If the past couple of years taught the industry anything, it’s the importance of being flexible and able to adapt to a fast-changing business environment, as well as the necessity of innovating to attract and retain new customers. These top-caliber presenters will provide actionable insights to do just that.
Jordan attended the University of Northern Colorado from 2009-2013 where he began his journey in marketing and branding. Jordan comes from a family of entrepreneurs where he developed a passion for helping people and businesses thrive. He is a co-founder of Elevate Advertising which has over 150 clients from small startups to large corporations. With 9 years in the range/retail space he has helped over 20 ranges grow and adapt to the ever-changing marketplace. Jordan enjoys life with his wife Aleia, one year old daughter Delilah, and two clever corgis. Ask him anything about sports and he is sure to talk your ear off. Go Broncos!
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 over the Special Operations Division for the Lake St. Louis Police Department.
Prior to 2010, Bastean recognized a severe shortage of quality firearms training in the civilian sector and set in motion the monumental project that became Ultimate Defense Firing Range & Training Center. Through his leadership and vision, Ultimate Defense has become one of the leading firearms training institutes in the United States, including being nominated for NSSF’s Range of the Year in 2015.
Benjamin Brickweg is an attorney, author, and business exit strategy expert. He’s the Founder and CEO of Sagewood Legal & Advisors, where he leads client development initiatives, works directly with clients in the outdoors industry, adventure travel and resort and mountain town markets. Over the past 15 years has advised hundreds of business owners on exit strategy, business valuation, and legal strategy.
A serial entrepreneur, Brickweg has seen the good, the bad and the ugly of all things related to business. 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 2008, a company dedicated to growing the number of women who participate in shooting sports; and DBA SLG2 Consulting, launched in 2019 to maximize the experience and knowledge gained from building the initial brand, Shoot Like A Girl, 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 by Outdoor Life Magazine as one of its 2011 Top 25 Leaders in Hunting, Fishing and Conservation and named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama in 2017. She enjoys competitive and recreational shooting and is an avid hunter. As an accomplished speaker and writer, she has been featured in Time Magazine, on multiple television shows and national radio, and she’s conducted seminars at numerous events, including the Archery Trade Association (ATA) Archery Academy and Field & Stream Deer and Turkey Expos. She has delivered 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 the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum and The Catalyst. She is also currently serving as a 2021-2022 panelist on the NRA’s Voice of Hunting Leadership Panel where she contributes her voice on key hunting and outdoor recreation issues.
As the Operations Director at Range Membership Solutions, Amanda Carey works with indoor shooting ranges to develop proficient and effective membership departments, producing a powerful revenue source to help cover a range’s fixed operating costs. She understands what it takes to operate a full-service range and believes membership should always elevate your business’ profitability and minimize the stress surrounding the ebbs and flows of the firearms industry. She has worked with over a dozen indoor shooting centers to build and grow their membership departments, some of which have doubled their membership numbers since working the RMS process.
John “JC” Clark
JC is co-founder of FFL Consultants and a veteran of the military, law enforcement and firearms industry business arenas. JC has been directly responsible for the management and oversight of nearly 500 firearms licensees operating throughout the United States. This has afforded him extensive personal knowledge and experience related to the firearms industry, FFL business operations, driving profitability, and protecting organizations against risk. JC thrives in supporting clients in the areas of state and federal licensing, compliance initiatives, business assessments, OSHA/EHS/EPA compliance and range operations, loss and risk mitigation, internal control functions and the implementation of corporate governance practices. JC also serves as a primary business, security, and compliance consultant to the firearms industry, supporting the Members of the NSSF.
Steve Fischer started training in the Martial Arts at a young age. His hunting and range experiences with his father and grandfather led him on a lifelong journey that ignited his passion for personal defense and firearms.
While serving in the U.S. Army Reserve, Steve completed training as an Infantry Soldier, Combat Lifesaver, Master Fitness Trainer and Drill Sergeant, eventually becoming an instructor at the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School. He competed for several years as a member of the 84th Division High Power Rifle Team, earning his Army Excellence in Competition Bronze Rifle Badge.
