AFFTA Hires Communications Director

For Immediate Release:
Ben Bulis

American Fly Fishing Trade Association Hires Communications Director

 AFFTA Poised for Significant Growth With Acquisition of Seasoned Media Relations and Marketing Professional 

Bozeman, MT 3/27/14:  The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) has hired a Communications Director to effectively message to members and the general public to further AFFTA’s mission of promoting sustained growth of the fly fishing industry.  Becky Edwards enthusiastically accepted AFFTA’s offer and will begin her role as Communications Director on April 1, 2014.

Becky has over a decade of high-level media relations and communications strategy experience.  For the past four years she has owned and operated a communications and marketing consulting company, Sun Snow Creative, based in Bozeman, Montana.  In this capacity she advised on media relations, marketing, political advocacy and fundraising development to clients including conservation organizations, philanthropic foundations and for-profit ventures that held a deep appreciation for conservation and recreation at their core values.  Previously, Becky was a Public Relations Executive with MercuryCSC in Bozeman servicing the Montana Office of Tourism account.

Veterans of the fly-fishing industry may remember Becky as a former Dealer Services Rep at Simms Fishing Products in the early to mid 2000’s.  She stated: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work amongst all of the passionate members of the fly fishing industry again at this point in my career.  Working with AFFTA to develop and execute a strategic communications plan from the ground up is incredibly exciting.”

AFFTA president Ben Bulis remarked: “We’re positioning AFFTA to grow from the renewed vigor for the sport and industry we’ve witnessed over the past several years, and take it to the next level and beyond.  Becky is here to help us achieve some lofty goals.”

Becky can be reached at or 406.570.9427.

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. 



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Tackle Trade World to Sponsor the 2014 IFTD New Product Showcase

TTW logo


Global media exposure of $55,000.00 up for grabs at IFTD New Product Showcase once again


AFFTA is pleased to announce that once again winners of New Product Showcase awards at this year’s IFTD will win fantastic editorial prizes in the number one international fishing industry magazine, Tackle Trade World (TTW).

The sponsorship agreement, which debuted last year, means IFTD award winners will claim a free page of editorial in TTW worth $1,700 as well as the prestige of being named the best in their specific category. This page, to run in an issue of TTW over the next 12 months, will be seen by the magazine’s international readership of over 20,000 fishing trade professionals in 120 countries.

In addition, the overall Best of Show winner will take home an editorial prize worth over $11,850.00, including two further features on their company, a free web-banner on for six months and a free video to be hosted on the magazine’s YouTube channel.

TTW editor, David Guest, explained: “Fly fishing is close to mine and TTW’s hearts, so it was fantastic to sponsor the IFTD New Product Showcase last year. “The winners of lastDSC_0016 year’s awards have seen their products presented in front of a huge audience of international retailers, buyers and distributors as well as a large United States-based readership. It has been a real success and I know that many of the companies we have worked, both large and small, with have strongly benefited from this global exposure, which only TTW can offer.

“This year, I am looking forward to seeing the great new products the international fly fishing industry has developed and I am looking forward to seeing the hard work of Ben Bulis and the AFFTA team pay off with another exceptional IFTD show.”

To be included with a chance of winning some international fishing trade media exposure, simply enter your product into the IFTD New Product Showcase as normal and keep your fingers crossed!


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AFFTA is Hiring!



Communications Manager

Works directly with the President on communications to AFFTA members, media, affiliate groups and the general public. Produces content ranging but not limited to press releases, blog posts, bi-monthly e-newsletter, AFFTA Member Benefits, IFTD Advertising, IFTD Show Schedules etc.

Responsibilities include:

Outbound material (press releases, membership letters, etc.)

  • Produces content and/or proofread documents that AFFTA and the Board of Directors distribute to members, prospective members, affiliate groups etc.
  • Manage and distribute press releases through MailChimp and other platforms.

AFFTA website and social media outlets (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.)

  • Develop and maintain plan of annual content updates
  • Press releases, AFFTA news updates, trade news updates
  •  Promoting new/relevant areas of website
  • Weekly blog posts that are relevant to the industry, either via product news and innovations or conservation/politics/legislative issues that impact the industry.
  • Cultivate a solid list of online press contacts (bloggers, e-zine editors, etc.) that can easily be reached and engaged as needed when important AFFTA news is at hand

Social Media

  • Develop and maintain AFFTA/IFTD Social Media Policy and Social Media Strategy.
  • Develop a monthly strategy for content on Social Media
  • Ensure social media outlets are updated when we send out email blasts, etc.
  • Update Social Media profiles with photos, videos.
  • Respond to comments, questions on Social Media.
  • Engage in fly fishing and/or communications-related conversations on Social Media.
  • Promote AFFTA members and affiliate groups on Social Media

