Devin Green, Marketing Manager for Colt’s Manufacturing Company, began like many women in the industry – with little experience. But that didn’t stop her. Let’s find out her path and what it could mean for you.
Nancy Keaton: Tell us about your background. How long have you been shooting or involved with firearms? How did you get involved?
Devin Green: I actually never was involved with firearms growing up. My family didn’t own them, they didn’t hunt or go to the range. I had my first experience with firearms after I graduated college and applied for my first job. The listing was for “Sales Assistant for a Manufacturing Company.” I was called for the interview at PTR-91 and they said, “We manufacture guns here, will that be ok with you?” and I was immediately intrigued. My first week I was walked through the fundamental NRA rules for safe gun handling and learned the ins and outs of the platform. My manager told me once I learned to break down and put back together the rifle that they would take me to the range. I practiced every day at lunch and by Friday I was out on the range. From there, I was HOOKED!
NK: Tell us about your current job as marketing manager for Colt.
DG: I was recruited to Colt after a year at PTR-91. I started in Sales helping mainly with the special orders: industry purchases, sponsorship requests, etc. As time went on I became more involved with the distributor side of the commercial business. My career plan was to always be in Marketing. In 2013 I moved into Marketing and in 2015 I was promoted to Marketing Manager. I focused on three main objectives: Driving Print & TV Advertising, Trade Show Management, and Sponsorship opportunities – including Team Colt and our Veteran Charity Partner, Folds of Honor.
NK: You mentioned you are in charge of sponsorship – can you tell us a little more about your Veteran Charity Partner?”
DG: As you can imagine, we receive many requests throughout the year for sponsorship. As of June 1st, 2015, Colt’s primary charity partner is Folds of Honor. Folds of Honor provides scholarships to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service. Colt proudly supports this veteran charity organization by donating proceeds from each firearm sold and joining them for various events throughout the year. By dedicating our sponsorship resources to this organization we have been able to help Folds of Honor support the families of fallen soldiers.
NK: What is it like to attend the NRA Show? What is the most interesting thing to have happened to you there?
DG: More than ten acres of firearms, shooting and hunting accessories = AMAZING! I run our trade shows so I don’t get to explore as much as I would like. We sponsored the NRA Country Jam concert this year along with Folds of Honor, Shooting USA & DoubleTap Ammunition. We were given the opportunity to show our new TV commercial and promote our partnership with Folds of Honor all while being filmed for Shooting USA! It was a great night for our team to celebrate the accomplishments we have made over the past year.
NK: What accomplishment has made you the most proud?
DG: Shot Show 2016 was a huge success for Colt. In November 2015 Colt hosted a Media Day at Gunsite [Academy] for our key media partners to have a sneak peek at the six new products Colt would be launching at Shot Show. From the content generated at that Media Day we produced a Colt Magalog, our new Colt Competition Pistol was on the cover of Guns & Ammo, and videos and reviews from our media partners at Shooting USA, Modern Shooter, and Guns & Gear were looping in the giant TV’s in the booth. Our Marketing Product Launch Plan had come together so beautifully and we also were able to announce that Colt had come through the financial restructuring successfully. All of the stars had aligned and we were BACK!
NK: What has been your greatest challenge? How do you handle “little lady” type of comments?
DG: “Pale, stale, and male” is the way that NSSF has described our industry – so being a woman AND a millennial in this industry was certainly the greatest challenge starting out. I think the best way to overcome it is to learn as much as you can about the products and the industry. Once they see that you have a deep understanding and you are eager to learn – the impression of “little lady” goes away. I am lucky enough to have an amazing team at Colt that has supported me from day one. They have guided me through my professional career and are always ready to help or answer questions.
NK: What has been your greatest joy as a woman in the industry?
DG: I recently attended the NSSF Industry Summit in Pittsburg, PA. When we travel to different events we make a point to visit our local Colt stocking dealers in the area. All of the gun stores we visited this trip said the same thing: Women are becoming our number one customer group, we are hosting classes or providing local resources for training, and we are hiring women to work behind our counters to help other women in the buying process. After years and years of always being the only woman in the gun store, always being ignored, assuming I was just there with a significant other, and not having local women-only training available – it was finally a reality that women are making a difference in this industry and the gun stores are paying attention!
NK: What would you like to see in the future for yourself?
DG: “Passion is the difference between finding a job and having a career.” I hope to have my entire career at Colt. I am incredibly loyal to my team and our brand. Not many people have the opportunity to work for a 177 year-old company and be a part of the great changes we are going through. It’s truly my dream job and an honor to be a part of reinventing the Colt brand.
NK: How did you learn about and connect with A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League?
DG: I was lucky enough to meet Julianna Crowder, Founder of AG & AG – We immediately hit it off and were able to bounce ideas off of each other for upcoming events and products. We have a local chapter as well in Newington, CT!
NK: We like to get advice from women in the industry so if a woman wanted to work in the firearm industry, is there any specific thing she should do to prepare herself?
DG: I think the best way to prepare would be to align yourself with other women in the industry through organizations like A Girl & A Gun, for example. You then have access to a wealth of knowledge and support from others who have worked in this industry for many years.
NK: What final thoughts or other advice would you like to give AG & AG members?
DG: Never stop learning. Like everything else in life there is always room to learn and grow. Keep training, asking questions and improving.