Steve’s commitment to Martial Arts led him to become a full-time Martial Arts Instructor. After 35+ years of teaching and training, he decided to retire from the profession as a Kukkiwon Certified 4th Degree Master Instructor and has since been recommended to skip test to 6th Degree in honor of his long-term commitment to passing on his knowledge.
Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and has had the privilege of learning from and training with a wide variety of experts, including George Harris, Steven Gilcreast, Massad Ayoob, Rob Pincus, Lew Gosnell, Eric Ingersoll, Chris Currie, Mike Hughes, Dave Young, Anthony Lambert, Deryck Poole, Barret Kendrick and Jason Speller.
Kenny owns Crazy Gun Dealer and Range in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Prior to owning a firearm business, Kenny was with Fort Worth P.D. for 10 years, working three years undercover, which he described as the ultimate sales job. For the last 31 years, he has been self-employed, owning many successful companies in the printing, wireless and furniture store fields. He’s also a certified auctioneer, estate specialist and personal property appraiser.
As an avid outdoorsman and history buff, Kenny began focusing his auction career on guns and military memorabilia. That led to opening a retail gun store and range in 2010.
Kenny has created one of the most recognized and successful independent gun stores in his area, and it has been profitable every year. He equates that profitability to a tight management of expenses and a relentless focus on margins rather than sales volume.
Matt Goers is a nationwide small business lender with 10 years of experience in SBA and USDA lending at top lending institutions. Matt has an operations background that includes loan closing, underwriting, and credit administration, including being the former Chief Credit Officer at First Bank of the Lake. Matt is a service-disabled Marine Corps combat veteran who served two tours in Iraq and has been tasked with the mission of lending more money to veterans.
Alex Hague graduated from Ohio University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s in Business, Finance and Marketing, and immediately following joined his family in a new business adventure Vandalia Range and Armory. VRA is an indoor shooting facility, training center and retail store with a well-respected reputation, having earned the NSSF’s Five-Star rating both in 2013 and again 2017. In 2017 VRA opened its second location Victory Range and Armory in New Castle, Indiana which also earned a Five Star rating from the NSSF.
Most recently Hague and his family have developed their own shooting range construction management, and live-fire digital shooting range company known as Evolve Range Solutions. Evolve Range Solutions flagship product the EV-R Target System® allows customers to shoot at digitally projected targets with live-fire guns and ammunition. Targets will react, score, and time giving shooters an experience much more advanced, and fun than standard shooting facilities. Evolve Range Solutions strives to be an industry leader in the range management, and technology space. Mr. Hague currently resides in Vandalia, Ohio with his wife Whitney, and daughters Callie and Willa.
Chris Hart is the Action Target Territory Manager/Range Design Consultant for the Southwest United States. Since joining Action Target in 2005, he has consulted and completed more than 400 shooting ranges throughout the U.S. Chris is highly trained in designing range solutions for indoor/outdoor commercial and law enforcement markets and is well-regarded as an expert in the industry. Some of his most notable projects include Madison Police Department, TNT Shooting Center (includes indoor skeet), Kansas City Police Department’s, Omaha Police Department’s, Gilbert PD and Sharpshooter. Chris is a lifelong shooter and active competitor in 3-Gun and IDPA competitions, and he serves as a Head Rangemaster of Action Target’s indoor range located in the corporate office in Provo, Utah.
With over 20 years of experience in the shooting, hunting, outdoor and tactical markets, Hoffman has realized success at every engagement through a broad skillset in marketing, media, sales management, operational management, product development, relationship management, leadership, and high-level strategy.
Hoffman’s market focus provides extensive knowledge of products and customer behavior throughout the shooting, hunting, outdoor, and especially tactical and government markets. Experienced developing businesses and brands for Military, Federal, State and Local Agency consumption, Hoffman understands the target customer and their needs, providing a means to help create successful strategy, technology, and creative to grow SHOT businesses.
