Outdoor Industry Association

Inspiration Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the OIA Outdoor Inspiration Awards presented by adidas Outdoor.


  • PERSON: Bill Sweasey, CEO, Red Wing Shoe Company, an avid skier and mountaineer, was awarded the individual award for his long time involvement in outdoor advocacy and with the Red Wing Environmental Learning Center (RW-ELC), a non-profit organization started by his father in 1970. RW-ELC’s major premise is to provide opportunities for young people to develop an appreciation for the environment and outdoor recreation.
  • GROUP: The Sierra Club.  Mission Outdoors Volunteers represent over 6,000 individuals that donate their time encouraging Americans to go outdoors. Since the club’s first local outing in 1901, volunteers have shared their love of nature, outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship with countless participants.
  • GROUP: Soldiers to Summits (S2S) is a powerful program that uses mountain climbing to help injured veterans recover from the wounds of war. In S2S, mountains serve as both metaphor and training ground for stretching goals, building world-class teams, innovating through adversity and stepping up to lead and serve others.
  • COMPANY: Outdoor Afro reconnects African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, birding fishing, gardening, and skiing. The organization uses social media to create interest and to partner with regional and national organizations that support diverse participation in the great outdoors.


  • PERSON: Erik Weihenmayer became an accomplished mountain climber, paraglider and skier, despite losing his vision at the age of 13 with the belief that, disabled or not, you should always live your life as if there are no limits.  Alongside Erik as finalists in the People category are Marilyn Price, Founding Director, Trips for Kids and Rebecca Cohen, Author of 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to get out of the House and Connect with your Kids.
  • GROUP: National Outdoor Leadership School is a non-profit group that has educated more than 200,000 students in wilderness skills and leadership, operating on the firm belief that positive, ethical leaders change the world.  Paradox Sports, an organization that helps the physically disabled to participate in human-powered outdoor sports, and Skirt Sport’s Kick Start Personal Motivator program, which pairs women with barriers to fitness with female mentors to help them train for their first 5K race, were also named finalists in the Group category out of a highly competitive field of nominations.
  • COMPANY: Since it first opened as a small rafting company on the banks of the Nantahala River, Nantahala Outdoor Center has worked to inspire and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to get outside, be active, and improve their lifestyles by enjoying the outdoors.  Additional finalists, selected from dozens of nominations in the category, included Boardworks, a company that strives to make stand-up paddle more fun for more people, and Nevado Mountain Adventures, which offers consumers the opportunity to try new ski gear on their own terms at special demos at the nation’s resorts.
  • COMPANY: The North Face pushes the boundaries of innovation and design so that outdoor enthusiasts can push the boundaries of exploration, all while committing itself to protecting and preserving outdoor playgrounds and engaging communities in outdoor efforts.  KEEN, recognized for their light-hearted “Recess is Back” campaign, and Merrell, with their welcome encouragement of outdoor adventures, were also named finalists in this category.


  • PERSON:  Martin Fox with Center for Global Leadership, is considered to be one of the best leadership educators in the country, weaving the outdoors into a diverse curriculum that focuses on making a difference in the world. 
  • GROUP:  First Descents is a non-profit group dedicated to giving young cancer survivors a taste of outdoor adventure that helps them look beyond what their bodies are doing to them.
  • COMPANY:  Mountain Mama provides maternity clothing for outdoor recreation and was born from the belief that women who are pregnant or new mothers want to remain active in the outdoor pursuits that they love and want to foster in their children.
  • COMPANY:  REI has built a successful business engaging consumers in the outdoors who, in turn, reinvest again and again working with REI team members all across the country to gear-up, get advice, experience new adventures, and even travel around the world with REI Adventures.





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