Big Agnes/Honey Stinger co-founder selected for outdoor recreation group
Steamboat Springs — A Steamboat Springs business owner has been tapped to help guide the state’s newly formed Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, or OREC.
Bill Gamber, co-founder of Big Agnes and Honey Stinger, said Tuesday his perspective will come from the challenges of running a business with nearly 100 employees in Northwest Colorado.
“We’re now a mid-sized company,” Gamber said. “We’re not a start-up any more. It’s such an active population in Colorado, so we are really a prime example of what Colorado’s all about. I think that’s the type of voice they’re looking for.”
Gamber was one of 22 people selected for the Orec advisory group. Other members include the vice president of natural resources and conservation at Vail Resorts, the CEOs of Scarpa North America and Icelantic Skis, the director of community development for REI, the regional director for the International Mountain Bicycling Association and state and federal officials.
OREC will focus on issues related to economic development, stewardship and conservation, industry anchors and education.
“Colorado is in a strong position to lead the Outdoor Recreation Industry on many levels, and with the help of the advisory group, the office will not only create the collective voice for the outdoor community and industry in the state, but also craft the collaborative vision for the future of the industry in Colorado,” OREC director Luis Benitez said in a news release.
Benitez started the job on July 1 and then spent three months traveling the state visiting with outdoor industry representatives. Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry creates $13.2 billion annually in consumer spending, 125,000 Colorado-based jobs and $994 million in state and local tax revenue.
”One of the key four points of focus is economic development, and the advisory group understands the bridge between economic development and growing a healthy and prosperous community,” Benitez said. “This office is the state’s acknowledgement of how important the outdoor recreation community is to us as Coloradans.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper has visited with Gamber and the crew at Big Agnes and Honey Stinger before. During those visits, Gamber spoke about the challenges his business faces, which includes the difficulty of shipping goods efficiently to and from Steamboat.
“It’s pretty easy to start a company in Colorado, but the infrastructure is not there once you get away from the Front Range,” Gamber said.
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