Traditional Media

  • Cultivate a list of mainstream and industry-specific media contacts that we can reach out to on a moment’s notice.
  • Work with communications staffers from AFFTA members (companies, orgs, etc.) to ensure proper promotion of the industry and AFFTA.
  • Be a dependable resource for reporters, editors and producers on industry news


  • Assist co-workers as needed.
  • Attend annual IFTD shows and/or other events at the discretion of the President.
  • Help with marketing plans.
  • Research ways to improve services to members, with goals to:
  • Drive all AFFTA communications through social media to the AFFTA/IFTD websites
  • Improve and focusing on content and navigation.
  • Help members understand the communications benefits of AFFTA and how we can help their business’ grow


  • Bachelor’s degree in communications or 3-5 years experience in related field.
  • Skilled in MS Office, Adobe InDesign and Photoshop.
  • Working familiarity with Google products and WordPress or similar content management systems
  • This is a paid Part-time Position 20-25 hrs a week, Salary is D.O.E

To apply for this position, please send your resume to

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Ben Kurtz Appointed to AFFTA Board of Directors

January 17, 2014 Bozeman, MT- The Executive Committee for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) has appointed Ben Kurtz, co-owner of Fishpond, to the board of directors. Ben Kurtz will assume this position from Jim Murphy, formerly with Pure Fishing.

“The appointment of Ben Kurtz to the AFFTA Board of Directors represents the addition of a new and young perspective to the sport of fly fishing as well as vision from an industry-leading manufacturer.  Ben will undoubtedly bring valuable insight to the board; I feel confident his participation will enhance the current board and our future goals and objectives,” said AFFTA board chairman Tucker Ladd.

As a Colorado Native, Ben gained an appreciation for fly fishing at an early age. After graduating from Brown University, Ben first stepped in the industry as a professional fly fishing guide in the Vail Valley. Shortly thereafter Ben started his career with Fishpond. Initially, Kurtz started out assisting his current business partner, John Le Coq, with design and business development. In 2012, the Kurtz family joined Fishpond as equal partners with John Le Coq.

” We are all fortunate to be a part of an amazing industry, which I want to see grow and thrive. It’s important for all components of the industry to come together to realize and achieve these goals. I am very excited for the opportunity to work with AFFTA, and to add my perspective as a young business owner,” said Ben Kurtz.




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Michael White Appointed to AFFTA Board of Directors



January 8, 2014 Bozeman, MT- The Board of Directors for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), recently voted Tom Sadler, Executive Director of the Outdoor Writers Association (OWAA) as Vice-Chairman. He will assume this position from David Heller, formally with R.L. Winston Rod Co. At the same time, sales representative Michael White has been appointed to the board to fill the open board seat. David Heller has moved into an advisory role with AFFTA.

As a long tenured and respected industry sales representative, Michael White has worked for many companies within our industry. Currently, he represents Simms Fishing Products, Umpqua Feather Merchants and, hunting brand, Sitka Gear in the Northern Rockies. “Michael (Whitey) is a great addition to the AFFTA board. He is well liked and respected throughout the industry. Whitey fills an important industry segment on the board, sales representatives provide a critical function for the continued growth of our industry, I look forward to working with him” said AFFTA President Ben Bulis.

“My focus has always been on being the best business partner for each retailer. I listen, to better understand their goals and objectives and then work very hard to help them execute upon that plan. My favorite times are when I have a chance to collaborate on something new, innovative and exciting with a retailer; particularly when it reaches their customer base. I’ve always believed the relationship between consumer and retailer is the most vital component to grow our industry. Finding new ways to build upon those relationships and, more importantly, forge new ones is a key challenge we all face in the industry. I’m excited to work with AFFTA and believe my experience as a sales representative, meaning always in the middle, will help me see each side of any issue. I trust this perspective will be found mutually beneficial for all parties involved in AFFTA and in our industry” said Michael.


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New UPS Shipping Benefit for AFFTA Members

In conjunction with United Parcel Service (UPS), the American Fly Fishing Trade Association offers AFFTA members significant discounts on UPS shipping services. Via the UPS portal, members gain access to tools for preparing and printing shipping labels, scheduling pickups, tracking shipments, and ordering shipping supplies. By signing up for a UPS account through the exclusive UPS/AFFTA portal, members get immediate access to discounts on virtually all UPS shipping methods …

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2014 AFFTA Executive Committee

October 24, 2013 Bozeman, MT- The Board of Directors for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), recently elected four directors to serve as the Executive Committee for the next calendar year. The Executive Committee is responsible for overseeing the business and affairs of AFFTA and to ensure the mission and goals are being fulfilled.

