Outdoor NRG is an initiative supported by the Beckley Area Foundation and Central Appalachian Network.
Recognizing West Virginia’s rich outdoor assets, adequate development potential, and strong existing leadership workforce in the New River Gorge region, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) secured funding to launch Outdoor NRG. The outdoor industry in West Virginia is an untapped, under utilized path for regional growth, population attraction, and sustainable economic development. Outdoor NRG will serve as a catalyst for other regional partners interested in developing within the outdoor gear industry.
Outdoor NRG will convene interested individuals to collectively build a network and environment that attracts, fosters, and prioritizes entities manufacturing goods that serve adventure sports and the outdoor industry. By gathering data and crafting a message drawing interest and regional marketing potential, Outdoor NRG strives to retain and grow a unique, healthy population of industry businesses complimentary to the outdoor industry, creating jobs, a stable workforce, and a growing regional population.
In March 2019, NRGRDA contracted Noah Wilson, Emergent Opportunities to serve as a facilitator for Outdoor NRG. Noah‘s work with the Outdoor Gear Builders in Asheville, NC is impressive, ongoing, and impactful. Moving forward, Noah and Outdoor NRG will host a series of convenings to bring together individuals across the outdoor gear industry. Throughout these convenings, Noah will gather themes, goals, and next steps to develop a strategy for growing the outdoor industry in the New River Gorge Region.
Outdoor NRG seeks to bring together Outdoor Vendors/Retailers, Outdoor Enthusiasts, Experienced Outdoor guides, Outdoor Manufacturing Companies, Related Business/Industry Leaders, Land Managers, Start-Ups/Entrepreneurs, Economic Development Leaders, Capital Providers/Funders, Outdoor Business and Innovation Support, and others wishing to grow the outdoor gear industry in the region.
The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority also works closely with regional workforce programs to strengthen and grow the workforce within the New River Gorge region. Part of this work includes efforts to increase the health and wellness of all residents through a partnership with Active Southern West Virginia. Another includes addressing regional issues associated with systemic youth poverty. We also assist by facilitating conversations between multiple partners to align education, employers, workforce development agencies, and potential employers.