Combining NDA and QDMA is Good News for Deer and Hunters
As I’m sure you’ve learned by now, NDA and QDMA announced that the two groups will merge to form a single entity to serve deer, hunters, and the hunting industry. I will serve as the CEO of the newly formed organization, and I am both honored and humbled to be selected for this great opportunity. I wanted to offer some of my personal feelings about this change as the finer details have already been shared in an article we posted yesterday as well as this questions and answers article.
When the idea first emerged about a closer working relationship between the two groups, my immediate thoughts went to our missions and how we could best accomplish them. As conversations progressed over the next few weeks, it was exciting to learn that all of us shared that focus. We checked ourselves every step of the way to make sure what we were doing would be for the greatest benefit of deer, and that continues as we work toward formal unification.
It’s hard to believe that five years has passed since NDA announced it was looking to hire its first president and CEO, and given I didn’t intend to apply for the job initially, I would have never believed then what I know now about how far we’ve come together. While the idea for NDA started with a QDMA-led initiative and many questioned whether the groups should have been separate in the first place, I think it played out how it was meant to. NDA is an Alliance of primarily national deer non-profit organizations, the hunting industry, and state wildlife agencies – those who drive policy and programs related to all deer. That model has proven to be effective, and it has allowed us to learn a lot about how much can be accomplished with a focus on mission, and not organizational growth.
Over the last five years NDA was able to increase its footprint and make a tangible impact on policy that impacts deer, hunters, and industry. The biggest example of this is NDA’s work on chronic wasting disease as the organization has become a national leader when it comes to education and outreach about the disease. As part of this work I had the opportunity to testify in front of two congressional committees and present at countless meetings on the subject, and we’re now leading a national CWD outreach campaign with support from the Pennsylvania Wildlife Futures Program and two private foundations. In addition, we’ve been involved with more than 200 state or federal bills and other policy matters.
The marrying of NDA’s policy prowess with QDMA’s great work ranging from boots on the ground conservation programs to recruiting hunters through the Field to Fork Program just makes sense at a time when many of our conservation organizations reinventing themselves. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of our partners to evaluate how they do business and we are no different. We are making this change to do more for deer and hunters than ever before, but in a more efficient and focused way. Our combined team and boards of directors are excited about what lies ahead, and I hope you are too.
The process of joining the two organizations will play out over the next several weeks as we engage in strategic planning and handle other related business to formalize the relationship. In the meantime, I will proudly continue as the president and CEO of NDA while we advance the many initiatives we’re working on. We will do our best to keep you updated throughout the process, and I welcome your thoughts and suggestions as we move forward. I appreciate your support of NDA and am hopeful that you’ll continue to engage with us on important matters that impact deer and our hunting heritage.