A year ago, headlines hailed a merger between preeminent defense/aerospace firms Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and Orbital Sciences Inc., resulting in a corporate giant accounting for $4.5 billion in annual sales. Almost a side note was a resulting spinoff of some 30 outdoor brands that formerly comprised the ATK Sporting Group—favorites like Federal Premium Ammunition, Savage Arms, Bushnell, Blackhawk!, Primos, RCBS, Outers, Gold Tip Arrows and Champion Target—into a new independent company named Vista Outdoor.
Vista would be led by Mark DeYoung, the former ATK CEO who engineered the big merger, but then preferred to stake his future on building what immediately rated as the largest company in the outdoor-products marketplace. It represented a return for DeYoung, formerly president of Federal Cartridge Company, and in many ways marked a homecoming for the devoted family man who is a proud shooter, hunter and outdoorsman. Though Vista’s holdings extended to a broad range of outdoor gear, DeYoung was warmly welcomed back in the shooting/hunting industry.
At that time, DeYoung told us, “For me, it’s a rare occasion when you can marry your passion with your career. The launch of Vista Outdoor gives me the exciting opportunity to do just that.”
He also wanted to make the new company’s direction perfectly clear, stating, “Although we will be diverse, we want NRA members to know we remain very committed and dedicated to the shooting sports. In no way will this diminish nor deplete our focus on shooting sports, hunting and supporting the Second Amendment.”
Recently, DeYoung sat down with NRA Publications to review Vista’s first year in business. We learned that it’s been profitable for shareholders and that two new brands, Camelbak and Jimmy Styks paddle boards, were acquired by the company. Equally promising for shooters was the development of top-notch new products like the Savage A17, which earned a Golden Bullseye Award from NRA’s American Hunter as its 2016 Rifle of the Year. Watch the video above to see the full interview.