Washington, D.C. (December 19, 2018) – The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), of which the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is a member, announced the appointment of Jessica Wahl as executive director following an extensive national search. Jessica brings a decade of experience navigating the halls of The White House, Department of the Interior (DOI), Capitol Hill, state recreation offices and outdoor lifestyle businesses.
“Jessica has developed strong relationships with the administration and has earned the respect of the outdoor recreation industries. Her ability to open doors and make things happen will have a tremendous impact on outdoor recreation, and therefore fishing,” states Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association and secretary of the ORR board. Hughes adds, “We congratulate Jessica and look forward to working closely with her as we know that she will do an outstanding job in this role.”
“Jessica is the ideal person to take on the new role of executive director at the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association and chairman of the board for ORR. “Her demonstrated leadership in raising the profile of the Outdoor Recreation Economy combined with her proven skills in championing meaningful policy changes that positively impact the entire outdoor recreation community make Jess the perfect choice. She is a passionate advocate for outdoor recreation, a tireless convener and results-oriented change agent.”
Prior to the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Wahl directed Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) outdoor recreation portfolio in Washington D.C. where she successfully gained landmark government recognition of outdoor recreation’s contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product. In 2018, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that outdoor recreation makes up 2.2% of the nation’s GDP and is one of America’s leading industry sectors.
Wahl is also the co-founder and past-chair of the Coalition for Outdoor Access working to reform outfitter and guide permitting systems within federal land agencies, an effort designed to help more Americans gain access to the outdoors. Before OIA, Wahl worked at DOI in the Office of the Interior Secretary where she managed First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside and Let’s Move! in Indian Country initiatives. She has received a Master of Arts in American Government from Georgetown University.
“I am honored to be chosen as the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable’s executive director,” said Wahl. “I have always had a deep personal connection to the great outdoors and have spent my career working to connect more people to these special places. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with America’s leading outdoor recreation organizations to grow the outdoor recreation economy that impacts so many livelihoods and communities. By creating a shared national vision for outdoor recreation, we can improve access to our parks, trails, campgrounds and waters, and ensure a better quality of life for all Americans.”
Wahl joins ORR on January 7th and will succeed Derrick Crandall, the long-time president of American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and current ORR president. Since the April 2018 announced merger between ARC and the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable that formed ORR, Crandall has led the successful integration of the two entities. After a short leadership transition, Crandall will step down from ORR but continue to consult on ORR’s Partners Outdoors and Great Outdoors Month programs as well as continue his distinguished career as the ORR board representative for the National Park Hospitality Association.
ASA would also like to thank Derrick for his lifetime of service to the great outdoors and appreciate all he has done for public access and helping individuals and families enjoy the many benefits of outdoor recreation.