RBFF appoints new board chairman

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) announced the appointment of Jeff Pontius as its new Board Chairman, as well as the appointment of five other Board positions and five new Board members. The new members will help RBFF continue to increase fishing and boating participation, working toward the 60 in 60 goal.

Starting March 1, 2020, Jeff Pontius officially takes over as RBFF’s Board Chairman. The RBFF said Pontius has been a valuable member of the Board for more than 10 years, bringing his experience as president & CEO of Zebco to the table.

Taking over Pontius’ previous position as vice chair will be Ken Hammond of The Hammond Group, who the organizations says has been an invaluable asset on the RBFF Board, serving in various roles, including Board Chairman in recent years.

In addition, Craig Bonds of Texas Parks and Wildlife will take over as treasurer and Yamaha Motor Corporation's Dale Barnes was voted in as secretary. Outgoing Board Chairman Jeff Marble will transition into a newly-formed seat only available to the immediate past Chair.

“As a longtime member of the fishing and boating industry, it’s clear the work that RBFF does is essential to the future of our sport,” said Pontius. “I’ve enjoyed my time on the Board and look forward to making an even greater impact as Board Chair.”

New to the RBFF Board of Directors are: 

  • Colleen Callahan – Director, Illinois Department of Natural Resources 
  • Thom Dammrich – President Emeritus, National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)
  • Kathy Fennel – Executive Vice President & General Manager, Fishing League Worldwide (FLW)
  • Jon Schlosser – Vice President of Marketing, Pure Fishing 
  • Phil Smoker – Vice President of Sales, Starcraft/Smoker Craft, Inc. 

Colleen, the newly-designated Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been assigned to the Board via the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). Returning to the RBFF Board after recently retiring from 20 years at the helm of NMMA is Thom Dammrich, having been appointed by the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC). Also receiving appointment from the SFBPC is Kathy Fennel, who has ascended through the ranks over her more than 30 years at FLW, becoming the executive vice president and general manager when FLW and Major League Fishing merged in 2019. Jon Schlosser oversees the marketing for some of the most storied brands in the industry at Pure Fishing and was appointed to the RBFF Board by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). Lastly, appointed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is Phil Smoker, who has recently been working on a charge to bring affordable, high-quality boats to young families.

RBFF President & CEO Frank Peterson said, “We have big goals at RBFF and our Board of Directors has always helped steer us in the right direction. I’m excited by the expertise represented by our Board and look forward to the fresh perspectives on the biggest challenges our community is facing.”

The RBFF Board of Directors is made up of 24 individuals who have been appointed by RBFF and industry and state agency organizations. The full list of RBFF Board of Directors members is available online.

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