate, group purchasing, merchant services, consulting, professional facilitation and coaching and hospitality management across the U.S. and Canada. A serial entrepreneur who studies emotional intelligence, Heuertz holds a degree from Iowa State University in Speech Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations.
Born into a family of sportsmen, Amanda Justino has been around firearms since the age of eight, and through her youth often accompanied her father for hunting or other sporting activities. She attended many sporting clays, trap and skeet events at a young age, bringing that experience to her career as the office manager of RTSP, LLC, New Jersey’s first NSSF Five-Star Range. She has been with the company for over two years and has been a part of their growth as RTSP opened its second NSSF Five-Star Range in December 2018.
Dale Krupinski has nearly 20 years of safety and health management experience, including lead and metals remediation and firearms range environmental services such as lead recovery and recycling, lead contamination remediation, range maintenance, range improvements, hazardous waste stabilization, sampling, lead dust remediation, lead-impacted soil treatment and compliant site closure. His career includes working as a Safety and Health Compliance Officer and at OSHA’s National Office, where his expertise included OSHA compliance assessments, training, and program development in areas including recordkeeping, ventilation, occupational noise, personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, machine guarding, electrical safety and toxic and hazardous substances exposure monitoring.
Carrie Lightfoot is the founder and owner of The Well Armed Woman, LLC, one of the country’s largest firearms resources committed to bringing innovative products, training and information to women gun owners everywhere. Lightfoot is also the founder and Chairwoman of the Board of TWAW Shooting Chapters, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit with nearly 400 chapters in 49 states, and she is the principal of the Carrie Lightfoot Consultancy, which assists brands in reaching, marketing to and serving the female shooter.
Lightfoot was elected to the National Rifle Association Board of Directors in 2018 and serves on multiple committees there. She has been named by Newsmax as one of the 100 Most Influential Pro-Gun Rights Advocates, has received Glock’s Safety Ambassador Award and has been named as an NSSF Project ChildSafe S.A.F.E. Local Champion.
The author of the book The Well Armed Woman’s Concise Guide to Concealed Carry, Lightfoot has also published articles in leading industry media outlets such as Breitbart, Shooting Industry Magazine, USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine, Combat Handgun, Ammoland, Recoil and others. She is a popular national speaker, presenting at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), The National Gun Rights Policy Conference, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Industry Summit, NRA Women’s Leadership Forum and others, and she is a frequent guest in national media, including CNN, NBC Nightly News, FOX News, Blaze TV, NPR, NRA TV, and NRA Tips & Tactics.
Frank Medina has spent much of his career working in the start-up arena. He studied finance and accounting at the University of Oklahoma before going on to spend a decade working as an accounting and finance professional where his focus was on businesses in early development phases and those in stages of substantial growth. Starting in the early formation of Wilshire Gun, a “next-generation” shooting range, he helped raise capital and build the teams necessary to execute their growth investment strategy. He has experience using new technology to create operating leverage while enhancing the experience for the customer, and as a corporate controller for a high-growth medium-sized company, Medina has been part of a team that has achieved more than 65-percent sales growth each year for the past four years.
Jimmy Neil is the General Manager for Live Oak Bank’s Entertainment Center Division, a firm that provides financial assistance for shooting range development. He has worked on more than 100 range projects and frequently speaks at range development conferences, helping new owners identify and formulate profit strategies.
Neil earned his MBA from Louisiana State University in 1994, then went on to manage a team of commercial lenders for the U.S. Small Business Administration. He is also the former Vice President of Pharmacy Transition and Investment Strategy for the Retail Independent segment of a Fortune 20 drug distributor, working with more than 1,000 pharmacies in various stages of ownership transition, including operation assessments, sales, mergers, acquisitions, financings, partnership buyouts, valuations and tax mitigation strategies. Today he is a principal in a community pharmacy in Louisiana.
David Sabo is a managing partner of the Midwest Shooting Center in Cridersville, Ohio, as well as a managing partner in Black Rifle Firearms, an online firearms and accessories center. He credits the successful establishment of Midwest Shooting Center to his time as a managing partner of the Ohio/Pennsylvania Anytime Fitness franchises, one of the largest in the Midwest. A former commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corp, Sabo holds a B.A. in Business Marketing and Accounting from the University of Indianapolis and an M.B.A. in Accounting from Wesleyan University, and he is both a Certified Public Accountant and a Project Management Professional.
Ed Santos is the founder and President of Center Target Sports and the Tactical Services Group, Inc., a firearms range design, operations and management consulting firm. He has provided guidance for 14 new-construction indoor range projects, is a member of NSSF’s Range Action Specialist team and has been an NRA Range Technical Team Advisor for more than 15 years. Also a respected threat management specialist, Santos serves as an expert witness on matters of personal defense and industrial security. He is a retired Army officer, a Level One reserve Deputy Sheriff, and a certified instructor for many law enforcement disciplines and personal protection, and is both a certified Dignitary Protection Specialist and Dignitary Protection Driver.
