Richard Abramson is the Founder and General Manager of Centennial Gun Club in Centennial, Colorado. Prior to opening Centennial Gun Club in 2012, Abramson, who has an extensive background in management, investment and strategic planning across a wide range of industries, lead a series of high-tech corporate turnarounds. With an emphasis on operational excellence, a variety of workouts were achieved, including IPOs, company sales and mergers and implementation of growth strategies and stabilization operations. He has served as CEO of both public and private companies. Today, in addition to his work with Centennial Gun Club, he serves on a number of industry boards, including NSSF’s Retail Advisory Council, the Range Growth Advisory Board, the Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition and ShellShock Technologies.
Tim Arnold is part of the teaching team at StoryBrand Live Workshops and travels the world to help StoryBrand clients through Private Workshops and Keynotes. He has spent over two decades helping organizations communicate, collaborate and get unstuck, with clients that include The United Nations, Citibank, KPMG, Toyota and Siemens. Tim is able to provide his clients with a real-world perspective through his experience launching successful for-profit and not-for-profit businesses and managing international development partnerships in four continents. As the author of the book, "The Power of Healthy Tension," Tim is able to help his clients bring communication simplicity to their business complexity. Tim lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife, Becky and their children Declan and Avryl.
Paul Bastean is the Managing Director and principal Owner of Ultimate Defense Firing Range & Training Center, L.L.C., 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, Basten 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.
John Clark is the Principal and Founder of PCI Services, LLC, a consultancy firm providing sustainable solutions that positively affect companies’ missions and protects their interests. He has served as an executive for both public and private businesses domestically and internationally, with responsibilities including the implementation of risk and loss mitigation strategies, governmental compliance initiatives, global security operations, investigative and crime analysis units, business assessment and control functions and corporate governance practices. Prior to his time in the corporate world Clark held various positions with federal and local law enforcement agencies, and he is a combat veteran with the U.S. Air Force, roles that lend themselves well to his work with NSSF as a member of its Compliance and Security Consultant Teams. He holds a BS in Criminal Justice Administration and an AS in Industrial Security Management, and today he serves on the Board of Directors for the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, as well as in an advisory capacity for a number of national and state public-/private-sector partnership organizations focused on criminal justice and national security-related matters.
Bobby Cummings is an expert in the design of shooting range facilities and leads Clark Nexsen’s Public Safety practice. With more than 30 years of experience, 15 of which have been focused exclusively on firing and tactical training facilities, Cummings leverages his expertise to design, build and renovate ranges.
As a reserve deputy sheriff and a hunter, Cummings has a passion for the safe recreational and professional use of firearms. He is a certified law enforcement firearms instructor in Virginia, and his experience in that capacity has informed his work as a civil engineer, project manager and principal-in-charge on projects to design and build firing ranges and related buildings.
Today he applies that knowledge to guiding range owners through the numerous design decisions that result in a successful, appealing facility. Leading a full-service design team of architects and engineers, he has delivered more than 50 firing, driving, and special operations range facilities from design through construction completion.
Jim Curcuruto is NSSF’s Director, Research & Market Development. With NSSF since 2009, he has worked tirelessly to provide insights to NSSF members and the industry at large so that an improved understanding of consumers works toward increased participation in hunting and target shooting. His work has been referenced hundreds of times in corporate annual reports, newspapers, television and other media platforms, and he has served as an expert witness in several high-profile state and federal court cases regarding 2nd Amendment rights.
Curcuruto is also responsible for several of NSSF’s R3 efforts, which have included developing a number of strategic partnerships and programs such as the organization’s Mentor Initiative and Partner with a Payer that work to scale the R3 model and increase overall participation.
Mike Degan is a seasoned trial lawyer with 25 years’ experience handling complex litigation matters. He has tried dozens of jury trials and has appeared in more than 30 state and federal jurisdictions throughout the country and has been recognized by peers as a leading practitioner by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation and Super Lawyers.
