AFFTA Board Candidate: Rick Crawford

AFFTA Board Candidate: Rick Crawford
Rick Crawford
I am proud to announce that I am a candidate for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) Board of Directors.  Ever since I read Let My People Go Surfing, which happened to be around the time I discovered and fell and in love with fly fishing, I have been looking for a way to marry my passion for fly fishing and sustainability.

A buttery Beaverhead Brown.

I knew that the intersection of sustainability and fly fishing was where I was supposed to be, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make that happen.  So, I went back to school and earned an MBA in Sustainable Business from Marylhurst University, and I set out to run down my dream.


I worked a variety of jobs while earning my MBA in Sustainable Business, including installing solar panels and working for Wyoming Game & Fish as an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Technician.  It was on the roadside of US 191 in Jackson, WY, right next to the famous Flat Creek, and in between inspecting boats for zebra mussels, that me and a friend of mine kicked around many ideas about trying to design a sustainable fly fishing product.  We had a few good ideas, but nothing came to fruition.  That said, it was another “moment” that made me realize that there was something to marrying fly fishing and sustainability, but I suppose the timing wasn’t quite right yet.

Rick Crawford (far right) installing solar panels in Jackson, WY.

I had to make the difficult decision to move back to Savannah, GA (where I am from) from the paradise of Jackson, WY to get a “real job” after graduating with an MBA in Sustainable Business in 2011.  So, I went to work at a biodiesel manufacturing facility, which, as you can imagine, smelled like roses in the lowcountry heat!  Anyways, during this time (2011-2013), I was a Board Member of Coastal Conservation Association – Savannah Chapter, and as the Conservation & Habitat Chair, was part of a team that successfully achieved gamefish status for redfish in the state of Georgia.  We invited state representatives to attend a viewing of “Redfish Can’t Jump” so that they better understood the importance of redfish to our State and the conservation issues surrounding redfish.  When HB-36 was passed, I began to see the role that policy played in our fisheries, as well as  how a little awareness about a problem could create positive change.  I also learned the value of collaboration and working towards common goals.  For example, while serving as the Conservation & Habitat Chair, the Savannah Chapter partnered with Georgia DNR to establish oyster shell recycling drop off locations.  We then held volunteer bagging events and created new oyster reefs, which not only helped to clean our waters, but enhanced our fishery.   I am proud to have accomplished so much for my home state, but as fate would have it, I would move to Charleston, SC in 2014 to work for another sustainability start-up.

Recycled oyster shells, bagged and ready to create new oyster beds!

 Well, long story short, I never quit thinking of ways to marry fly fishing and sustainability, and after a series of failed start-ups in the sustainability field decided it was time to jump of the cliff and see where I landed on the way down.  So, I launched Emerger Strategies in 2016 and we help companies in the fly-fishing industry to minimize their environmental impact, and then turn their sustainability achievements into powerful marketing stories.

Since launching my company, I have had some incredible opportunities to bring sustainability to the fly-fishing industry, including: helping Flood Tide Company and Rep Your Water minimize the environmental impact of their operations, as well as hosting a Sustainable Business Practices in a Changing Climate Environment Seminar at IFTD this year.  I suppose you could already say that my dream has come true, and I am humbled and grateful for that.  That said, I am also running to be on the Board of Directors for AFFTA so that I can continue to run down my dream of marrying fly fishing and sustainability, and give back to the sport that has given me so much.

If you are an AFFTA Member, I would greatly appreciate your consideration.  I am just thrilled to be considered, so thank you for the opportunity!

Most Sincerely,

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