NRA Marketing Manager Son Nguyen opens Club University in Phoenix, Arizona on NRAblog The Barcelona Room at the Embassy Suites Airport Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona plays host to the first NRA Club University of 2011. After a welcome from Marketing Manager Son Nguyen, NRA Board Club & Association Chairman Herb Lanford stepped to the microphone with an offer.

"I'm going to be here all day," said Lanford. "If there's something you've always wanted to say or share with a Board Member of the National Rifle Association, here's your chance."

A few laughs and a round of applause later, Marketing Coordinator Melissa Betts told us that any businesses can become affiliated with the NRA.

"Most people don't realize that you don't need to be a gun club or shooting range to be part of the NRA's Business Alliance program," said Betts. "The FedEx shipping discounts, software discounts, credit card processing discounts, health insurance ... all of these discounts are available to any operation that supports the NRA.

"It's also important that you keep us updated on their status. People change jobs, elect new officers, and the individuals who were our point of contact move on. If we don't know there are changes then there could be trouble accessing your benefits, and that's the last thing we at the NRA want to see happen."

Sun Devil Stadium in Phoenix from a plane on the way to NRA's Club University Phoenix, Arizona - To the right you see the Sun Devil Stadium ... home to Arizona State University's football team. Settled in the midst of downtown Phoenix, Arizona, it's one of the several sites of interest that came into view as we landed late yesterday afternoon. We settled in, found the hotel, prepared our presentations, and are rearing to go.

Today we embark upon the first NRA Club University of 2011. Throughout the day we'll be discussing how ranges, clubs, and anyone involved in the shooting sports can increase membership, qualify for grants, build a better relationship with the media, make sure your outfit has the right insurance, and more.

We'll be here all day, so make sure to keep checking back. It might be tough as Kerrin promised to give us an update on her work at the Ohio Deer & Turkey Expo, Kyle reports live from the NRA Intercollegiate Pistol Championships in Ft. Benning, Georgia, and I share some of the highlights from Club University here in Phoenix. Needless to say, it's going to be a busy Saturday.

Sign up for NRA's Phoenix Club University now!

NRA's Club University in Phoenix, Arizona is only a few weeks away. Scheduled to start at 9am on March 19th at the Embassy Suites Phoenix-Airport hotel, Club University is a one–stop–shop for anyone looking to improve their shooting sports operation. What does that mean? It means we're here to help.

Is your club having trouble recruiting new members? Does your range carry the right insurance? What programs are you running and could there be more? When's the last time you applied for an NRA grant? What are you doing to improve community relations? Are you taking advantages of the discounts available to NRA affiliated clubs? These sound like questions that you need answered?

Then sign up now at Looking for a few more details before saying yes? Then contact NRA Clubs & Associations at (800) NRA-CLUB (672-2582) or today.

Tony Montanarella at SHOT Show on NRAblog Last year, NRA’s Field Operations Division held a Club University in Sacramento, California. Part of the crowd which filled our seminar that day was California Rifle and Pistol Association Vice President Tony Montanarella. And as fate would have it, he was also part of the crowd here at SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I am a police officer for the city of Anaheim,” said Montanarella.

“Don’t let him get away with that,” rang out his colleague Brian. “He’s our Sergeant.”

Part of the Sergeant’s duties include the inspection and procurement of firearms for the Department. And that was his ticket into the Show.

“SHOT is where you can find the most up to date technology for any Law Enforcement agency,” explained Montanarella. “And I’m not just talking about the guns. Protective vests, special detention devices, repelling gear, laser systems … they have it all here.”

With that, he motioned to Brian, vigorously shook my hand, and was soon lost in the crowds. After almost a year from our last meeting and he was gone. Just like last time — it’s always business with Montanarella.

NRAblog first met Gun for Hire CEO Anthony Colandro about eighteen months ago at Club University - Albany. There he told us about his hard-working staff, supportive community, and plans for the future. We didn't tell you about those plans then, but we certainly will now.

Gun for Hire has now added an East and South campus to their operation. The Bayonne facility (East) includes an eight port 25-yard indoor range. And as it is only minutes away from New York City, Colandro expects a good deal of out of town participants.

"There'll be plenty of traffic from across the Hudson," said Colandro. "We trust in the fact that anyone who gives our facility a try will enjoy a safe, friendly environment, fall in love with our instructors and come back for more."

Winslow (South) is an even larger operation. With five ranges of 25, 50, 100, and 300 yards for everything from hand guns to shotguns to center fire rifles, Colandro believes Winslow could serve as the crown jewel of his budding empire.

