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Staff

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Matt Priest, President & CEO

Matt Priest is the President & CEO of the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), the largest and most effective footwear association in the United States.  In this role, Matt serves as the executive in charge of FDRA’s day-to-day operations ensuring the association meets and exceeds its goal to be the footwear industry’s business and trade association.

Before joining FDRA in February 2009, Matt served as Senior Advisor to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles and Apparel at the U.S. Department of Commerce. As deputy assistant secretary, he oversaw programs and strategies to improve the domestic and international competitiveness of the U.S. footwear, fiber, textiles, and apparel industries. Matt was also Chairman of the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA), which determines when market-disrupting factors exist in the domestic fiber, textiles and apparel marketplace. Previously, Matt served as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Import Administration at the Commerce Department, where he advised the assistant secretary on textile and trade issues. Prior to his appointment, Matt was Legislative Director for Representative Sue Myrick of North Carolina, where he was an advisor in the areas of textiles, trade, and economic development.

In addition to his role as President and CEO of FDRA, Matt is a member of the Board of Directors at the Fashion Footwear Association of New York (FFANY) and Soles4Souls.  He also serves on the Industry Advisory Board at the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.  He has also served as an Executive in Residence at the College of Textiles and often guest lectures at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.  Matt is also an honorary member of the Footwear Youth Leadership Group of the Taiwan Footwear Manufacturers Association.  Matt earned his BA in political science from North Carolina State University. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Northern Virginia. CONTACT MATT

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Andy Polk, Senior Vice President

Andy Polk is Senior Vice President at FDRA.  He leads the footwear industry’s sustainability and innovation working groups and programs, helping brands successfully digitize (3D design, development and manufacturing) their supply chains and practically reduce their environmental footprint.  Polk oversees FDRA’s communications, marketing, reports, newsletters, events, member services and outreach.  He also leads the associations efforts to strategically develop and launch new value-add products, services and professional development to help the industry on key challenges.

Prior to FDRA he earned his Masters in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). At the LSE, he studied global economics, foreign policy, and social shifts occurring inside states and across borders.  He focused more specifically on China’s domestic politics and foreign policy, and received a distinction for his dissertation on how China’s rise is changing the balance of power in the Persian Gulf.  Previously, Polk served as U.S. Representative Sue Myrick’s Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor from 2008 to 2011. Polk also served as Myrick’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs from 2003 to 2008 where he developed and directed global communications strategies and campaigns, organized press conferences, wrote speeches and editorials. Polk earned his BA in Business Administration and Political Science from Gardner-Webb University.

In addition to his role at FDRA, Polk is the founder of Advocacy Help Desk – a visionary media program focused on helping government relations professionals in Washington better fight for their cause through innovative advocacy. Polk is a rabid football (soccer) fan and travels the world to watch matches; he is a diehard Tottenham Hotspur supporter. He lives in Northern Virginia with his beautiful wife Kelly and baby girls Charlotte Avery and Ava AnnMarie. CONTACT ANDY

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Thomas Crockett, Vice President, Government Affairs

Thomas Crockett joined FDRA in January 2015, after working in the office of Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL)  from 2010 until 2015, where he served as Legislative Counsel. As Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs, he is responsible for managing FDRA’s advocacy on issues impacting the footwear industry, including U.S. international trade policy, global trade barriers, customs, and product safety.

During his time on the Hill, Thomas oversaw the issues of trade, foreign relations, transportation, government reform, and immigration for the Congressman. Before working on Capitol Hill, he served as Deputy District Attorney in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Thomas received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Auburn University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama, bringing important critical thought and analytical skills to FDRA. CONTACT THOMAS

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Sandi Mines, Vice President, Corporate Engagement

Sandi joined FDRA in December 2021, bringing passion for the industry as well as invaluable and immense experience to the FDRA team and membership. She works directly with FDRA members and the broader footwear industry to develop key initiatives and events singularly focused on driving continued value for shoe companies and their employees. Her role also includes ensuring the continued vibrancy of FFANY New York Market Weeks. Sandi is a key leader in the footwear industry and highly respected from her work at Footwear News. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Ithaca College and her Masters degree at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Sandi lives in New York with her husband and three incredible children. CONTACT SANDI

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Sabria Butler, Marketing and Events Manager

Sabria joined FDRA in November 2019 as our Marketing & Events Assistant. In her role, she provides administrative, marketing, and events support. Sabria is a native of the DC metropolitan area and a graduate of Virginia State University with a B.A. in Mass Communications. While Sabria isn’t working, she is most likely visiting cool art museums locally and abroad, or surfing the web for the latest sneaker releases. CONTACT SABRIA

Gary-Raines

Gary Raines, Chief Economist

Gary Raines serves as an economic and statistical consultant to FDRA, where he produces the organization’s research into issues affecting the footwear supply chain. He analyzes trends in commodity prices, foreign trade, manufacturing, retail, and consumer sentiment that impact the markets for footwear to help FDRA members make more informed decisions to boost their bottom lines. Gary has a quarter century of experience in risk management, supply chain analysis, forecasting, and economic modeling.  Previously, he was the Chief Economist, Fibers & Textiles at INTL FCStone from 2008–2015, and before that was Manager, Economics and Analysis at Cotton Incorporated from 2000–2008.  Gary holds an undergraduate degree in Economics, a minor in Statistics, and two Master’s degrees in Economics and Textile & Apparel Technology Management, all from North Carolina State University.  He also is a licensed commodity futures and options trader.  He is an Eagle Scout and volunteers as a Boy Scout & Cub Scout leader. CONTACT GARY

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Ashley Moore, Graphic Designer

Ashley is the visual heart and soul of FDRA, serving as the association’s creative force for all its print and digital materials. She maintains current member content through fdra.org and our external websites showcasing FDRA offerings, and consistently drives fresh and engaging designs for all of FDRA’s many events, publications, ads, logos, and multimedia. Ashley has B.A.s in Graphic Design and Advertising and over 20 years of experience in visual communications for corporate, non-profit, and associations. Her fingerprints—or shall we say—footprints, can be found on every creative visual FDRA publishes.

JOHN-PELLEGRINI

John Pellegrini, FDRA Customs Counsel

Considered THE footwear duties expert by many CEOs, John has 40+ years in dealing with footwear customs duties.  His practice is concentrated on the regulatory and commercial aspects of international trade. He represents clients with respect to government regulation of the import-export trade, duty planning, and admissibility requirements to name just a few. His clients include multinationals, general merchandise retailers, importers, exporters, domestic and foreign manufacturers, commission agents, trade associations, and international marketing companies.

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Mark Feldman, Footwear Trade, Distribution and Customs Conference (FTDC) Chairman & Events Advisor

Mark Feldman brings 28 years of footwear import and management experience to FDRA events and initiatives. Mark directs operations for Valley Lane Industries and offers his consulting services to the import community.  He has devoted considerable time to FDRA activities since 2006, specifically the Footwear Trade Distribution and Customs (FTDC) Conference and the FDRA annual executive summit.  In his role as conference chairman, Mark oversees site selection, agenda development, sponsorship solicitation, and a myriad of related duties. Mark encourages conference attendees to engage themselves in FDRA activity, and at the same time, understands and exchanges ideas on the movement of goods and services to better serve their corporate efforts.