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J. Thomas Weyant Award

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NRF created the J. Thomas Weyant award, named for a former president of the Pennsylvania Retailers Association, in 1995 to honor individuals who have devoted their careers to leading state retail associations and advocating for the retail industry.

The award is presented at NRF's annual Retail Advocates Summit.

2018 Honoree

This year's J. Thomas Weyant Award was presented to Retail Association of Maine President and CEO Curtis Picard.

Picard has been an active voice for retailers in the state, leading their advocacy efforts to lower credit and debit card swipe fees, supporting the online collection of sales tax, and establishing a partnership with the NRF Foundation’s RISE Up training and credentialing program to help state residents find careers in retail.

Read the press release to learn more and watch the video below.

NRF Honors the State Retail Association Executive of 2018

2017 Honoree

Nebraska Retail Federation President Jim Otto was honored as one of the nation’s top state retail association executives at Retail's Advocates Summit 2017. 

Otto has been president of the Nebraska association since 2002, lobbying on a wide variety of issues before the state legislature and working closely with the state’s congressional delegation. Continue reading and watch the video below to learn more about Otto's contributions.

State Retail Association Executive of 2017
More past winners


South Dakota Retailers Association Executive Director Shawn Lyons was awarded the J. Thomas Weyant Award in 2016. 

“I wouldn’t call this his job — it’s more like his passion,” South Dakota state Senate Majority Leader Corey Brown said. “Shawn is always one of the first trying to organize groups to lobby on behalf of the business community.”

Representative Kristi Noem, R-S.D., praised Lyons for pushing Congress to pass legislation that would require online retailers to collect sales tax the same as local stores. Governor Dennis Daugaard said the SDRA has become “the most effective statewide business association” under Lyon’s leadership.

“When it comes to the economy, everything starts with retail,” Lyons said as he accepted the award. “I’m lucky to tell the message of retail. Yes, there are some challenges and some problem days that we have along the way, but I firmly believe that I am blessed to do this whether it be tomorrow on Capitol Hill or later in the week when we’re back in the states.”

Lyons has been president of the association since 2005 and serves as its chief lobbyist. He is responsible for leading involvement with both state and federal agencies, the South Dakota legislature and Congress. He is also responsible for the association’s full range of operations from hiring to programs.

Lyons has spent more than 20 years in local government and association work, including previous positions with the South Dakota Association of County Officials; the City of Huron, S.D.; Maricopa County, Ariz., and the Arizona Association of Counties.

Watch video.


Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst was honored as a top executive in 2015.

“I’m honored to be accepting this award and I’m looking forward to many more policy wins for the retail industry,” Hurst said. “When we’re facing the challenges that we are in this industry, it’s important to have retailers behind us on the local, state and federal levels.” 

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker praised Hurst’s work in a video played at the ceremony. “People take meetings with Jon, people engage with Jon, people believe that his opinion and the sector that he represents matter,” Baker said. “Even when he is in the midst of a heated debate where he’s coming at you from a completely different view than yours, he’s usually doing it with a smile on his face.”

Hurst has served as president of the Massachusetts association since 1990. As chief executive of the 3,200-member group, he manages staff, business affairs, member services, educational programs, public affairs and government relations. He is a former chairman of the National Association of State Retail Association Executives and a former member of the NRF Board of Directors.

Before joining the Massachusetts retailers, Hurst was manager of state government relations for Hershey Foods and served as public affairs director of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants after working as a legislative aide in the Ohio state House of Representatives.

Watch video.

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