"South is the new flagship for Gun For Hire," Colandro explained. "A fabulous outdoor facility where families can take a crack at target shooting, archery, and teach their little ones the respect everyone should have for firearms."

A true supporter of the NRA, Colandro is a member of the NRA Business Alliance ("It provides great benefits to any merchant"), a certified NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, a NRA Benefactor Life Member, and a NRA Ring of Freedom Member. He takes pride in pointing out that all his instructors and range safety officers are also NRA certified and trained in the latest techniques.

"It truly is an American Success Story. We are thrilled at Gun For Hire to be expanding ... and owe a lot to the NRA training and Education Department for helping us reach this level."

Ever sit around wondering if your gun club could be going better? If there was only some way that you could attract more members, offer more programs, or qualify for an NRA grant that will pay to shore up the berm or buy new targets?

Then sign up for NRA's first Club University of 2011 now!

Scheduled to start bright and early at 9am on March 19th at the Embassy Suites Phoenix-Airport hotel, NRA Clubs & Associations has opened registration for the year's first NRA Club University. And if you Register online today, then they will take $5 dollars off the regular $40 registration fee.

Spend the day learning how to improve club operations, get discounts on shipping or credit card transactions, increase membership, and become a better part of the community. What could be better? It's a a unique one-day seminar where NRA Club University provides insight to marketing, grant application, and business planning. And best of all, it's open to anyone with an interest in the shooting sports.

"We hear a lot of attendees say that they probably should have come to Club U sooner," said Clubs & Associations Marketing Manager Son Nguyen. "There aren't many opportunities to learn the quick and simple lessons we provide in just one day. After applying what you learn at Club University, you'll be amazed at how your operation will change for the better."

Leaders from the Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association as well as industry experts will be joining staff from NRA Headquarters to share their know-how in a variety of different fields. Instead of spending weeks trying to gather all the information these highly qualified professionals have to share, come to the Embassy Suites Phoenix-Airport hotel on March 19 and learn it all in one day.

Sound like a good excuse to visit Arizona? Then sign up now at Need to ask a few more questions before saying yes? Then contact NRA Clubs & Associations at (800) NRA-CLUB (672-2582) or Son & his staff will be more than happy to convince you on their own.

Albuquerque, New Mexico - There was plenty to learn at Albuquerque’s Club University. Eric Whitescarver had the skinny on Range Services, Tom Shay shared his patented Marketing Techniques, and Claudia Olsen explained how to better incorporate NRA's Youth Programs with their operation.

Unfortunately, New Mexico was the last stop for Club University in 2010. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be making an appearance in town near you. You can’t afford to miss out on all that Club University has to offer. So keep checking back on NRAblog for the latest on Club U or visit – the 2011 schedule should be out soon.

Marketing expert Tom Shay at Club University in Albuquerque on NRAblog Albuquerque, New Mexico - With Club University's regular marketing guru Ron Ronsenberg on assignment, Son took the opportunity to introduce Club U Albuquerque to Tom Shay. Shay, who earned his marketing stripes while running three separate family businesses at once, started things off with one of his favorite sayings.

"A man who holds a cat by the tail knows a lot more about holding a cat by the tail than a guy who's read about holding a cat by the tail." Essentially, you learn a lot more by doing than you do by learning.

Through his time running the family shops, and consulting for other operations, Shay says there's one thing that translates to any business.

"People have patterns," Shay says. "They use the same criteria choosing a gun club that they do choosing church, a grocery store, or the place they call home. If you recognize and address those patterns, you can use that to increase your membership and profile in no time."

It all comes down to seven key traits that the average business owner can use. But to find out what they are, you'll have to visit his website or come to the next Club U.

Dave Bennett opens Club University in Albuquerque on NRAblogAlbuquerque, New Mexico - Folks at Club University Albuquerque were doubly blessed this morning with a welcome from two members from the NRA Board of Directors. As per usual, NRA Board chair of Clubs & Associations Herb Lanford greeted attendees and offered his ear.

“I know there are ideas you’d like to share or programs you think would be a good addition to the NRA,” said Landford. “As a Board Member, I encourage you to share those comments with me and we’ll see what we can do about it.”

Also on hand is NRA Board Member Dave Bennett. Pictured to the right, Bennett is a resident of New Mexico and previously served as President of the New Mexico Shooting Sports Association. His hands on experience with issues facing most of these clubs will be a real benefit to attendees.

“I read every local newspaper I can find,” said Bennett. “You have to know what’s happening in your community in order to ensure the strength and longevity of your operation.”

Now at the podium is Marketing Coordinator Melissa Betts. She’s running through the benefits of NRA affiliation and laying the groundwork for Eric and his presentation on Range Services.

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