NSSF Names Schilling Director of Exhibitions & Conferences

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®) has announced that Melissa Schilling has been promoted to the position of Director, Exhibitions & Conferences. Schilling’s most recent position with the organization has been Director, Recruitment & Retention, a title she’s held since 2012.

Schilling brings a wealth of talent to this new position, which includes development and organization of NSSF’s many conferences and shows, including its annual Industry Summit, Congressional Fly-In and the SHOT Show, one of the country’s largest trade exhibitions, attended annually by more than 65,000 firearms industry professionals from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

“Melissa has risen steadily over the course of her career with NSSF,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “She has a proven track record of managing for results and is well respected by everyone she works with. Melissa has a remarkable ability to build and maintain strong professional relationships and I’m confident that she will be very successful as our Director of Exhibitions & Conferences.”

Schilling began her career with NSSF in 2003, first working in public relations before progressing to her position in Recruitment & Retention, where she worked closely with the American conservation community of fish and wildlife agency professionals and hunter education instructors. Highlights of her tenure with NSSF have included managing the organization’s Range Partnership and Hunting Heritage Partnership grant programs and the very successful, national STEP OUTSIDE program, as well as the Families Afield and Explore Wingshooting initiatives, which encourage mentoring and increased participation afield by hunters. Schilling also oversaw NSSF’s flagship firearms introductory program, First Shots.

“I am excited to take on the new challenges this promotion will offer,” said Schilling. “I’ve enjoyed more than a decade of service to the NSSF and the many, many people who ensure, year after year, that our industry sees continuous growth and participation in hunting and the shooting sports, and all with a level of unrivaled safety. It is with great anticipation and enthusiasm that I’ll continue to serve our industry as a whole, and NSSF’s members in particular, in this new role.”


About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 11,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, visit nssf.org.

Post-SHOT Show Press Release

Record-setting SHOT Show Signals Good Year
Ahead for Hunting and Shooting Industry

Media contact: Bill Brassard, 203-426-1320

LAS VEGAS — Back in 1979 before the first SHOT Show, organizers worried that industry professionals might not show up for the fledgling event, a story recounted in the just-released National Shooting Sports Foundation 50th Anniversary history publication. Organizers needn’t have worried then, or now, about the vitality of the SHOT Show.

The 2011 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show soared above expectations by setting records for buyer attendance at 31,769 and media attendance at 2,074.

Overall attendance of 57,390, comprising buyers, exhibitors, media and guests, ranked the show as the third largest ever behind the 2008 and 2010 events. In this sluggish economy, the SHOT Show demonstrates the resilience of one of America’s oldest industries and the popularity of its products.

“The importance of the SHOT Show to the firearms industry cannot be overestimated,” said Steve Sanetti, president and CEO of NSSF, which owns the trade show. “The SHOT Show is simply the must-attend business event for all segments of our industry. Based on what we’re hearing, industry has every reason to think that 2011 shows promise of being another strong year.”

Filling the Sands Expo and Convention Center to capacity with 1,600 exhibiting companies covering 660,000 net square feet with their booths, SHOT Show brings together all facets of the $4 billion industry. Many companies use SHOT Show, the largest trade show of its kind in the world, to announce new products and services. Buyers and media members are able to handle and discuss products that include firearms, ammunition, outdoor and tactical clothing, optics, knives, related accessories and law enforcement equipment.

A number of changes were made to exhibition halls to make navigating the huge show easier, including widened aisles, better signage and a new escalator. Those changes received widespread positive responses. “There was much better traffic flow,” said exhibitor George Trulock, whose choke tube company booth was set up on the lower floor. “The changes that were made worked.”

Comments from exhibitors and buyers confirmed that the 33rd SHOT Show was a success.

Bob Morrison, president and CEO of Taurus, captured the mood with his comments in a local television interview: “We are having terrific growth right in the middle of this recession, and I’m delighted to be in this business.”

Other industry professionals were just as upbeat about both the show and their prospects for the year.

Lea L. Ramthun of Beretta said, “Busy is the word. Dealers are excited about our new products. We’ve seen a lot of smiling, happy faces.”

Paul Pluff of Smith & Wesson said, “The show has been an extremely positive event, very busy—almost busier than I have ever seen it. We anticipate a great year due to a very successful SHOT Show.”

Samuel Glen of Weather Stone Ltd. said, “I’m the guy who puts the guns in the movie stars’ hands. I have to see what’s new, and this SHOT Show has been really great for that. Everything has been really smooth and set up so that it has been easy to get my work done.”

Laurie Aronson, president and CEO of Lipsey’s, a distributor, said, “Lipsey’s is going full speed at this show. We’ve heard nothing but positive comments from retailers who are telling us they are busy.”

Randall Pence, of Sturm, Ruger, said, “Traffic in our booth has been super. Our Scout rifle has been of big interest, and our LC9 pistol has been the hit of our booth. We’re sensing a very positive attitude from everyone.”

Chris Schwarzkopf of ArmaLite Inc., said, “New products are the retailers’ main focus. We’ve seen a lot more traffic in our booth than we expected, and we added some excitement in our booth with a simulator made by Cubic.”

Blake Mecham of Browning said, “Foot traffic is up, attendance is great, we’ve had good buzz about our products and our 1911-22 was the hit of the show for us. This SHOT Show has put us in a good position for the year.”

