Since 1980, Russell Zimmerman has owned and operated the Spark’s Shoes retail chain with his wife, Marion. Spark’s Shoes is a 75 year old family business specialising in the fitting of children’s footwear.
Russell became a Councillor of the Australian Retailers Association, New South Wales Division in 1995. He held the position of President of the NSW State Division from 2001-03. From 1997 he held was state delegate to the Australian Retailers Association National Council. He served as President of the Australian Retailers Association National Council from 2003-04. These positions were held in an honorary capacity.
As National President of the Australian Retailers Association he represented Australian retail at the Federation of Asian Retailers Association in New Zealand, Beijing and Australia.
Being involved in a small business, Russell brings a closer perspective of day to day issues as he has been in close contact with staff and customers as well as having dealt with the managerial issues of operating and financing a Small Medium Enterprise.
In 2005 Russell became Chair of the Australian Merchants Payment Forum (AMPF). The Australian Merchants Payment Forum represents merchants in Australia by liaising with the Reserve Bank of Australia, card schemes, and other interested parties on all card payment issues.
As a result of having run his own retail outlets, Russell has an overall view of all types of card payment transactions and issues that confront retailers, irrespective of size of the merchant from the front of store to the back room workings.
Russell is an active member of the Rotary Club of Beecroft and has held various positions on its board. In 1990 he was honoured as a Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Club for service to the community, and has subsequently received two further Sapphire Paul Harris pins. Russell is a devoted family man, married to Marion. They have a son and a married daughter.
Russell was appointed Executive Director of the ARA on July 7, 2009.