Born into a family of sportsmen where firearms were a part of life, Amanda has been around firearms since the age of eight years old. She often accompanied her father and his hobby, whether it be through hunting or sporting activities. Amanda attended many sporting clay and trap/skeet events at a young age, which she brought with her into her career as the Office Manager of RTSP, LLC, New Jersey’s first Premier 5 Star Range. She has been with the company for over two years and has been a part of their growth as RTSP opened their second 5 Star Range in December 2018. She is a firm believer in the Second Amendment and looks forward to a long-term bright future at RTSP where she can enjoy her passion of shooting, all while enthusiastically educating employees along the way.
Ascentium Capital aims to make commercial-equipment financing in the shooting range industry fast, easy and transparent. Dominic was inspired to enter the commercial lending space after many years in the mortgage industry doing residential loans under his NMLS License for Quicken Loans, now Rocket Mortgage. He began working for Direct Capital in 2015 as Lending Solutions Manager, and, after a move to Arizona, joined Ascentium Capital in 2018 with a focus of bringing on new industries. Dominic grew up in a hunting family in Michigan and was always around firearms. The outdoors was a way of life, and it was natural, looking back on it, that he would enter the shooting range equipment industry.
Ascentium Capital embraced this idea and agreed to enter the space full force. Dominic now works with the majority of shooting range equipment and ventilation vendors in the industry. The company reviews about $30 million in applications a year from firearm retailers looking to expand their revenue by adding a shooting range. Dominic’s goal is to not be a normal banker but rather a lending source who can relate to your business and financial aspirations.
As the Marketing Manager of White Birch Armory, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Range-Retailer in Dover, New Hampshire, Brenna McCoubrey played an integral role in discovering the identity of the business. Brenna joined the company during the construction of the range in 2020 and since then, has established a strong sense of community for customers, and members, by seamlessly tying their digital relationship with the brand into their in-store experience. Brenna has a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration from Suffolk University, but her love for hunting and shooting sports has made for a natural transition into her profession.
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.
Ryan is the Chief Innovation Officer of Gearfire, which provides e-commerce, point-of-sale, payments, and financial technology services to the shooting sports industry. Ryan has 20 years of experience in strategy, analytics, and technology within the banking industry, including several years as a consultant for businesses across the country. He leverages his expertise in financing and technology to identify and design novel solutions that help businesses grow profitably and provide best-in-class customer service.
Ben Nelson is the founder of Otter Technologies, a waiver & marketing platform for shooting ranges. As a serial entrepreneur, he started an advertising agency, video production, and photography studio and advised fast-growing companies through the Telluride Venture Network.
He's led product design and creative brand consulting for over 15 years with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups. His expertise includes leading software product design, competitive market analysis, go-to-market strategy, and solving business challenges at scale.
Ben has been a shooting sports enthusiast since the of 7. He competed in 4-H archery for ten years before moving to spend most weekends at a gun range.
Wally Nelson is a retired ATF Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) with more than 33 years of ATF experience. He started with ATF as an inspector (now IOI) after service in Vietnam with the US Army and had 26 years in management positions with the agency. As DAD, he directed all regulatory firearms programs, including the development and monitoring of firearms inspection programs, licensing, NFA, imports, tracing and regulations, as well as the firearms technology branch. He retired from ATF in October 2005. For the last sixteen + years, Nelson has brought his expertise in firearms laws and regulations to manufacturers, importers and dealers as a private consultant. He conducts training sessions, internal control reviews, records audits and inventor controls. He has also worked as an expert witness in civil suits and has helped FFLs with all manners of compliance and licensing issues. He also has helped FFLs facing license revocation. Nelson is a member of NSSF’s Retail Compliance Consultant Team and has spoken on compliance at every at SHOT Show since 2007.
Sarah has nearly two decades of retail experience with heavy concentration on visual merchandising. In her current role as Director of Business Operations at Ann Arbor Arms (A3), she oversees multiple areas of operations—including inventory and purchasing, merchandising, sales floor planning, pricing, HR, marketing and IT operations. Early in her career at A3, she served as the company's full-time buyer, which included management of all merchandise and sales floor engineering. Prior to her position at A3, she was with retail giant Cabela’s for more than 12 years, most of which she served in a leadership role. Among her many responsibilities, she was integral in ensuring the highest quality visual merchandising across departments. While at Cabela’s, Sarah was one of just a handful of leaders selected for the Merchandising Experience Project and The Women in Leadership Program. Sarah's passion for retail excellence is rivaled only by her drive to ensure a premium experience for every customer at every level of service.