A member of Kutak Rock’s dedicated Firearms Group, Degan specializes in advising shooting range owners and operators. In that capacity he assists ranges on issues ranging from OSHA and EPA compliance, lead abatement and waste management, noise hazards, local land use regulations, liability and risk management and employment matters. He also regularly counsels NSSF’s Premium Range Members and has presented at NSSF-sponsored seminars on range-related issues. In addition, Degan represents leading manufactures in firearms-related litigation. He is a gun owner, shooting enthusiast and part owner of a shooting range, so his advocacy for range owners is both personal and professional.
Heather Gillingham is founder of Seattle-based Specialty Insurance Consultants/NFP. Her passion for the shooting sports and outdoor recreation took her to start an insurance agency purely dedicated to commercial companies in the firearms industry, including indoor and outdoor shooting ranges, manufactures of firearms and ammunition, retailers, wholesale firearms distributors and other businesses related to outdoor recreation and hospitality. Gillingham brings a high level of expertise to the table coupled with an old-fashioned approach to customer service and ease of doing business, and today, after 23 years in this specialty niche, Specialty Insurance Consultants/NFP represents more than 2,500 clients nationally. The company is an NSSF member and a preferred provider to the organization’s membership.
IPSC World Champion, author, speaker and U.S. Army veteran, Julie Golob is one of the most accomplished professional shooters in the world, with more than 140 championship titles in international, national and regional marksmanship competitions across seven shooting disciplines. A veteran of the elite U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, she was named both U.S. Army Female Athlete of the Year and AMU Athlete of the Year. Serving as the captain of Smith & Wesson’s shooting team, her list of titles includes the prestigious Bianchi Cup, Steel Challenge, USPSA, IDPA and IPSC competitions and SHOT Business Person of the Year. Her book SHOOT: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition is a comprehensive primer on shooting sports, while the volume Toys, Tools, Guns & Rules: A Children’s Book About Gun Safety is a useful tool for parents looking to communicate real firearm safety. Golob is a dedicated industry ambassador and shares her passion for gun safety, shooting sports and hunting as an outdoor television personality, instructor, guest speaker and author at JulieGolob.com.Register Today!
Alex Hague graduated from Ohio University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s in Business, Finance and Marketing, joining his two brothers, Brock and Jared, and parents, Doug and Linda, 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 NSSF’s Five-Star rating both in 2013 and again 2017. In 2015 Hague and his family began developing their own live-fire digital range company known as Evolve Range Solutions, and its Evolve’s EV-R Target System® allows customers to shoot at digitally projected targets with live-fire guns and ammunition. That concept was central to the development of a second range, Victory Range and Armory, which opened in 2017 in New Castle, Indiana, and earned NSSF’s Five-Star rating in 2018.
Bernard Hsiao, MD, PhD comes from the world of science and medicine. He is a nuclear medicine physician and radiologist, and his PhD is in the field of molecular and cellular pharmacology. He is also co-CEO of Invesca Development Group, a real estate development company that was named #39 on Entrepreneur Magazine's 2017 list of Best Privately Owned Businesses in America. Shooting was a relatively new hobby Bernard took up that rapidly became a passion and led to the creation of Nexus Shooting, a $15 Million state of the art indoor shooting range, and the only NSSF 5 star rated range in South Florida. Along with his brother, Michael Hsiao, and their business partner, Christopher Longsworth, they enhanced the shooter's experience through the application of cutting edge technologies at Nexus, most notably with the development of the Nexus Lanes, a live fire video targeting system, as well as creating a modern and high-tech retail facility that has been lauded as the "Guggenheim Museum" or "Apple Store" of gun stores.
Gary Kunn is the Director of Sales for United Sporting Companies. Prior to that position, he spent 17 years as a Regional Sale Manager for AcuSport. Early in his time with that company, he oversaw the road and inside sales teams and worked closely with the merchandising and warehouse teams. In 2005, Kunn opened a new office for AcuSport in Texas, and focused his attention on retailer relationships, helping them implement best practices and improve their inventory management. Before AcuSport, Kunn was a Manufacturers Rep for Tucker & Associates, where he was named VISTA Rep of the year. He holds a B.S. in Economics from Montana State University in Bozeman.
