Canoe Kentucky founder and co-owner Ed Councill has been named as CEO of the Paddlesports Industry Association (PIA) — a trade group representing canoe, kayak and raft manufacturers, retailers, outfitters and instructor programs across the US. Councill replaces Matt Menashes who served as CEO for the past eight years, and is leaving to lead a similar estuarine group representing U.S. estuaries like the Chesapeake and San Francisco bays.

Councill’s experience includes 20 years as a member of PIA and two years as Vice-President followed by two more as President. In addition, Canoe Kentucky has had a 28-year history of putting people on the most beautiful Kentucky streams and beyond. “I am humbled by the trust and confidence in my selection to head this group of outstanding paddlesports businessmen and women”, exclaimed Councill.

“Their faith that our organization will continue to both serve our members throughout the US and maintain leadership to grow the industry by getting more ‘butts in boats’ is an exciting challenge I am prepared to pursue,” he added. “PIA’s 30-year history makes it the leading association that represents the whole paddles-sport family of businesses: from the manufacturer’s floor, through distribution, retail, instruction/schools, and the outfitters that introduce Americans to a paddling lifestyle”, he explained.

The idea to offer the job to Councill was suggested from within the organiza-tion’s membership to fill the vacancy. “When the job seeks you, it is most gratifying and humbling at the same time”, Councill continued’; I can’t wait to hit the ground running today and those to come, although Matt will be a hard act to follow”.

The office will move from Washington, D.C. to Peaks Mill, a small village on the banks of Elkhorn Creek where Canoe Kentucky is headquartered. The next step is to assist with annual Board officer elections, updating the finances, over-seeing other staff/contracts that support the professional development school, the annual conference and trade show, and the high priority given to an industry-sup-ported national cooperative marketing program. Emphasis, however, will be given to enhancing member services, followed with coordinating with affiliated paddle-sports groups like the American Canoe Association, America Outdoors, the Outdoor Industry Association and the Trade Association for Paddlesports.

“Ed’s got a lot on his plate,” mused Board Chairman Robert “Bear” Bass of the Ozark Outdoors River Resort in Missouri; “but he has the full support and con-fidence of an outstanding Board of Directors and the membership as well. PIA is in good hands”.