Silver Spring, MD – Matt Menashes, President and CEO of the Paddlesports Industry Association (PIA), has announced that he will be leaving PIA in November to head an environmental association based in Washington, DC. PIA is the largest trade association of paddlesport companies in the world, and what that means, is the organization represents nearly 1300 companies that rent boats, outfit, sell or manufacture equipment and accessories. They serve as the link between paddlesports businesses and the public while acting as a unified body, like a lobby, to speak for the best interests of the paddle sports business community.
Menashes was hired as Executive Director of the Professional Paddlesports Association in December 2000. During his tenure, Menashes oversaw the rebranding of the association as the Paddlesports Industry Association, developed the association’s communications and membership systems, led the revision of the association’s bylaws, created the Certified Paddlesports Professional program and the Whitewater Courses and Parks conference series, and launched the National School for Paddlesports Business. In addition, Menashes worked to create the Paddlesports Industry Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable association on whose board he will continue to serve as a volunteer.
“It’s been a wonderful time serving the paddlesports industry. Our board and I set out eight years ago to build a trade association that met the needs of its members while pursuing industry-wide goals for growing participation, improving professional development and increasing safety. We’ve had some great successes doing that. And now we’re finishing up our last priority of unifying the paddlesports industry. I have always felt that bringing outfitters, retailers, and manufacturers together was the best way to pursue industry goals and I am proud that we’re close to completing that goal.
I think PIA reached a level of excellence through effective communication, continuous improvements in governance, and building relationships with leaders in all sectors of the industry,” said Menashes. “I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished together. And I look forward to seeing what the industry can do together over the next few years.”
Menashes positioned PIA as a leader in establishing voluntary manufacturing standards for canoes and kayaks, and in promoting the paddlesports industry to beginning paddlers through the industry-wide cooperative marketing program “Let’s Go Paddle.”
“It is with the deepest respect and best wishes on behalf of PIA and its board of directors that we bid farewell to Matt. He has served our association and industry with diligence and integrity,” said PIA Chairman Robert “Bear” Bass. “His efforts are greatly appreciated. Matt’s had to deal with some rough roads, but he got us through the journey. My hat’s off to him. We’ll miss him.”
“Matt fought for change in the paddlesports world, and we’ll miss his energy,” said Joe Pulliam, PIA’s senior consultant. “His vision of one trade organization representing all paddlesports business is spot-on and we need to make this happen. I wish Matt all the best in his new venture.”
Menashes will be executive director of the National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA). Before joining PIA, Menashes worked for the federal government on coastal and marine policy issues. He has a master’s degree in marine policy from the University of Delaware. Menashes previously was communications director for U.S. Representative George E. Brown, Jr. He also served on the staff of U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr.