053: Luis Benitez- Luis Benitez’s outdoor and government experience began at a young age, he tells us all about it on this episode

November 23, 2017

Show Notes

First Exposure to the Outdoors

You know I tell people all the time that I was lucky enough to grow up in the outdoor industry and it's really true. My American grandfather, dad's from Ecuador mom's from the United States, my American grandfather owned a sporting goods store. A small specialty fly fishing bird hunting shop that was literally right down the road from my grade school. You know those pictures that you see from the olden days, I would walk a quarter mile down the road my grandfather's shop every day on ice before school and my parents he liked to pick me up after they got off of work. What I really learned at a very young age other than just specialty family-owned retail was that these places in these spaces were really convening spots for folks to talk about things that they loved the most. My grandfather had the normal core customers but those core customers loved spending time in the shop to talk about fishing, hunting, hiking, and boating. He was one of the original Orvis dealerships so if you know anything about fly-fishing that was a fairly significant brand back in those days. So to hang out with some of his old cronies at a really early age and realized that all these folks love talking about policy and access and conservation and stewardship, that was my start.

Things we talked about

Outward Bound

Warriors to Summits

Trekking for kids

Colorado Outdoor Office of Recreation: Economic Development, Conservation and Stewardship, Education and Workforce Training, Public Health and Wellness

Outdoor Research– Dan Nordstrom

Camber Outdoor Job Board

Advice, tips

I think it's on all of us as leaders within the industry to make sure people know what's out there. Number one a lot of people younger folks that I talk to think a lot of these jobs it's kind of a wizard behind the curtain. I'd love to be a ski or snowboard shaper but I don't know, do I just call a ski company and ask them? I mean I think that's been the journey up to this point you used to have to hack your way in. I think what the responsibilities of officers like mine and I talk to a lot of my counterparts is that we need to educate everybody about how deep and wide our ecosystem is. So if you have a searchable database that has every outdoor company and nonprofit listed, which we have in Colorado and it's constantly being built bigger and bigger. A young student can go in to be like okay I got a list of fifteen different ski companies. Much like folks wanting to start out their career, they know what their landscape looks like in the backyard. With a little bit of knowledge and then access to some senior level folks, you know you got to get out there. Invite CEOs,  not to a closed-door session where you know the general population can't attend but open door sessions where anybody that wants to comment is interested can do a little networking, professionally exchange emails and ideas. We are really working hard to create that ecosystem here so people feel like A they understand that it's an inclusive environment and economy and B they can start to define what a career path could or should look like.

Other Outdoor Activities

Luis does it all

Favorite Books

Undaunted Courage by Steven Ambrose

Everest, West Ridge by Tom Hornbein

Best Gear Purchase under $100

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Connect with Luis

you can follow Luis and the Colorado Office of Outdoor Recreation on Twitter @CoRecIndustry

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