September 24, 2010
Board of Directors Election
By Jim Bequette
George K. Kollitides
At no time in recent history has the upcoming election of National Rifle Association board members reached such a critical juncture. The threats of additional firearms restrictions and firearms ownership legislation against law-abiding gun owners and the shooting sports industry in general are very apparent — and real.
Leadership within the NRA and its board of directors is always important and a key ingredient to the success of its board To say it is absolutely critical at this point in time is an understatement, and while there are quality candidates running, few have the support, qualifications, and experience of George K. Kollitides.
Nominated by the NRA Nominating Committee, George is an NRA Benefactor Member, serves on the NRA Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Committee and is the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA) Director of Industry Relations.
George is a sportsman who is a member of the board of directors for the Freedom Group, which has acquired Remington, Bushmaster, Marlin, H&R/New England Firearms (NEF), and DPMS. If you haven't perused those respective companies catalogs lately, the types of firearms they manufacture and offer to consumers ranges from basic single-shot rimfire rifles and shotguns for beginners to wood-stocked bolt-action and lever-action centerfire rifles for big-game hunting use to shotguns for upland and waterfowl hunters and and clay bird shooters to synthetic-stocked semiautomatic AR-style platform rifles for hunting and competitive shooting. And as most NRA members know, Remington also represents one of the largest rimfire and centerfire ammunition companies in the world.
In a recent interview with John Zent, editorial director for NRA Publications, George was asked about what role should the Freedom Group and the shooting sports industry play in supporting hunting and shooting traditions and in protecting our firearms rights:"Our job is to build the best products possible, provide good manufacturing jobs for Americans and represent our investors' best interests. If our efforts succeed in growing our user groups, shooters, hunters, the military and law enforcement, they will have a much louder voice in public policy. The key for us is to strengthen our industry and strengthen our users, customers, and partners. Doing that by making relevant, quality product, along with education and access, we think, is the right way to go about it, and so we are working with state and local governments, not-for-profit hunting and shooting organizations, and, of course, the NRA."
George is a Life Member of Safari Club International (SCI), the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA), California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA), Amateur Trap Shooting Association (ATA), Boone & Crockett Associate, Houston Safari Club, National Rifle Association (NRA). He is also a member of the Remington Collector's Association, Association for Firearms Education, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the U.S. Sportsman's Alliance.
I've been involved in the shooting sports industry for almost 35 years. Over those three-plus decades I've worked with firearms and ammunition company presidents and have been fortunate enough to have met and dealt with leaders of the NRA, dating back to former NRA executive vice president Harlan Carter through president Charlton Heston...and from James Jay Baker, who headed up the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) to his current successor, Chris Cox.
The sage advice of my grandfather, who was a gun owner and hunter starting in the late 1800s, was that you size up a man in part by the company he keeps and who he counts among his friends. People I know and respect for their passion and dedication to the shooting sports, like Doug Painter, NSSF Senior Adviser and former NSSF President, Bob Behn, recently retired president of Marlin Firearms Co., Mark Schaefer, marketing brand manager, Bushnell optics, and Thanos Polyzos, CEO of Para USA, offer a glimpse of some of the company George keeps — and only a sampling of people who wholeheartedly endorse George Kollitides for the NRA Board of Directors. Painter summed it up best when he called out George for "...his personal passion for our sporting traditions and his professional commitment to help build upon these traditions and support our firearms freedoms... ."
These people collectively know what it takes to represent the NRA and the freedoms and rights it protects. George Kollitides is a person who is engaged in the shooting sports industry on a daily basis and lives in our world of hunting and shooting. I've never before endorsed a candidate for NRA Board, but having done my homework and talked to a long list of people who know George and understand his passion for protecting gun owners' rights, please join me in supporting George K. Kollitides for NRA Board of Directors.