Retailers like Ron Mengel of San Juan Shooting Range in Montrose, Colo., say that attending the SHOT Show is a must. “I come to the show to stay current, to see people in industry and to get ideas about new ways to retail. We live in an out-of-the-way area, so finding these quality products can be a challenge.” Internet-based retailer John Riddle of Outdoor Elements added, “Companies are really evolving and thinking outside the box, which is tremendous to keep the sport going. It’s enjoyable to see the innovations that are out there.”

More than 100 countries were represented at the show. Steve Collings of New Zealand-based Steve’s Wholesale said, “We import a lot of ammunition and gunpowder, so it’s very important to come and talk to my suppliers, to find new products, to get updates, to get a heads up on a change in metal prices. It’s absolutely essential to be here.”

Retailers do more than purchase products for their stores at the show. They improve their business skills at SHOT Show University, which was sold out, and at seminars where representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives review regulations that apply to federally licensed retailers. For the second year, law enforcement professionals were provided with their own series of educational seminars.

With media at an all-time high, a larger press room, including a new working press area, was widely praised. Media also turned out in force at Media Day prior to the show, where they could test new models of firearms and other products.

Highlights from the show included . . .

Some 2,000 industry guests attended the NSSF State of the Industry Dinner sponsored by the Outdoor Channel at which NSSF reviewed its accomplishments over the past year. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy provided entertainment.

NSSF announced its 50th anniversary celebration and publication of “The National Shooting Sports Foundation: A History 1961 to 2011, 50 Years of Promoting, Protecting and Preserving Hunting and the Shooting Sports by NSSF, the Firearms Industry’s Trade Association.” An accompanying film, which will soon be available online, was shown at the NSSF State of the Industry Dinner.

Doug Painter, NSSF’s longest-serving employee and former president and CEO, who will retire this spring after 37 years with the Foundation, was honored for his service to the industry and the organization.

Bob Behn, 41-year industry veteran and former Marlin president and CEO, was presented the NSSF-Ken Sedlecky Achievement Award.

Michael Bane, television host, blogger and author, received the Professional Outdoor Media Association-NSSF Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award.

The NSSF Retailer of the Year Award was given to Sportsman’s Warehouse in Rocklin, California.

The 2012 edition of the SHOT Show will be January 17-20 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

For coverage of the show visit www.shotshow.org.

Pre-SHOT Show Press Release

33rd SHOT Show Will Showcase Best in
Shooting, Hunting and Law Enforcement Products

LAS VEGAS — Having weathered the recession better than many, firearms industry professionals are looking forward to the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, where they’ll get a first look at the new products and services they hope will excite their customers in 2011.

While the U.S. economy was mired in recession, sales of firearms and ammunition climbed to record-high levels from late 2008 through early 2010. Since then, sales have remained generally robust. What lies ahead for this $4 billion industry? “We certainly hope to continue bucking the sluggish economy,” said President and CEO Steve Sanetti of NSSF, the industry’s trade association and owner of the SHOT Show. “People have shown their enthusiasm for shooting and hunting and are still buying at near-record level purchases. Our sports are as popular as ever; USA Today even called hunting ‘recession proof.’ The buying activity at the SHOT Show will give us a first look as to how the industry will fare in the coming year.”

More than 50,000 industry professionals will attend the SHOT Show at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas January 18 to 21. On display will be the latest in firearms, ammunition, outdoor clothing, cutlery, optics, law enforcement equipment and related products and services. The largest trade show of its kind in the world, the SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

The Sands was stretched to capacity by the 2010 SHOT Show, one of the largest events the venue ever accommodated. In response, NSSF encouraged the facility’s management to make improvements. “A number of creature-comfort enhancements such as a new escalator system, widened aisles, added seating and better signage have been added,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We listened to the feedback of our attendees after the last show and made as many improvements as possible. As a result, we anticipate a great event.”

NSSF will present its State of the Industry Dinner on the first evening of the show, where the Foundation will kick off its 50th anniversary celebration and present its achievement award to a most-deserving recipient.

At the SHOT Show, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, publishers and wildlife conservation groups gather to conduct business, exchange ideas, renew contacts and reaffirm the unity that has been the hallmark of the shooting sports industry in these challenging times.

For retailers, the SHOT Show provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to gain a hands-on education about the products they’ll be discussing with their sportsmen customers. New products seen at the SHOT Show will arrive later in the year at retail stores.

Manufacturers and distributors display a broad range of products in categories including firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, tactical, reloading, custom manufacturing, scopes and sights, gun locks, gun cases and cabinets, binoculars and rangefinders, shooting range equipment, targets, training and safety equipment, archery, hunting accessories, hearing and eye protection, tree stands, scents and lures, cutlery and sharpeners, GPS systems, holsters, apparel, leather goods, game calls, decoys and more.

Outdoor media turn out in force at the SHOT Show–more than 1,700 are expected–to cover the introduction of products and to report on stories associated with the firearms and outdoor industry. This year’s show features a larger, redesigned press room to accommodate the growing number of outdoor and mainstream media who attend the show.

With practically all segments of industry in attendance, the SHOT Show provides a perfect setting for organizational and educational meetings. On the day before the show opens, retailers take advantage of SHOT Show University to learn from experts about new marketing strategies, e-commerce, store financials and compliance with federal regulations. Additional seminars for retailers run during the show and feature presenters from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Additional seminars are tailored for law enforcement attendees.

Industry professionals who cannot attend the show but want to keep track of all that is happening at SHOT can do so at www.shotshow.org.

Media contact: Bill Brassard, National Shooting Sports Foundation