Brownells 75th Anniversary - A Shooting Heritage

Executive Bios

Executive Team


Frank Brownell – Co-Chairman of the Board
Brownells, Inc. – Montezuma, Iowa

Frank R. Brownell III, named after his father and grandfather, was born June 24, 1939, the same year his father, Bob, founded Brownells, Inc.  Throughout his youth, Frank helped his father however he could in the fledgling business, from folding newsletters, helping run the printing press and hand-assembling catalogs, to packing orders and hauling mail.  He attended the University of Iowa, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1961 with a degree in Advertising in the School of Journalism.

After college, Frank attended Naval Officers Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.  Following commissioning, he served aboard the U.S.S. Caliente, AO-53, a fleet oiler home-ported in San Pedro, California, in various capacities including Legal Officer, Gunnery Officer, Assistant Deck Officer, Navigator and Assistant Operations Officer.  Leaving active duty in 1964 as a Lt.JG., Frank was promoted to Lieutenant in 1966 while serving with the U.S. Naval Reserves.

In August of 1964, Frank returned to the family business where he began work in Brownells' catalog department writing copy and assembling the catalog for publication.  One of his first major assignments was to assemble the first volume of the now-famous Gunsmith Kinks books, a collection of how-to tricks from Bob's well-known newsletters.  Today, the Gunsmith Kinks collection boasts four volumes, all edited by Frank, and is still considered must-have literature for any gunsmith.

Since then, Frank fulfilled many duties within the company before being appointed President/CEO in 1987, and later Chairman/CEO in 1991.  Through his focus on quality customer service, process improvement and growing technology, the company grew exponentially to become known as The World's Largest Supplier of Firearms Accessories and Gunsmithing Tools™.

In 2008, Frank led the Board in appointing his son, Pete, President of Brownells, and later CEO in 2012.  Frank, with nearly 50 years in the family business, continues to be active full-time, and serves as Co-Chairman of the Board.

Named Shooting Industry Magazine's "Man of The Year" in 2006, he is an endowment member of the NRA, serves on the NRA's Youth Programs Committee, supports the NRA Ambassadors Committee, is the President of the NRA Foundation, sits on the Whittington Center's Board of Trustees, and is an active member of more than 30 other firearms industry-related associations and guilds.

Outside the industry, Frank has served on the Montezuma, Iowa, City Council since 1966 and is active with a number of boards, foundations and councils ranging from church groups, youth homes and collegiate institutions to public safety, hospitals and civic organizations.  As time allows, Frank is an avid outdoorsman who delights in prairie dog and big game hunting and fly fishing.

Frank and his late wife, Nancy, have three very successful sons, Bob, Pete and Matt, and six grandchildren. 


Pete Brownell – Co-Chairman of the Board
Brownells, Inc. – Montezuma, Iowa

Pete Brownell is the Co-Chairman of Brownells, Inc. and the privately held Second Adventure Group holdings company. For decades, Brownells, Inc. was a recognized niche-specific supplier of gunsmithing tools and accessories, but in the third generation of family leadership has grown tenfold into an international company known for firearms, firearm parts, accessories and ammunition. Mr. Brownell has led numerous acquisitions including the wholesalers Crow Shooting Supply and W.L. Baumler Co, precision shooting instruments manufacturer and retailer Sinclair International, and the retailer Gamaliel Shooting Supply. The Brownell Family of Companies’ five brands serves shooters, hunters, gunsmiths and retailers worldwide.

Mr. Brownell is the past President of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), and a Member of the NRA Board of Directors, Chair of the Membership Committee and Vice Chair of the Sport Shooting Committee. He has served on the Finance, Law Enforcement, Meeting Site Selection and Publications Policies Committees and the Task Force on Industry Relations/ Investment Oversight Subcommittee.

Brownell is also former Chairman of the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW), is a past Trustee of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff Foundation Board, and was appointed by the Governor to the Iowa Economic Development Authority. He is active in the Grand National Quail Club, Pheasants Forever Strategic Leadership Group, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Safari Club International.

An Iowa native, Mr. Brownell holds business and master’s degrees from the University of Iowa.