The National Shooting Sports Foundation recently honored two research professionals for their longtime contributions to industry.
Mark Damian Duda of Responsive Management and Rob Southwick of Southwick Associates each received hand-carved walnut wildlife statues from Jim Curcuruto, NSSF’s director of industry research, in recognition for their groundbreaking research projects. NSSF said their work provides the foundation for many NSSF programs and has helped make NSSF’s research department an indispensable resource for media, legislators and its 6,000 members.
“The awards are well deserved. NSSF research would not be where it is today without them.”
The honors were presented at the Shooting Sports Summit, which is taking place today and tomorrow in Louisville, KY. Leaders from the firearms industry and conservation fields are discussing the findings of a new joint research project by Responsive Management and Southwick Associates. The project focused on activities that compete with hunting and target shooting.
“Responsive Management is very appreciative of the opportunity to have worked with the NSSF for more than 20 years, and I am honored to be given this award,” said Duda. “It is especially gratifying to be recognized by the NSSF, as I have always found them to be one of the best run organizations we have ever worked for. In accepting this award, I want to acknowledge the contributions and support of my entire staff at Responsive Management.”
Said Southwick, “Helping develop the NSSF’s trade statistics program has been professionally rewarding and fun. The NSSF has provided us the support needed to develop new research tools that help companies boost profits and increase hunting and shooting sports participation. We are sincerely grateful to the NSSF for its recognition and for the opportunity to serve the industry.”
Duda is executive director of Harrisonburg, VA-based Responsive Management, which has conducted more than 500 studies on how people relate to the outdoors, including almost 200 studies on hunting, fishing and shooting participation. His work has been featured in numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and on the front pages of The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He is the author of four books on wildlife, including the newly released “The Sportsman’s Voice: Hunting and Fishing in America.” Duda holds a masters degree from Yale University in natural resource policy and planning.
Recently, Responsive Management partnered with NSSF to produce one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever conducted on hunting and the shooting sports, “The Future of Hunting and the Shooting Sports: Research-Based Recruitment and Retention Strategies.” This report was at the core of the 2008 Shooting Sports Summit and became the impetus for NSSF’s Task Force 20/20, currently the largest hunting recruitment-and-retention effort underway. Duda has presented this research to the Secretary of Interior and the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council.
Southwick, a University of Florida graduate, founded Southwick Associates in 1990 and for the last 21 years has been a leader in wildlife economics, statistics and market evaluations for the hunting and shooting sports industry.
His Fernandina Beach, FL-based firm has worked directly with most state wildlife agencies to help them communicate the economic importance of hunting and fishing and how to improve license structures and pricing. For industry, Southwick Associates helps individual companies understand their place in the market, identify new products and sales opportunities, and improve efficiencies and boost profits.
Southwick has helped NSSF grow its trade statistics program through both long-range and special one-time research projects. These efforts have benefited NSSF’s First Shots introduction-to-shooting program and Models of Success effort that seeks to introduce newcomers to hunting and target shooting.
High points in Southwick Associates work for NSSF have been developing the first index of hunting license sales, tracking of shooting range activities and trends, the first estimates of lifetime expenditures expected from new hunters and target shooters, the first annual survey of firearms retailers to identify trends and, last year, a groundbreaking study that identified hunter churn rates and described their lifestyles, the findings of which will help guide recruitment-and-retention efforts for years to come.