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OIA Recognizes Jennifer Mull and Jim Zwiers with Advocacy Awards

Outdoor Industry Association presented its annual OIA Advocacy Leadership Awards to Jennifer Mull, president and CEO of Backwoods Retail, Inc., and Jim Zwiers, president of Wolverine Worldwide's Outdoor Group, during the OIA Thought Leader Dinner.

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I Ling Thompson

Outdoor Industry Association


Outdoor Industry Association® Recognizes Jennifer Mull and Jim Zwiers with Advocacy Leadership Awards

Awards Presented January 18 at Outdoor Retailer Industry Thought Leader Dinner

BOULDER, CO, January 19, 2011 – Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) presented its annual OIA Advocacy Leadership Awards to Jennifer Mull, president and CEO of Backwoods Retail, Inc., and Jim Zwiers, president of Wolverine Worldwide’s Outdoor Group, during the OIA Thought Leader Dinner yesterday, on the eve of Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Presented annually, the OIA Advocacy Leadership Awards recognize individual OIA members who have significantly contributed to the advancement of the OIA policy agenda and the outdoor industry’s stature in the public policy arena.

“Both Jennifer and Jim serve on the OIA board, and their contributions have been invaluable in advancing outdoor recreation policy in Washington,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO of OIA. “They are truly shining examples of how individual commitment can have exceptional national impact while also inspiring others to get involved.”

Jennifer Mull has outdoor recreation in her DNA, her father having founded the first Backwoods retail store in 1973. She took over operations of all 10 Backwoods stores in 2003. Consistently proving herself as an advocacy leader, Mull has demonstrated unwavering commitment to advancing OIA policy in Washington, D.C. In addition to participating in the OIA Capitol Summit, she is an enthusiastic contributor to and recruiter for the OIA Political Action Committee (OIAPAC)—an essential tool for making the outdoor industry’s voice heard on Capitol Hill.

In addition, Mull has been a champion for Land and Water Conservation Fund legislation and the U.S. OUTDOOR Act, using her personal relationships with members of Congress to exert influence and promote legislation favorable to the outdoor recreation industry.

Finally, Mull has demonstrated tremendous leadership in advancing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, hosting a grassroots listening session in her hometown of Austin, Texas, as well as collaborating with the White House Council on Environmental Quality on identifying the best approaches to protecting special places and creating opportunities for Americans to get out and enjoy the outdoors.

“I am humbled by this award,” said Mull. “It is extremely meaningful as I believe in the power of advocacy and the resulting changes that can be achieved by it. If a person or an association believes in a cause and is willing to be a cooperative and open-minded partner with others in championing that cause, amazing things can happen.”

At Wolverine Worldwide, Jim Zwiers leads the company’s global Merrell, Chaco, and Patagonia footwear brands. He strongly believes that increasing our influence on governmental priorities and policies is essential to promoting and supporting outdoor activities and conservation. To that end, he has been a champion for OIA policy work, penning an op-ed piece and letters to Senators in order to highlight Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as an outstanding example of the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in protecting the crown jewels of America natural lands.

Zwiers has been instrumental in advancing outdoor recreation trade policy, lobbying on behalf of the Affordable Footwear Act and helping organize the industry’s position on tariff legislation. He helped organize an OIAPAC fundraiser for Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which holds enormous influence on trade policy, import duties, and tariffs.

Zwiers has also made significant contributions to the America Great Outdoors Initiative, collaborating with Mull and others on report content.

“Our natural playgrounds are under unprecedented budget stress, and popular culture is creating a generation that prefers to experience the world through video and text,” said Zwiers. “OIA and its members are committed to reversing these trends. We are proud to help further these goals by driving outdoor participation and engagement, inspiring and empowering our consumers, and supporting the outdoors through funding and advocacy.”

Hugelmeyer concluded the evening with a rousing call to action, reinforcing the importance of the industry banding together to influence policymakers, and more effectively disseminate the message about the value of outdoor recreation and what it contributes to our national economy. He discussed that, in 2012, OIA is launching a multi-year Recreation Economy campaign to define the outdoor recreation economy, educate policymakers and key decision-makers on the economics of outdoor recreation, and pave the way for long-term policy change that supports a national recreation infrastructure.

“We are being out-positioned and out-funded by competing interests such as extractive uses and other industries,” said Hugelmeyer. “We have the opportunity for a massive message campaign. There’s a hunger for leadership in this area. People are looking for solutions. The Recreation Economy campaign will build messages that will change policymaker’s beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The work of our advocacy leaders—and the larger industry as a whole—will be instrumental in effecting this change.”

For more information about OIA’s government affairs initiatives, visit

Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Outdoor Industry Association is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives, and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment, and services. For more information go to or call 303.444.3353.