By: Teresa Johnson
Jay McAninch, president and CEO of the Archery Trade Association, announced this week that 2017 will be his last full year in his current role as head of the ATA. The organization’s Board of Directors, headed by its Executive Committee, will begin developing a process to recruit a new President and CEO over the course of the current year. McAninch has indicated his flexibility in working until his successor is named or through the 2018 ATA Trade Show.
Members of the Board’s Executive Committee were swift in their praise of McAninch’s efforts on behalf of the ATA for the past 17 years, during which the organization went from the brink of financial disaster to being a member-driven, profitable trade association hosting the world’s largest archery and bowhunting Trade Show. Under McAninch’s guidance, the ATA has used the revenues from its Trade Show to help organizations, such as the National Archery in the Schools Program, USA Archery and countless state agencies, fund archery programming and facilities across the United States, ensuring the long-term sustainability of archery and bowhunting for the ATA’s members.
Manufacturers and retailers have felt the incredible impact Jay McAninch has provided these past 17 years. Photo Credit Shane Indrebo
“Jay McAninch will leave huge hunting boots to fill,” commented Ben Summers, Chair of the ATA Board of Directors and Vice President of T.R.U. Ball/AXCEL. “When I first became an ATA Board member 11 years ago, our organization was in debt and our impact was small. Jay has expertly managed our organization to have a significant surplus, while using the relationships he built over years as an expert wildlife biologist and head of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation to have significant positive impact in Washington, DC, and with wildlife agencies in each state. He also expanded ATA’s reach to help archery federations in individual countries around the world. Jay has made archery and bowhunting better in too many ways to list.”
“I have enjoyed working with Jay for many years,” said Greg Easton, member of the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee and President of Jas. D. Easton Inc. “His commitment to archery and the ATA has always been relentless, and his contributions to our industry and the sport will continue to serve the ATA for many years. I want to personally thank Jay for his years of service and wish him the best in the future.”
Mark Copeland, head of the Archery Trade Association’s Retail Council and a member of the Board of Directors’ Executive Committee, agreed: “Jay has laid a strong foundation for his successor while still allowing him to foster the relationships he has developed on Capitol Hill, on the ATA’s behalf. The ATA has become the benchmark for a successful trade organization, envied by many. Jay’s passion for bowhunting is surpassed only by his lifelong determination to better understand and protect the bowhunters’ primary resource: the whitetail deer. I have personally admired Jay’s ability to get multiple groups working together, focusing their energy on the greater good for all things outdoors. Although Jay is beginning the process of stepping down, his efforts will be felt for many years to come. Jay’s shoes will not be easy to fill, but I am confident in the strength of our Board and more importantly, the quality of the team he has assembled, to carry our vision forward.”
Jay’s passion for bowhunting is surpassed only by his lifelong determination for whitetail deer conservation.
The support of the organization’s Board of Directors, and McAninch’s ability to work with these industry leaders, has been a key component of the ATA’s success, especially in taking advantage of the “archery boom” in recent years, and now refocusing on growing bowhunting. Summers confirmed that the Board of Directors will continue to work in this direction: “The ATA Board has been solidly behind Jay’s efforts and the efforts of his staff to be a force for good in the archery, bowhunting, and conservation communities. The ATA will continue to be a trusted positive leader in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, our ATA Trade Show will continue to be the largest and most important forum for conducting archery business, and our significant financial reserves will help us to keep and expand on our commitments to our valued partners.”
“Deciding to step down was a hard decision but, after 17 years, it’s time for someone to take archery and bowhunting to a new level,” explained McAninch. “I still want to be involved in archery, bowhunting and conservation in some capacity, but I also want to find more time for my three grandsons and granddaughter. I do plan to help the ATA Board of Directors and the ATA staff in every way I can as they work to build the next chapter for our industry.”