The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) President and CEO Frank Peterson announced he will step down as President and CEO on December 31, 2021, and will retire on February 28, 2022. Peterson's retirement comes as RBFF continues its mission to increase participation in recreational boating and fishing, thereby helping to conserve and restore aquatic natural resources throughout the U.S.
Since joining RBFF as President and CEO in 2007, Peterson has been instrumental in leading the fishing and boating industries toward record engagement levels through innovative recruitment campaigns along with retention and reactivation efforts at the national and state levels.
In 2020, an impressive 55 million Americans fished at least once, the highest number recorded since participation tracking began in 2007. Likewise, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)—which represents the North American recreational boat, engine and marine accessory manufacturers—reported more than 310,000 new powerboats were sold in 2020, meeting levels the recreational boating industry had not achieved since before the Great Recession in 2008. Both industries have continued to report strong engagement levels throughout 2021 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and global supply chain obstacles.
"Outdoor activities like fishing and boating enhance the quality of life for tens of millions of Americans like few things can, and that's why RBFF is so deeply committed to increasing participation in the activities which help conserve our most beloved waterways for future generations to enjoy," Peterson said. "Working alongside the RBFF team to help guide the record growth of fishing and boating the past 15 years has been the highlight of my career, both as a professional and outdoorsman."
Prior to joining RBFF in 2007, Peterson's leadership had already produced unprecedented performance for a variety of organizations. He began his career developing and implementing successful corporate strategies for Mobil Oil Corporations' U.S. marketing and refining segments. He went on to form his own business development services firm, significantly increasing sales for several private sector corporations. Peterson came to RBFF directly from Marketing General, where as Vice President he reorganized and exponentially grew a major revenue-producing services division.
Despite his impressive track record, Peterson encourages his industry peers and successor to always look forward.
"To sustain the Foundation's success, there must be continued emphasis on understanding the information our audiences demand and the channels they rely upon to receive it," Peterson said. "The water is open for all, no matter race, ethnicity, gender or age. Our ability to act on the needs of our audiences will serve to sustain the overall growth and health of our fishing and boating industries to levels that we once thought unimaginable."