After a national search, the Outdoor Writers Association of America announces the hiring of Brandon D. Shuler as the organization’s next executive director. Shuler takes the helm of OWAA on May 15, replacing Colleen Miniuk-Sperry, who has served as part-time interim executive director since January after the departure of Tom Sadler.
Shuler brings 11 years of experience (seven as a consultant) working in constituent outreach for the Ocean Conservancy, where he has helped write the organization’s strategic communications for the Gulf fish program, educate stakeholders on policy issues affecting private recreational marine fishing and negotiate solutions with opposing fisherman on the progressive needs of the resource.
Prior to his Ocean Conservancy role, Shuler worked as a natural resources conservation consultant for Seagrass Management LLC for 14 years, supporting a wide range of causes from international environmental groups to local estuary programs. He was also a marketing and communications manager for Getaway Adventures Lodge for eight years.
As an outdoor writer, Shuler has been a masthead contributor for Shallow Water Angler, Texas Sporting Journal and Lone Star Outdoor News and a frequent contributor to Sports Fishing, Saltwater Sportsman and Outdoor Life. He has edited and published two books: “Glory of the Silver King: The Golden Age of Tarpon Fishing” and “New Border Voices.”
In addition being an OWAA member for eight years from 2001-2005 and 2014-2016, Shuler has served on numerous boards, from the American Fly Fishing Trade Association to the Texas Outdoors Writers Association. He holds undergraduate degrees in sports science and communications from the College of Charleston. He also received a graduate degree in English from the University of Texas and earned his doctorate in English at Texas Tech University with a focus in literature, social justice and the environment and a secondary focus in book history and scholarly publishing.
He is also an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida-St Petersburg, where he serves as an advisor and committee chair of the environmental science and policy undergraduate program and the Florida studies graduate program.
Shuler resides in St. Petersburg, Florida (where his OWAA office will be), but considers himself a “displaced seventh-generation Texan.”
“Brandon Shuler brings an impressive base of business experience and a diverse knowledge of the outdoor communications world,” said Brett Prettyman, OWAA president and the selection committee chair. “He understands the challenges outdoor communicators face and brings not only enthusiasm for the executive director position, but also fresh, creative ideas to help OWAA, our members and supporting groups prosper.”
When not working, Shuler races road, mountain, and cyclocross bikes and spends time with his three kids, black lab and numerous fish. His love of the outdoors dates back to learning to fish before he was big enough to fit in a life jacket.
“I am excited, but honored and humbled to take the reins of the OWAA,” Shuler said. “This is like a homecoming returning to the communications world. These are exciting, yet challenging times for our organization and our collective professions as outdoors communicators. With changes to the American recreational outdoors demographic and the transition from traditional media to digital spaces, we as communicators must adapt and expand our ideas of what constitutes an outdoor communicator and the spaces we ply our craft. I am excited to learn from each and every one of you and enjoy this journey together.”