019: Kenji Haroutunian- A climber and show executive becomes an advocate for public lands

August 03, 2017

This episode is with Kenji Haroutunian. Kenji has a distinguished career in the Outdoor Biz. He currently runs his firm Kenji consults and is President of Friends of Joshua Tree and on the Access Fund board. We talk about his career and the battle for public lands.

Show Notes


Grew up in LA and parents were not outdoor folks. Joined the Scouts as a Webelo and was “eye popped” by the local mountains, trails and Camp Slauson, Camp Josepho and Vasquez Rocks.

first exposure to the outdoors

was camping with his local Webelo troop.

Things we talked about

Quit his job in the grocery business and took a 70% percent pay cut to join A16. Best thing he's ever done.

Worked at Outward Bound for a couple years. Focused on their program to get inner city folks outdoors.

Managed LA area stores.

Part of the illustrious crew that managed the A16 Valley store and have been on the Outdoor Biz Podcast.

A16 has spawned over 100 people in the Outdoor Industry.

Started with Outdoor Retailer in 1999. The tornado show!

Became the show director in 2007

American Alpine Club

Access Fund

Paddle Sports Industry Association

Friends of Joshua Tree (Kenji is now President of FOJT)

Learned how advocacy groups interact and work with local citizens and officials.

Friends of the Inyo

IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association)

American Whitewater Association

American Canoe Association

Friends of the River

brands can look for local opportunities to empower these local advocacy groups

brands have a direct opportunity to affect diversifying the user base through their outreach, advertising, hiring and recruiting strategies.

Gateway communities to public lands, protected resources and parks are thriving.

Advice, tips

use your inherent knowledge as a “digital native” and help brands

the natural starting place is at retail. It exposes you to the entire spectrum of the outdoor business.

Experiential outfitter is also an opportunity to gain valuable experience for an outdoor career

for those in the business now a rising tide is events, local events, shows, competitions, curated activities . . . take someone new out and show them the outdoors. Hike a local forest, etc.

Other Outdoor Activities

skiing, climbing, surfing

Favorite Books

Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond

The physics of the impossible by Michio Kaku

On the Nose by Hans Florine

The Adventure Gap by James Mills

Best Gear Purchase under $100

headlamps, you can have enough of them

Apps, Tools, Podcasts

Bruce Lee podcast


Up First

NPR podcasts

Stuff You Should Know

Connect with 


Access Fund

socials: kenjiharo


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