As OWAA celebrates its 90th birthday in 2017, we’ve introduced the “Member Spotlight Monday,” a weekly feature that celebrates our present—the gift of our talented current members and their ongoing excellence in outdoor communications. Today, we introduce Randy Zellers:
- Where were you born?
- Where do you call home now?
Little Rock, Arkansas
- What’s your nickname?
Folks around the office tend to call me Johnny Raincloud when I have to bring up the downside of things, does that count?
- What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
I practically grew up in the back of a bass boat, so bass fishing would be my first passion.
- What is your profession/connection with outdoors communication?
I’m the assistant chief of communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. I write press releases and web articles for the agency to promote hunting, angling, wildlife watching in The Natural State.
- Why did you choose to become an outdoor communicator?
My educational background actually is in wildlife management and forestry. While taking classes on natural resource management, practically every professor would say that public understanding and support were the keys to accomplishing your goal, but rarely did they go into detail about how to accomplish that feat. So I took extra classes and pursued a Master’s degree in public relations to accompany the biology background. The rest sort of fell in place.
- What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
So far, I’m most proud of reaching my goal of having a job that I feel makes a difference in future generations. Previous jobs were about making money to support a family or promoting the outdoor lifestyle to sell products for someone else to make money. My current career allows me to look at myself every night and know that something I did contributed to conserving our wildlife, fisheries and the heritage of those people who enjoy them.
- What three words would your friends use to describe you?
Dependable, realistic, sarcastic.
- What is the best piece of advice you have received as an outdoor communicator?
Everyone needs editing, don’t take it personally or let your ego get in the way of telling your story well.
- When you head for the Great Outdoors, what is the one thing you do not leave home without?
A GPS or compass and map (nowadays my phone works for this). I am about as directionally challenged as they come.
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
Boring stuff. Set back money for kids college, pay off all my debt, then maybe buy some property where I could hunt and fish whenever I pleased.
- Who do you most admire in your life and why?
Anyone who can read public land well enough to be able to see all these herds of 10 and 12 deer at a time and pass up 10 pointers to “let ‘em grow a little” like I always read on Facebook and Internet forums. If these guys had cameras with them, we’d all be out of a job.
- What was the last movie you saw?
Took my son to see Rogue One at the theater.
- What are your top three favorite books?
I know I’m supposed to say Silent Spring or A Sand County Almanac here, but honestly I’m a Sci-Fi junky. I’d have to say World War Z, March Upcountry and Deadman’s Road
- Can you juggle?
Projects – yes.
Balls, bowling pins, flaming torches, chainsaws – no.
- What is your favorite dessert?
- If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
Superspeed to finish work at the last second after procrastinating or pushing easier work in front of it.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully still working with the AGFC to promote natural resource management, hunting and angling. Maybe doing a little more freelance writing on the side to visit new places and share stories.
- What is your favorite inspirational quote?
“The information you get from social media is not a substitute for academic discipline at all.”-Bill Nye
- What do you like best about OWAA?
OWAA remains one of the best ways to network with authors, editors, publishers and experts in the outdoors. No one is going to come knock on your door because you are a member; you have to get out there and make things happen for yourself, and OWAA offers the vehicle to learn how to do that.
Thanks, Randy, for not only your answers, but also for being valued part of “The Voice of the Outdoors.”
If you are an OWAA member and wish to be featured in a future Member Spotlight Monday, send your answers to the above questions and a photograph of yourself enjoying the outdoors (in JPG format sized for the web) to Colleen Miniuk-Sperry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not a member? Check us out at https://www.owaa.org.