Ralph has been the CEO of HEVI-Shot since 2000.
Gun Dog TV: How did you first get involved in the outdoors?
Ralph Nauman: There was never a time when I didn't live outdoors as much as possible. I grew up in an 1100 square foot house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with three generations: grandmother, parents, sisters. There was no space for a hyper, young boy to play indoors. Over the years, kickball, touch football, baseball, basketball, and dodge-ball on city streets turned into rowing, back country skiing, mountain biking, whitewater kayaking – and bird hunting.
GDTV: How do you come up with your products?
RN: We hunt. We watch hunters. We talk with hunters. We look for what's missing from the shooting part of the hunting experience and think about ways to harness material science and physics to provide that missing part. But then, sometimes ideas just come to us – who knows how? Our new bullets fall into that latter category.
GDTV: What experiences would you like your customers to have from using your products? RN: We want our customers to make an enduring memory of an extraordinary shot, part of an extraordinary hunt, which the superior performance of our products made possible. Our slogan, I didn't come this far to miss! means our customer has made a lot of good choices for equipment, for hunting tactics . . . and for his or her life, for that matter. HEVI-Shot embodies that lifetime of good decisions, in the context of a hunt.
GDTV: What's your most memorable hunt?
RN: Our entire investor group went on a pheasant hunt in South Dakota in 2001. Hunting in snow, John Chaney, an investor and board member, killed a pheasant at 92 paces. That was astounding, but we all shot birds out of the sky at 60 yards or more. Remember my answer above about making enduring memories? We still talk about that hunt – an enduring memory that HEVI-Shot made possible.
GDTV: What's a dream hunt you'd like to do that you haven't yet had the opportunity to do?
RN: Hunting chukars along the Middle Fork and catching a salmon from my whitewater kayak.
GDTV: What programs are you a part of to get more youth hunters into the outdoors? RN: We have historically supplied ammunition for youth hunts and Boy Scout events all across the country.
GDTV: What three things are you most passionate about? RN: I'll mention two: Our country and my family. We support wounded warrior hunts throughout the US to support veterans and through them, our country. HEVI-Shot donates over $700 per employee annually to provide these hunts, so that wounded veterans can get support from their peers.
Editor's note: We asked Ralph for some pictures to accommodate this discussion. The following is his response.
No hunt pictures worth sharing. Attached is the closest thing I have to a portrait. It captures my age.