Shaun Phelan has over 25 years of experience guiding public and private organizations through digital transformations. A leader in technology, manufacturing, and marketing Shaun has challenged organizations to achieve new levels of success. While at Smith & Wesson, Shaun used his data-driven decision-making philosophy to repeatedly surpass organizational targets while meeting and exceeding quality and cost goals. His manufacturing teams consistently exceeded production goals for safety, quality and cost. The customer service center transformed from a cost center to a profit center, while delighting customers with “wow” service.
Shaun also built a Sales and Marketing Operations group, a first for the firearms industry. The customer-focused group supported brand and sales leaders in driving product awareness across all channels. Shaun drove new efficiencies and cost savings into the new product launch process. His specialties include strategic marketing, media relations, advertising, event planning and execution, internet and email marketing, and branding and creative development.
Jon Rydberg has served as Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Orchid LLC holdings since September 2012. For a portion of this time, he also served as CEO of the Retail Technology Group and was a primary financier to the Gearfire brand of companies. For the last ten years he has been focused on the shooting sports industry where he was an executive at Smith & Wesson Holding Corp and a business, technology and compliance advisor to FFLs across the U.S. At present, his holdings provide Retail POS software, eCommerce applications, Manufacturing ERP software, integrated FFL compliance software, credit card processing and FFL services delivered via the industry’s largest firearm compliance firm.
Previously, Mr. Rydberg was the Chief Marketing Officer of Ticket Network, the 2ndlargest online ticket marketplace in the United States. Mr. Rydberg also served as a Managing Director at Protiviti and a Group Manager at Ernst & Young LLP. In an advisory capacity, Mr. Rydberg helped numerous Fortune 500 companies grow top line revenue while automating and controlling their business operations. He is known for his expertise in POS / ERP technology, inventory management, business transformation and financial / regulatory process control. Mr. Rydberg is the author of several works dedicated to supply chain management, Sarbanes-Oxley, FFL / ATF firearm compliance and he is also the founder of the Firearm Industry Conference.
Bryan “B.A.” Stear is the Founder of Shoot Indoors Franchising, a popular indoor shooting range franchise headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Shoot Indoors currently has four locations nationally with more coming soon. Each location provides the opportunity for anyone to learn firearms safety, become comfortable with firearms, and practice target shooting in a safe, friendly, and clean indoor environment. Shoot Indoors locations do not sell firearms and focus primarily on fun and recreational experiences.
In addition to franchising, his affiliated company TAPER-range uses their patented range design to shrink the range footprint to vastly reduce the build and equipment costs without impacting the shooting experience. To date, they have built six taper-ranges nationally.
B.A. graduated from Lehigh University with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Astrophysics. He also holds a Masters in Engineering Management from the University of Colorado. Although he comes from the satellite industry, his approach to demographics and data analytics is well suited for range development.
Jeff Swanson is co-founder and an owner of a “next generation” shooting range, Wilshire Gun, and the Managing Member of NexGen Range Consulting. He is a member of NSSF’s Range Action Specialists Team and 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, Swanson is also an accomplished business owner with 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.
As Managing Director, Commercial at Range Systems, Doug VanderWoude works with potential ranges to open the doors and existing ranges to become more profitable. In the past he has advised retail operators on how to maximize their business spaces and adapt industry best practices for higher profits. He has founded and operated a successful firearm range and retail store, consulted with more than 500 ranges and worked with firearms manufactures to launch a variety of nationwide promotional programs that drive consumers to ranges and retailers. A popular speaker at NRA Range Development Conferences, VanderWoude is a presenter of multiple past SHOT University classes and a member of the NSSF 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 firearms industry retail through2004 when he opened his own store in Lexington, Kentucky. He eventually graduated from the retail side of the industry and leveraged his retail expertise while working as 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.