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Industry Celebrates FDRA’s 70th Anniversary

The annual achievement awards were presented at the event.

Matt Priest Jim Issler and Greg Tunney at FDRA’s 70th anniversary bash

Matt Priest, Jim Issler and Greg Tunney at FDRA’s 70th anniversary bash

Photo By George Chinsee

The shoe industry’s top executives descended upon the Eventi Hotel in New York on Monday night to celebrate the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America’s big milestone.

FDRA President Matt Priest said, “FDRA’s 70th anniversary was a great success and marked a moment when the top executives in our industry came together to celebrate their association, as well as the accomplishments of their peers.”

Reflecting on the future, Priest noted the organization remains the nexus for business intelligence and advocacy, as it continues to expand its footprint in the U.S.

The event included a presentation of the FDRA’s Annual Achievement Awards, which recognized the people and companies leading the industry today. 

Greg Tunney, chairman and president of FDRA, and CEO of R.G. Barry Corp., handed the Distinguished Leadership Award to Jim Issler, president and CEO of H.H. Brown. He lauded Issler for his efforts to transform the group into a more modern and professional trade association.

“Jim Issler created the foundation for the modern FDRA. He streamlined the organization, enhanced its services and expanded membership from U.S. footwear companies to international brands and factories,” Tunney said. “Jim is one of the key reasons why FDRA is the largest and most respected footwear trade association in America.

Elsewhere, Kmart earned FDRA’s Annual Sales Survey Award for the self-service category, and H.H. Brown netted the Annual Sales Survey Award for the full-service category. The honors are based on weekly sales data provided to the association by major footwear retailers.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. won FDRA’s Advocate of the Year Award, given to the company most committed to advancing the interests of the footwear industry in Washington, D.C.

Cole Haan nabbed Digital Marketer of the Year for its approach to attracting and engaging consumers, while Merrell earned the Brand Focus Award for its ability to cultivate a strong industry following.