“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. The celebration displayed how FDRA represents the entirety of the industry, including nearly every top company and hundreds of brands, and how FDRA continues to be the nexus of the industry for business intelligence and advocacy,” said FDRA President Matt Priest.

Priest added, “I want to congratulate Kmart and H.H. Brown for earning FDRA’s 2013 Sales Survey Awards against fierce competition. Merrell and Cole Haan also deserve recognition for their efforts to enhance relations with their customers and drive brand loyalty. What a great accomplishment for these industry leaders. FDRA also recognised Wolverine Worldwide for their tireless efforts in Washington, DC to lower footwear duties on behalf of consumers and the industry.”

The highlight of the evening was when Jim Issler, President and CEO of H.H. Brown, was awarded FDRA’s highest honour, the Distinguished Leadership Award. The award was presented by current FDRA Chairman Greg Tunney, President and CEO of R.G. Barry Brands, and was given for Issler’s transformation of FDRA into a modern, professional trade association that continues to grow exponentially.

¬†“Jim Issler created the foundation for the modern FDRA. He streamlined the organisation, enhanced its services, and expanded membership from US footwear companies to international brands and factories,” said FDRA Chairman, and CEO of RG Barry Brands, Greg Tunney. “Jim is one of the key reasons why FDRA is the largest and most respected footwear trade association in America. No one deserves FDRA’s highest honor more than him.”

FDRA award winners

Kmart earned FDRA’s 2013 annual sales survey award for the self-service category. H.H. Brown earned FDRA’s annual sales survey award for the full service category. FDRA’s sales survey awards are based on weekly sales data provided by major footwear retailers; covering more than 11,000 stores.

Wolverine Worldwide was awarded FDRA’s Advocate of the Year award as the company who worked the hardest to advance the footwear industry’s cause in Washington, DC in 2013.

Selected by digital marketing firm Hyperbolic, Cole Haan was awarded the Digital Marketer of the Year for their innovative approach to attracting and engaging consumers through digital media.

Based on an NPD Group footwear brand loyalty survey of 10,000 consumers, Merrell was awarded Brand Focus Award for its ability to cultivate the industry’s strongest following among its customers.

Mark Feldman of Valley Lane Industries was awarded FDRA’s Outstanding Service Award for his tireless efforts to promote and enhance the industry’s largest educational program, the annual Footwear Traffic, Distribution and Customs (FTDC) conference.

Jim Issler, President and CEO of H.H. Brown, was awarded FDRA’s Distinguished Leadership Award.