Ol25_garyloomis_120G. Loomis founder, and 2007 OL 25 finalist in the Leaders category, Gary Loomis has announced his retirement from the company he started in 1982.

Below is the press release detailing Loomis’ decision, future plans and accomplishments:

WOODLAND, Wash.—Since selling his fishing rod company in 1997 to Shimano American Corporation, Gary Loomis has spent the last eleven years at G.Loomis, Inc. in a promotional capacity and assisting when needed on new rod designs. Now, Loomis has decided it is time to move on and focus on other interests, including several conservation projects in which he’s involved. He founded Fish First, a group dedicated to restoring salmon runs in his home state of Washington in 1995, and was the driving force in bringing the first chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association to the West Coast.

“I have nothing but many great memories and a lot of pride in our achievements here at G.Loomis,” said an emotional Loomis, as he addressed all of his employees at a recent company-wide meeting in the Woodland, Washington facility to announce his retirement. “I probably should have left a long time ago, but I really love the company and the people here so it seemed like the best thing for me to do. Other interests along with Fish First and the CCA have all been competing for my time. I spent the past eleven years helping promote G.Loomis. It carries my name and means a lot to me. I’ll always be a part of the team. G.Loomis is in good hands and headed in the right direction. As hard as this decision was, I know it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter in my life. With all of these other projects on my plate, I feel it’s in my best interest as well as G.Loomis’ to leave at this time.”

“Gary is a dynamic individual that has a huge interest in saving our salmon,” says Bruce Holt, Executive Director at G.Loomis, “but more importantly he is a friend. I know he’s retiring from here with mixed emotions, but knowing Gary, it’s the best thing for him to do. Having worked, hunted and fished with him over the years, it will seem strange that he’s not in his office across the room, but I know where his heart will always be. He now has the time to focus his attention into his most recent challenge and that’s saving the salmon.”

Because of his efforts with both fishing rods at G.Loomis and his very active conservation efforts, Loomis has received various acknowledgements over the years. Recently, he’s been inducted into the International Game Fish Association’s Hall of Fame, was named one the top 25 ‘people who have changed the face of hunting and fishing’ by Outdoor Life magazine, and Field & Stream magazine recognized Loomis’ work with Fish First with its ‘Heroes of Conservation’ honor. In 2005, he received the ‘Future of Fishing’ award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the American Sportfishing Association.