In addition to his work with Center Target Sports and his consulting firm, Santos teaches and conducts research throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia. He is a frequent presenter at national and international law enforcement conferences and conventions and a published author, with many articles appearing in law enforcement and security-industry magazines. Santos is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, International Association of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors, National Tactical Officers Association, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Idaho Peace Officers Association.
Jared Sloane is a founding member Operations Director of the award-winning three-store chain of Shoot Smart ranges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Sloane has nearly 10 years of experience in the firearms industry and range operations, and in managing Shoot Smart’s three locations he focuses heavily on marketing efforts to attract the next generation of shooters. He has been a member of the NSSF Range Advisory Council since 2015.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Jason Smith has more than a decade of experience supporting the shooting range industry with environmental, health and safety expertise. As a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), Smith leverages a multidisciplinary, scientific approach to working with range owners and operators to protect employees and customers from exposures to lead, noise and other workplace hazards. He also works closely with NSSF to help develop effective training, education and implementation solutions for range operators.
Deborah Spangenberg is the General Manager for New Jersey’s RTSP firearms ranges, both NSSF Five-Star Ranges, and has been with the company since its inception in 2011. She has played an integral role in helping the business grow, managing all aspects of the organization with a primary focus on the financial stability of the company and staff development. With the help of her management team, she has developed policies and procedures to ensure a safe work environment, implemented a comprehensive training program so that all her employees have opportunities for advancement and created incentive programs to encourage productivity.
Bryan “B.A.” Stear is the founder of Shoot Indoors, a well-respected indoor shooting range franchise in the Denver suburbs. He also runs a successful range design consulting service, helping new owners use data analytics and demographics to smartly design their ranges and pick profitable locations.
Stear spent the first half of his career designing satellites and performing data analytics, but always had the ambition to open a shooting range that would change the entire industry. He accomplished that dream by building Shoot Indoors, which utilized his patent-pending TAPER-Range design to cut equipment costs by over $100,000. He graduated from Lehigh University with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Astrophysics before earning a Master’s in Engineering Management from the University of Colorado, where his thesis focused on range business planning.
Jeff Swanson is co-founder and an owner of the “next-generation” shooting range Wilshire Gun and the Managing Member of NexGen Range Consulting. A member of NSSF’s Range Action Specialists Team, Swanson is also a regular speaker and writer on shooting range development topics that emphasize diversifying revenue streams across multiple profit centers. An entrepreneur and attorney with nearly a quarter-century of practice as a litigator, real estate advisor and business development consultant, he has extensive experience in business plan development, financial structuring and operations implementation from inception to profitability. He holds a J.D. from the University of Tulsa College of Law and a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma with an emphasis in finance and communication.
In his work with NexGen Range Consulting, Swanson focuses on assisting range owners across the country in creating their own “next-generation” shooting facilities. With clients in 43 states and growing, the NexGen Range Consulting Team offers range development services based on an à la carte menu that allows clients to choose what services they need at the time they are needed.
A former commissioned officer in the United States Marine Corps, Jeff Swinford brought his extensive experience creating a highly successful membership experience with the Anytime Fitness franchise to the shooting industry when he established the Midwest Shooting Center in Cridersville, Ohio. A graduate of Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in Business-Entrepreneurial Management, Swinford is also a managing partner of Black Rifle Firearms, an online firearms and accessories retail center.
As Managing Director, Commercial at Range Systems, Doug VanderWoude works with start-up ranges to open their doors and existing ranges to become more profitable. He has also advised retail operators on how to maximize their business spaces and adopt industry best practices for higher profits. VanderWoude founded and operated a successful firearm range and retail store, consulted with more than 400 ranges and worked with firearms manufacturers to launch a variety of nationwide promotional programs that drive consumers to ranges and retailers. A popular speaker at NRA Range Development Conferences, VanderWoude has presented at numerous SHOT University seminars and is a member of NSSF’s Range Advisory Council.
Hank Yacek has held several roles during his career of more than 30 years, with positions ranging from sales, management and owning his own retail establishment to now owning an industry consulting firm. Yacek began his career in 1987 in a local shop in Waterbury, Connecticut, staying in the firearm industry retail sector through 2004, when he opened his own store in Lexington, Kentucky. He eventually graduated from the retail side of the industry, leveraging his many years of experience to work as the director of retail development for a large firearm distributor. Today, Yacek operates Point of Impact Consulting, which is dedicated to working with and growing the firearms industry and promoting success at all levels.
Jean Zabel joined ATF in 1988 in Charlotte, NC as an Inspector and conducted firearms inspections throughout North and South Carolina. She was promoted to Special Operations Inspector and was responsible for the firearms and explosives programs in the Charlotte Field Division. In January 2000, Jean became the Program Manager at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia where she was responsible for the ATF Investigator Training Program. She later transferred to Tampa, Florida as a Senior Operations Officer for the Tampa Field Division and was later promoted to Area Supervisor. As the Area Supervisor, Jean selected the firearms licensees to be inspected, oversaw the inspection process and reviewed the results of each inspection. Also while in Tampa, she served as a Hearing Officer for firearms adverse action cases. She retired from ATF in November 2011.
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