Annie Foster is well-known for her knowledge in the firearm industry so we caught up with her to find out what she is currently working on. While we were at it we also wanted to ask her advice for other women who may want to get into the industry.
Nancy Keaton: Tell us about your background. How long have you been shooting/involved with firearms? How did you get involved?
Annie Foster: I started at Warne Scope Mounts in 2008, my primary focus was implementing Lean Manufacturing techniques (less waste so more value for the customer). Prior to Warne’s sale in 2013 I was transferred to Warne’s sister company Bold Ideas to assist with the Colt Competition Rifle program. In this role I was responsible for procurement and manufacturing procedures. In 2012 I had the opportunity to attend SHOT Show. During that show I was able to establish new marketing and communication contacts for Bold Ideas which lead to my position as Marketing Manager for Bold Ideas/Colt Competition. During this period, I had the opportunity to shoot multiple nationally recognized 3 Gun events which included: MGM Iron Man, FNH USA, Superstition Mountain Mystery 3Gun, Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun, Rockcastle PRO/AM, Northwest Multigun and participated in multiple Industry Masters events. These opportunities provided me the ability to learn more about the platforms I was using and how they apply to everyday use.
NK: Tell us about your current job.
AF: Currently my job duties are successfully procuring components for the Colt Competition Rifle series of products and establishing Lean Manufacturing processes and procedures for all aspects of our business.
NK: How did you become involved in marketing?
AF: During my first year at SHOT Show I was interviewed by Andrew Touhy with Vuurwapen Blog that wrote an article, “The Most Impressive Young Women of SHOT” which included Amy Sowash, Lisa Looper and myself. It was then that I knew because of my unique understanding of our product, its genesis and its application to the competitive shooter that marketing is where my passion was.
NK: Why do you feel your work is important?
AF: Even though my primary focus isn’t in marketing right now, I know that what I am doing in the plant will make a difference in the quality of the products we are sending to our customers. Our customers are always my first priority.
NK: What has been your greatest joy as a woman in the industry?
AF: Having the ability to work with leadership who knew that the longevity and the success is more than just a “babe” behind a booth! Understanding the product, using the product, and having the ability to sell the product based on experience is far more important.
NK: What has been your greatest challenge?
AF: Proving myself! Thankfully it doesn’t take long. I am blessed that I am surrounded by people that are eager to learn and understand my knowledge of the industry and what our customers expect.
NK: Any big surprises? Things you really didn’t expect?
AF: I really didn’t expect to build a close relationship with so many great people in this industry. They really are my second family.
NK: What mistakes have you made and what did you learn from them (in this industry)?
AF: I have learned that no matter how hard you try to make everyone happy, you can’t. It takes one person at a time. Build their trust and you build all the trust. When you say you’re going to do something- DO IT!
NK: What accomplishment has made you the proudest?
AF: I was able to work for multiple different companies related to firearms because of my knowledge in this industry.
NK: What things concern you the most right now in the industry?
AF: Our 2A (Second Amendment) rights. That directly affects our industry.
NK: What would you like to see in the future, for yourself and for the industry?
AF: I would like to see myself running the Colt Competition plant. Not just the manufacturing side, but the marketing as well. I would love to see our industry take off and support our 2A supporters to be able to protect themselves like they should be able to.
NK: If a woman wanted to work in the industry, is there any specific thing she should do to prepare herself?
AF: First, prepare yourself. You will be questioned. Second, do your research. You will get the Billy Bob that wants to question you about twist rate, and ammo recommendations. Third, never think of yourself as not worthy. You are able to know and understand as much as any individual in the room. Lastly, hold your head high – we are the driving force of this industry. “If mama shoots, the whole family shoots!”
NK: What else do you want women to know about working in the business?
AF: Women, just like men, are able to do great things. Never underestimate yourself because you are a female. Study hard, and prove yourself when needed!