The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) recently said goodbye to two board members, Ian Crabtree of Scott Fly Rods and Bruce Chard, longtime guide in the Florida Keys. The entire AFFTA board and staff thanks them for their years of service, and are immensely grateful for their devotion, knowledge and leadership they each brought to the AFFTA board on behalf of the industry they are passionate about.
With two seats to fill, the Executive Committee voted to fill their seats with Steve Bendzak, Vice President of Sales at Simms Fishing Products and Dr. Brandon Shuler, Oceans Advocate for The Oceans Conservancy and also freelance angling journalist. Bendzak has a long and rich history in the outdoor and fishing industry at both Simms and previously with Ex Officio. Shuler rounds out his conservation day job with award-winning journalism and photography as well as molding young minds as a professor.
AFFTA board chairman Tucker Ladd was eager to welcome both Shuler and Bendzak aboard, “I’m thrilled that both Steve and Brandon were able to fill these board vacancies with such short notice. The wealth of knowledge brought by both individuals is a huge win for the AFFTA Board of Directors, as well as the fly fishing industry as a whole.”
AFFTA president Ben Bulis stated, “I’ve been lucky enough to get to work with both Steve and Brandon over the past year, and could not be more pleased to have them on the AFFTA board, lending their experience to our mission of moving the sport of fly fishing forward.”
The AFFTA board of directors convenes four times annually, the next board meeting will be in Somerset, New Jersey on January 22nd immediately preceding The Fly Fishing Show – Somerset. Sitting board members include: Tucker Ladd (Trout’s Flyfishing), Larry Barrett (Far Bank – Sage/Redington/RIO), Tom Sadler (Outdoor Writer’s Association of America), Chris Hunt (Trout Unlimited), Jim Klug (Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures), Jennifer Lavigne (Waterworks-Lamson), Ben Kurtz (Fishpond), Dustin Carlson (Fishwest), Brian Westover (WestWater Products), Riley Cotter (Umpqua Feather Merchants), Michael White (Blue Ribbon Reps) and Colby Trow (Mossy Creek Flyfishing). There are also two Ex-Officio board members: David S. Heller and Mark Harbough (Patagonia).
AFFTA advocates for and promotes the sustained growth of the fly fishing industry. By igniting consumer demand for products and services, providing businesses the tools to be successful, and advocating for access, protection and restoration of fishing waters, we will continue to enhance the passion and profitability of the sport of fly fishing.