RBFF Staff & News

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), an MRAA Partner Member, has announced two new hires and a new award for its Find Your Best Self campaign.

Welcome JD Strong!
RBFF today announced JD Strong as its new Sr. Director of Industry Engagement. With 20 years of executive leadership experience, Strong will spearhead a new RBFF Board-driven charge to support the fishing and boating industries in reducing churn – an increasing concern for participation overall.

RBFF Update & Staff, Strong
JD Strong, RBFF Senior Director of Industry Engagement

“JD is a welcome addition to the RBFF team where his impressive accomplishments, progressive initiatives and deep passion for fishing and boating will help us better understand and improve fishing and boating churn,” said RBFF President & CEO Dave Chanda.

“I’m excited to join the team at RBFF and eager to tackle the challenges we’re facing around churn,” said Strong. “Increased participation supports critical aquatic conservation efforts and if we can stem the tide on lapsing anglers, we can ensure a healthy and thriving environment for fishing and boating.”

Prior to RBFF, Strong served as the Director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) where he made significant improvements to the agency’s licensing system, developed strategic partnerships with country music star Blake Shelton and NBA star Paul George and formed important partnerships with Oklahoma fishing license retailers, Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s, Academy Sports and Outdoors, OKC Latina, and more.

Strong is the former Executive Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) and has held a number of leadership positions at both the state and national level with organizations including the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and the Sport Fishing & Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC). He holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology from Oklahoma State University.

“RBFF’s Special Report on Fishing shows a large increase in the number of lost participants over the last several years,” added Chanda. “It’s a trend we can’t ignore, and we’re excited to have JD on board to help navigate this challenge.”

RBFF will soon release a research project that will help us better understand the psychology of churn. To view current resources related to fishing and boating retention, visit our YouTube channel Retention Playlist and our website for RBFF’s  our Retention Toolkit.

RBFF Update & Staff, Hornbrook
Kayla Hornbrook, RBFF Stakeholder Marketing Manager

Meet Kayla Hornbrook
We are pleased to announce that Kayla Hornbrook recently joined the RBFF team as the Stakeholder Marketing Manager. Kayla Hornbrook has nine years of experience in strategic communications, marketing and design within the nonprofit sector. She has led strategic communications initiatives, brand management, sponsorships/fundraising, digital marketing campaigns, and direct service programs. Kayla will work closely with Joanne Martonik to support stakeholder marketing programs and events such as our First Catch Centers, State Marketing Workshop, industry events and more.

Outside of work Kayla enjoys video and board games, comedy and travel. Through her childhood and teenage years, she enjoyed fishing with her grandfather in the Southeast and Midwest, connecting her to the mission of RBFF.

Best in Show – Midwest Addy Awards
As we move into the 2024 fishing and boating season, we’re proud to share our ‘Find Your Best Self on the Water’ campaign continues to reel in awards from its first year in-market. The campaign recently received a “Best in Show” designation at the Midwest Addy Awards.

Watch the judges comments.

About RBFF
RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase recreational angling and boating participation, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. To help recruit, retain, and reactivate participants, RBFF developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns to build awareness of boating, fishing, and conservation and educate people about the benefits of participation.
The campaign websites feature how-to-videos and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots, helping boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan, and equip for a successful day on the water.
RBFF also offers its industry stakeholders many tools, including a Fishing License & Boat Registration Plugin to connect their customers with the information they need in just one click, as well as an embeddable Places to Fish & Boat Map to help their customers discover places to fish and boat near them.