Alex is a Denver native and partner at the creative ad agency Elevate Advertising. After completing his degree in business, he spent two years working in Istanbul, Turkey with cross-cultural teams and teaching English. From working with a software technology company in Boston to helping new startups in Denver, Alex is passionate about helping identify obstacles and providing pathways to growth in people and organizations. Alex lives in Denver with his wife, Amy, and Goldendoodle Tatli.Register Today!
Stuart Mullen has an extensive background in city planning and land development, including reviews, recommendations, negotiations and enforcement of zoning standards for new development and redevelopment requests. In 2001, he took that experience and began working in commercial real estate, focusing on buyers and tenants of free-standing retail establishments, grocery-anchored shopping centers, industrial properties and land.
Today, with years of project management, fee development, brokerage and zoning consultation experience under his belt, Mullen applies his expertise to the birth of new brands through the process of establishing commercial firearms shooting facilities. That work includes assembling and directing teams of professionals whose proficiencies satisfy the complex requirements necessary to secure range real estate, as well as provide design, build and operational consultation. He has worked with facilities encompassing 10,000 to 40,000-plus square feet and which include retail, training and educational components and other services designed to provide unique customer experiences. His uniquely comprehensive approach has resulted in a number of highly regarded next-generation range facilities, including Mission Ridge Range and Academy, Frontier Justice and Saddle River Range and Academy.
Bill Napier, LPC, has more than 30 years’ experience in retail loss prevention across the spectrum of small and growing retail chains to Fortune 500 companies. He has worked for two decades in municipal law enforcement and more than 18 years in the retail outdoor arena with responsibility for ATF compliance and firearms related investigations. As a member of NSSF’s Compliance and Security Consultant Teams, he is a frequent speaker at NSSF’s annual SHOT University, and he frequently presents for the National Retail Federation (NRF), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), Retail Technology (RETECH), ASIS International and The Loss Prevention Foundation. He has authored numerous articles on topics such as emerging security technology, return fraud, physical security and leadership, and he sits on the board of directors for The Loss Prevention Foundation and is Loss Prevention Certified (LPC). Additionally, Napier serves on the ASIS Retail Loss Prevention Council as a member of its Critical Infrastructure Working Group, as well as The Loss Prevention Research Council at University of Florida where he’s a member of its Violent Crime Working Group.
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 with 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 (SBA). As the former Vice President of Pharmacy Transition and Investment Strategy for the Retail Independent segment of a Fortune 20 drug distributor, he has worked 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. A principal in a community pharmacy in Louisiana. Neil frequently administers ACPA (Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education) courses on pharmacy valuation, assessment, operation, structure and financing. He is frequently published in pharmacy periodicals and provides expert testimony on the valuation, transition and soundness of community pharmacies.
Born and educated in Ireland, David O’Meara moved to the United States in 1990 and began working for Detroit Armor Corp. in 1991 performing range service and equipment installations.
Since then, O’Meara’s time in the firearms industry has been spent in a variety of capacities, including a senior level management position at Meggitt Training Systems, which specializes in virtual and life-fire firearms training systems. In 2013 he joined Law Enforcement Targets as General Manager, and today he serves as the Operations Manager at TI Training, a leading manufacturer of force firearms training simulators for law enforcement officers, located in Golden, Colorado. In addition, O’Meara is a long-time contributor to NSSF’s work with its range members, frequently appearing as a guest speaker in range development seminars.
John I. Paulk, Jr.
John Paulk has honed a robust reputation in the specialty insurance program space since 1988 through his success in identifying underserved markets and crafting commercial insurance solutions. He has been granted underwriting authority by multiple companies in order to secure coverage for limits of up to $200MM and has built more than 15 programs written in all 50 states. He has been tribunalized by Syndicates at Lloyds and has served on the Board of Target Markets. In 2009, Paulk started Great Southern Agency, an independent retail commercial lines-focused retail agency. An avid outdoorsman and firearms collector, in 2014 he put that passion and his business expertise to work when he opened Shot Spot, LLC, a state-of-the-art firearms retail facility and range operation in Carrollton, Georgia, that received NSSF’s prestigious Five-Star rating for range excellence in 2018.
