FDRA Recognizes Wolverine, Shoe Carnival & More at Annual Executive Summit

The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America just wrapped up its annual executive summit in Washington, D.C. — and as part of the festivities, the lobbying group recognized a number of key industry companies and executives.

“We recognize a number of players every year, particularly in sales and advocacy, as we think it’s important to recognize the hard work that a lot of consumers don’t get to see,” said Matt Priest, president and CEO of FDRA.

Wolverine World Wide was lauded as the 2018 sales survey top performer, while Shoe Carnival was honored as the e-commerce top performer.

“This year we awarded our first e-commerce award, as e-commerce is having such a big impact right now,” Priest said. “They have turned their retail stores effectively into mini distribution centers.”

Each year, FDRA recognizes friends of the footwear industry. This year, the honor went to Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc). for their leadership in promoting international trade to strengthen the U.S. economy.

Outgoing FDRA chairman Ed Rosenfeld, the CEO of Steve Madden, got props for his leadership and dedication to the organization during his two-year term. “He’s a mentor, a friend and so well-respected in the industry. He’s very even-keeled and navigates in a very thoughtful and strategic way,” Priest said.

Other awards included: Columbia Sportswear, which was the 2018 advocate of the year for its work in pushing for lower shoe costs for consumers and the industry. Eric Harrisonof The J. Renee Group was honored as 2018 individual advocate of the year for his efforts in advocating for lower shoes costs. Jeffrey Solomon of SG Footwear, was named FDRA’s 2018 Footwear Collaborator of the Year for his service to FDRA and the entire industry.

FDRA also welcomed incoming chairman Mike Jeppesen, president of the heritage brands group and global operations group at Wolverine. “He’s a strategic and critical thinker, especially about how to run an organization during a period of change.
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