Chairman- Tucker Ladd President and Owner of Trout’s Fly Fishing, Denver, CO
Vice-Chairman- David Heller V.P. of Sales and Marketing Winston Rod Co., Twin Bridges, MT
Secretary- Andrew Bennett, President and principal Owner of Deneki Outdoors, Seattle,  WA
Treasurer- Larry Barrett, Director of Operations for Far Bank Enterprises, Bainbridge Island, WA

The election of Tucker Ladd as Chairman of the AFFTA board is historic; Tucker is the first retailer to be elected as the AFFTA Chairman. “I am not only proud to become the AFFTA Chairman, but I am honored to be the first retailer to ever hold this position.  This is a testament of the commitment to the retail base of our industry by the current Board of Directors, as well as AFFTA as a whole.  I have always believed that retailers are the life-blood of our sport and industry, and I am excited to have the opportunity to represent this segment of our trade group.  2014 will undoubtedly be an exciting year for AFFTA, and I am looking forward to helping drive our trade group to new levels of success, relevancy and growth” noted Ladd.

“The newly elected Executive Committee is comprised of highly respected individuals in the fly fishing industry. Tucker Ladd’s election to serve as Chairman for the coming year by the AFFTA board of directors, is a testament to Tucker’s commitment, dedication and respect throughout the industry” said AFFTA President Ben Bulis.


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Welcome to AFFTA Trade News

We are pleased to announce a new service for our members and the fly-fishing industry at large, the addition of trade news to our website. Separate and apart from our existing AFFTA News, the trade news area is being reserved specifically for press releases specific to the fly-fishing business. It can be found by going to the Media Center drop down menu on our home page, and clicking Trade News. To subscribe to the feed for all trade news, this is the URL to use in your RSS reader:

If you would like to have your news included here, please email with your latest press releases. We will generally post news items without editing, but reserve the rights of acceptance or rejection of any news release submitted to us.

Kindest Regards,

Ben Bulis

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October 14, 2013 Bozeman, MT. – In a landmark cooperative agreement, The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) and the Fly Fishing Show have joined forces in the promotion of the 2014 consumer shows.  The agreement was reached between AFFTA president Ben Bulis and Fly Fishing Show director Chuck Furimsky.

The agreement stipulates, in part “… Any AFFTA member – retailer or manufacturer – that didn’t exhibit at the consumer shows in 2013 will receive a 10% discount on their 2014 booth fees. Other AFFTA-associated member benefits for 2014 are ‘in the works.’”

The duo noted that “marketing and promoting the consumer shows together to increase participation in the sport and support businesses in the fly-fishing industry makes good, practical sense.” There will be no further conflicts of dates and show venues, they agreed.

“This mutual agreement falls within AFFTA’s mission and goals, which include growing demand for fly-fishing products by attracting new participants to the sport and promoting better business practices and professional development opportunities for our members,” said Bulis.    The partnership evolved during a series of meetings during the summer and early fall.

The 2014 Fly Fishing Show dates and locations include:

Denver, Colo. – January 3-5, Denver Merchandise Mart;

Marlborough, Mass. – January 17-19, Royal Plaza Trade Center;

Somerset, NJ – January 24-26, Garden State Exhibit Center;

Winston-Salem, NC – February 7-8, Benton Convention Center;

Lynnwood, Wash. – February 15-16, Lynnwood Convention Center;

Pleasanton, Calif. – February 21-23, Alameda County Fairgrounds; and

Lancaster, Penn. – March 1-2, Lancaster County Convention Center.


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American Fly Fishing Trade Association Elects Board of Directors

Bozeman, Montana 9/16/13- Eight members of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) were elected or re-elected recently by the membership. The newly elected Board of Directors will begin their three-year terms starting October 18, 2013.

Dustin Carlson, Grizzly Hackle Holdings, LLC
Bruce Chard, Florida Keys Fly Fishing Guide
Riley Cotter, Umpqua Feather Merchants
Ian Crabtree, Scott Fly Rod Co.
David Heller, R.L. Winston Rod Co.
Chris Hunt, Trout Unlimited
Jen Lavigne, The Waterworks-Lamson
Colby Trow, Mossy Creek Fly Fishing

AFFTA board chairman Jim Klug had this to say about the outcome of the election. “We’re thrilled with the recent election and very excited about the incoming board members. This is a group of people with tremendous talent and great backgrounds in fly fishing. These new board members also represent the true diversity of AFFTA’s membership: a mix of manufacturers, reps, retailers, travel and media.”

“This election speaks volumes to the commitment and dedication of our current membership, to the sport and the industry. An unprecedented percentage of the AFFTA membership voted in this years’ election. I would like to thank the entire field of candidates, their willingness and dedication to making our trade association and the fly fishing industry stronger should be commended.” said AFFTA President Ben Bulis.

AFFTA’s mission is to promote the sustained growth of the fly fishing industry. We work to grow consumer demand for fly fishing goods and services, enhance the growth and professionalism of fly fishing businesses, and support the protection, enhancement and restoration of fish and fish habitat.


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