Judging Panel Announced for Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards
Outdoor Retailer introduced the judging panel for the fifth annual Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards this week. This independent panel of industry leaders and product design experts determines both the finalists and winners of the annual awards which showcase the latest innovations in outdoor product development and design. The winners will be unveiled during a live ceremony on the first night of Outdoor Retailer Snow Show, Tuesday, January 10, 2023, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the deadline to enter a product or retail service into this year’s awards is November 2, 2022.
“We always look forward to the Innovation Awards and this big celebration of progress and original ideas from across our industry,” said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer senior vice president and show director. “The judging panel is comprised of industry leaders and outdoor enthusiast themselves, and we’re grateful for their support. Each brings unique knowledge and expertise as they assess the year’s most innovative products that are solving problems, providing more sustainable solutions, attracting new customers, and helping improve the outdoor experience. The result of their work will be seen this January at Snow Show, and we’re immensely excited have L. Renee Blount return as host to lead us through the ceremony and announce the winners live.”
The judging panel includes both returning and new members who hold a broad range of experience in design, research, strategy, product development, field testing, and industry leadership. They will evaluate all submissions based on four criteria – Spark, Design, Function, and Impact – looking at the product from concept to overall innovation.
The judging panel:
- David Assad – director of the ICELab at Western Colorado University
- Richard Bangs – adventure travel pioneer, co-founder and chief adventure officer for Steller
- Joe Croft – Stanford Product Design grad, former Oakley program manager, founder of GUNNAR Optiks, Ju-Ju-Be and HyperDrive International
- Andrew Deceuster – associate professor in the Outdoor Product Design and Development program at Utah State University
- Tracy Gray – founder/managing partner of The 22 Fund; board director for Applife Digital Solutions, Inc; former executive in residence at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator; Founder of We Are Enough; formerly systems engineer on the Space Shuttle program
- Larry Harrison – an outdoor industry leader, and advocate for over 50 years now consults on sales issues confronting the community; co-founder of both the Outdoor Retailer Innovation and Inspiration Awards
- Gloria Hwang – founder and CEO at Thousand
- Rachel S. Gross – assistant professor of history at the University of Colorado Denver, author, and outdoor industry historian
- Gayatri Keskar – VP of Research at Material ConneXion
- Yvonne Lin – designer and founder of 4B Collective and the Femme Den
- Cameron Martindell – adventure correspondent, gear editor, and outreach manager at Neptune Mountaineering
- Cass Morgan – associate professor for Outdoor and Community Recreation Education at Weber State University
- Susan Sokolowski – founding director of the Sports Product Design Graduate Program and professor at the University of Oregon
Returning as host for this year’s Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards Ceremony is Harvard-trained designer, photographer, and climber L. Renee Blount. Working simultaneously in innovation, brand consulting, and storytelling, Blount is helping make the outdoors more accessible through joy.
Blount will announce the year’s winners live at the ceremony on the first night of Snow Show, January 10, 2023. The ceremony will be held in the Salt Lake Ballroom in the new Hyatt Regency Salt Lake located adjacent to the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 6:30 pm. The ceremony is open to all Outdoor Retailer attendees.
The annual Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards recognize the latest achievements in outdoor and winter sports products, materials, and retail programs. Entry categories cover the full gamut of outdoor products from all seasons and include outdoor specialty retail operations and support services: Accessories, Apparel, Backpacks / Bags / Luggage, Books / Electronic Applications / Electronics, Camping, Climbing, Consumables, Cycling, Footwear, Materials, Retail, Sleeping, Support Services, Water Sports, and Winter Sports. Complete rules and the entry form are available online at outdoorretailer.com/innovationawards. All finalist product and services will also be on display in the Innovation Gallery throughout Snow Show.
Outdoor Retailer Snow Show runs January 10-12, 2023, at the Salt Palace Convention Center – registration and housing are open. For information on sponsorship opportunities around the Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards and Innovation Gallery, as well as to exhibit at the show, contact an Outdoor Retailer account executive.
Outdoor Retailer, the largest U.S. business event for the outdoor industry, brings together retailers, manufacturers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of outdoor recreation, publications, product demo events, media events, and web-based business solutions. Outdoor Retailer shows provide platforms for critical face-to-face business initiatives, line previews, innovations, product launches, networking, and retailer education. Visit outdoorretailer.com for more information.
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