Luis Benitez, director of Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, will present “Helping Colorado’s Outdoor Industry Thrive” on October 22 at Fort Lewis College in Room 130 of the Chemistry Hall at 4 p.m. As an influential voice and leader in Colorado’s $28 billion outdoor recreation industry, Benitez will discuss issues and statewide initiatives relevant to southwest Colorado and Fort Lewis College.
“This is a great event for Fort Lewis College students and faculty to interact with Luis Benitez to understand the importance of the outdoor industry in relationship to their majors, future careers, and job opportunities,” says Richard Fulton, dean of the School of Education.
With the density of outdoor companies, the natural assets found in the state, and a workforce emboldened by the outdoors, Governor Hickenlooper launched the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) in 2015. OREC provides a central point of contact, advocacy, and resources at the state level for the diverse constituents, businesses, and communities that rely on the continued health of the outdoor recreation industry. Benitez is OREC’s first director, and just one of seven governor-appointed individuals in the nation tasked with inspiring industries and communities to thrive in the great outdoors.
Benitez comes from an alpine guiding and experiential leadership background. Prior to OREC he served as director of the Colorado Outward Bound School. He knows the importance of supporting small enterprise in rural Colorado with state funding incentives, of working with colleges to produce nationally ranked outdoor education programs, and the community involvement it takes for mountain town outdoor economies to succeed.
"Statewide, outdoor recreation supports 229,000 jobs and generates $28 billion in consumer spending,” says Kristin Carpenter-Ogden, CEO of Verde Brand Communications and OREC Advisory Board Member. “Luis is leading the charge to ensure the social and economic contributions from these active industries are recognized, so they can sustain and flourish."
This free event is sponsored by the Southwest Colorado Outdoor Recreation Alliance with help from the FLC Adventure Education program, School of Business Administration, and Outdoor Pursuits.