Kim Shugart’s 30-plus-year career in marketing and communications has encompassed brand development, general advertising, direct marketing and online communications for many prestigious national brands. He was a founding partner of Shugart Matson Marketing Communications and also a founder of the internet services firm Clear Ink. Following a merger between those two companies, Shugart served as President and CEO of the new Clear Ink Corporation. Through his efforts, Shugart Matson/Clear Ink grew from a modest firm of four partners to a significant player in the San Francisco advertising, marketing, communications and online marketing communities, boasting over $150 million in billings and more than 160 employees.
During his career, Shugart has worked with a number of well-known brands, including AT&T, Wells Fargo, Oracle, Jelly Belly, Pacific Bell/SBC, PeopleSoft, Salesforce.com, Oral-B, Roche and Hexcel. He retired from Clear Ink in 2002, and today he serves as CEO of WickedThink, where he provides strategic and creative direction to companies that include Autoweb, Magnum Shooting Center, Wildwood Casino, Southern Concepts Restaurant Group, Rocky Mountain Men's Clinic, SYNQ3, Colorado Trading & Clothing Company and Challenger Homes, among others.
Jared Sloane is a founding member of the Shoot Smart team and serves as Operations Director for the three-store chain of Shoot Smart ranges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Shoot Smart has been awarded Shot Business Magazine's Range of the Year and the Fort Worth Chamber's Small Business of the Year. 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. Since 2015, he's been a member of the NSSF Range Advisory Council, and he holds a B.S. in Public Policy from Indiana University Bloomington and an MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, 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 operations.
Rob Southwick founded Southwick Associates in 1990. Southwick Associates provides the outdoor and shooting sports industry with market analyses and assessments to help businesses understand where they stand and how to grow. Working closely with the NSSF and its member companies, Southwick Associates has employed a new, unique approach to profiling firearms consumers in a way that helps the shooting sports industry improve product offerings, communications and, ultimately, sales. Based in Fernandina Beach, Florida, the firm boasts a staff of 12 highly educated, qualified and experienced statistical experts, all of whom are dedicated to helping the shooting sports industry develop a strong future.Register Today!
Bryan “B.A.” Stear is the founder of Shoot Indoors, a popular indoor shooting range franchise in the suburbs of Denver. 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 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.
A Managing Partner with Point of Impact Firearms Range & Retail Consulting, along with his partner, Hank Yacek, Doug VanderWoude advises range and retail operators on how to maximize their business spaces and adopt industry best practices for higher profits. His background includes founding and operating a successful firearm range and retail store and working as a consultant with more than 400 ranges He’s also partnered with several firearms manufactures to launch a variety of nationwide promotional programs to drive consumers to ranges and retailers. VanderWoude is a popular speaker at NRA Range Development Conferences, a presenter of multiple SHOT University classes and a member of NSSF’s Range Advisory Council.Register Today!
The third generation of her family to work in the firearms industry, Jeanelle Westrom is the owner of Davenport Guns & Shooting Club, a full-service firearms range, training and retail facility in Davenport, Iowa. She’s been involved in the firearms industry since childhood, working at gun shows with her parents early on. In the late 1990s she began shooting competitively, taking part in Bianchi Cup, ICORE, IPSC, PPC and Service Rifle, the latter of which included competitions at the prestigious Camp Perry. She is a certified instructor and has trained both rifle and pistol shooters.
Prior to opening her shooting facility, Westrom managed the ArmaLite store at Camp Perry, working with military and junior teams. In January 2016, she was selected to represent her home state of Iowa to join a group of dedicated female shooters who headed to Washington, D.C., to speak to legislators about the changing face of today’s shooter and the growing market for women shooters in what became known as the “DC Project.” Later that year, Westrom joined NSSF’s Range Advisory Council, and in 2018 she was elected to NSSF’s Board of Governors.
Hank Yacek has nearly 30 years of firearms industry expertise. His career has included a number of roles, ranging from sales, management and owning his own retail establishment to his current work partnering in an industry consulting firm. He began his career in 1998 in a local shop in Connecticut, and eventually owned his own store in Lexington, Kentucky. Yacek then graduated from the retail side of the industry and put his expertise to work as director of retail development for a large firearms distributor. More recently, with partner Doug VanderWoude, he founded Point of Impact Firearms Range & Retail Consulting, a firm dedicated to working with industry partners to promote growth and success at all levels.