Heroes of ICAST: John Mazurkiewicz

John Mazurkiewicz describes his job as shining the light on other people and products, so he’s not entirely comfortable talking about himself. But he consents to spending a little time with me in the midst of Shimano’s very busy ICAST booth.

Mazurkiewicz, through his business Catalyst Marketing, has done media relations for Shimano for nearly 30 years, and for G.Loomis, PowerPro and Jackall during some of that time as well. He also serves as Chairman of American Sportsfishing Association’s (ASA) Communications Committee. 

Based in South Bend, Indiana, Mazurkiewicz works with editors from big publications like Bassmaster magazine to small websites such as Midcurrent.com, getting them the gear and information they need to produce content about his clients. That means working with a pretty demanding crowd of radio, TV, newspaper, website and magazine people. 

“The most important parts of my job are connections and knowing the right people,” he says. “I know the products well enough, but I’m not an expert. I connect media to the experts.” He also believes it’s very important to respond quickly to every inquiry. “I get upset if it takes me two days to get back to someone.”

I asked Mazurkiewicz what in his job had changed the most in the last couple of decades.

“Everything is instant now. It used to be we released our new product information the first morning of ICAST, this week, and the products weren’t going to be available to the public until November or December. Now I’m sending new product information out in May because David Hunter Jones (gear editor for Bassmaster.com) is hounding me,” he says with a smile. “And we’ll have the products in the market in July or early August.”

As if his Shimano work wasn’t enough, Mazurkiewicz's role with ASA includes coordinating the 9-person Communications Committee and advising ASA’s Communications Director MJ Williamson on issues and opportunities. On the family front, Mazurkiewicz's wife is a senior executive of an auto glass company and together they have a 16-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. He proudly talked about his son already attending three Bassmaster Classics and his daughter recently learning to use a baitcasting reel.

When I commented on his plate being full, Mazurkiewicz replied, “Don’t tell my bosses, but I really have a pretty easy job. I work for some of the best brands in the business. We sell everything you need in fishing—rods, reels, line and lures. I bleed Shimano blue, and have for a long time.”

I asked Mazurkiewicz for his take on the future of the fishing industry.

“In Northern Indiana where I live the economy is improving, gas prices are coming down, and the companies that make boats and RVs are doing well. When the RV companies are doing well, that means people are spending discretionary dollars, and that’s good for the tackle industry. I see nothing but positive signs ahead.”