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Shuler steps down, OWAA names Bloom interim executive director

MISSOULA, Montana – Long-time member and volunteer Phil Bloom has been named Interim Executive Director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), North America’s oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators, after the resignation of Executive Director Brandon Shuler. The Board of Directors voted unanimously on the change at the winter board meeting on January 14, where it was decided that Bloom will work alongside Shuler during a transition period until Shuler’s tenure ends Jan. 31.

“I thank Brandon for his service over the past year and a half,” OWAA President Paul Queneau said. “And I’m very grateful to Phil for agreeing to fill this vital role as interim executive director. OWAA’s Executive Committee approached him after receiving Brandon’s resignation, and he was excited at the opportunity. Phil brings skills and knowledge that will serve the organization well.”

Bloom has decades of experience in outdoor communications as well as staff and budget management. He most recently was director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Communications Division, where over a 10-year period he managed all aspects of the agency’s communications program before retiring in September 2017. Prior to that he spent 33 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, including 16 as an award-winning outdoors editor of the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette. He is a two-time recipient of both the Indiana DNR’s outdoor writer of the year and the Indiana Wildlife Federation’s conservation communicator of the year award.

As a member of OWAA for almost three decades, Bloom has served in a variety of volunteer leadership positions, including two terms as Board President (2008-09 and 2017-18), one term as Board Secretary, and was elected twice to the Board of Directors. In 2013 he received the J. Hammond Brown Award for lifetime service to OWAA.

“OWAA has meant so much to me during my career that it always has been easy to say ‘Yes’ when asked to serve in any capacity,” Bloom said. “I’m honored that OWAA’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors have faith in me to manage the organization’s day-to-day operations during this transition.”

Within the next several months, a committee named by the board of directors will begin a national search for a permanent replacement.

OWAA members can contact Bloom at pbloom@owaa.org or at 260-804-6829.

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