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Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economy Summit

“2030: Creating a Vibrant Outdoor Recreation Economy Culture” 

Friday, October 18, 2019 from 10:45 am – 6:30 pm

Bolton Valley Resort 


10:45 am – 11:30 am            Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance Membership Meeting

11:00 am – 12:00 pm            Registration, Lunch & Networking

12:00 pm – 12:15 pm            Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Lindsay DesLauriers, President, Bolton Valley Resort

  • Michael Snyder, Commissioner, Vermont Forest, Parks and Recreation; Chair, Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative

  • Tim Ashe, Senate Pro Tem, Vermont Legislature

  • Kelly Ault, Executive Director, Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance

12:15 pm – 1:00 pm                   Keynote Panel

“How to build a brand, culture, and community in Vermont”

The founders and leaders behind Vermont’s most iconic outdoor recreation manufacturers will describe what it has been like to grow a business in the Green Mountain State over the decades. They will share strategies for building a “culture” within their brands and how interlinking with Vermont's communities and recreation has been key to success.

Moderator: Lisa Lynn, Vice-President, Addison Press; Publisher, VT Sports, VT SKI + RIDE


  • Ric Cabot, President, CEO, Cabot Hosiery Mills; Founder, Darn Tough

  • Justin Worthley, Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources, Burton Snowboards

  • Frazier Blair, The Orvis Company, Vice President General Merchandise Manager

  • Michael Jager, Chief Creative Officer, Solidarity of Unbridled Labour

1:00 pm – 1:15 pm                Break & Networking

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm                Breakout Session #1:  Infrastructure/Stewardship

“How world-class infrastructure/stewardship gets built ... and builds culture”

This session will feature a panel discussion, spotlighting success stories from some of the state's premier resources, showcasing how a vibrant culture helps build those resources and how those resources, in turn, build a vibrant economy and culture.

Moderator: Abby Long, Executive Director, Kingdom Trails


  • Mariah Keagy, Trail Builder, Designer, Sinuosity

  • Mike DeBonis, Executive Director, Green Mountain Club

  • Karrie Thomas, Executive Director, Northern Forest Canoe Trail

  • Zac Freeman, Board Member, Rochester/Randolph Area Sports Trail Alliance (RASTA)

  • Cindy Locke, Executive Director, Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST)


1:15 pm – 2:45 pm                Breakout Session #2:  Workforce

“How to attract and retain employees for the next generation of Vermont’s outdoor recreation businesses”

The diversity of Vermont’s outdoor recreation industry will require a more skilled workforce in the coming years. Participants of this session will learn how the Vermont Talent Pipeline process develops a career path for the industry, both for entry and upskilling leadership positions. Small groups will work towards consensus on “critical” positions as part of a career ladder, both in number and importance. Session outcomes will lead to employer collaboration to forecast hiring demand and define competencies and credentials.


  • Mary Anne Sheahan, Executive Director, Vermont Talent Pipeline Management

  • Justin Worthley, Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources, Burton Snowboards

  • Corinne Prevot, Founder, CEO, Skida

2:45 pm – 3:00 pm                Break & Networking

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm                Breakout Session #3:  Conservation

“How conservation creates positive outdoor cultural and economic benefits”

This panel discussion will spotlight success stories in Vermont conservation, showcasing how these efforts create both positive outdoor cultural and economic benefits.

Moderator: Craig Whipple, Director, Vermont State Parks


  • Matt Williams, Executive Director, Catamount Trails Association

  • Becca Washburn, Director of Lands Administration and Recreation, Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation

  • Shelby Semmes, VT/NH State Director, Trust for Public Land

  • Steve Chihfield, Board Chairman, Ascutney Outdoors

  • Heather Furman, State Director, The Nature Conservancy


3:00 pm – 4:30 pm                Breakout Session #4: Financing & Creative Funding

“Identifying traditional and non-traditional financing and funding opportunities in Vermont”

This session will provide an overview of financing and funding opportunities and tools for Vermont businesses and organizations along the capital continuum, through a panel discussion and small group question-and-answer sessions.

Moderator: Josh Reid, Co-Founder, Rome Snowboards


  • Janice St. Onge, President, Flexible Capital Fund

  • Lindsay DesLauriers, President, Bolton Valley Resort

  • Jake Perkinson, Bolton Valley Angel Investor

  • Marc Sherman, Founder, Outdoor Gear Exchange

  • Jason Levinthal, Founder, J Skis

  • Thomas Porter, Director of Commercial Lending, Vermont Economic Development Authority


4:30 pm – 4:45 pm                Break & Networking


4:45 pm – 5:30 pm                Concluding Panel: Moving Towards 2030 Together

The closing presentation will present the latest national, regional and state success stories that are fueling the outdoor recreation economy culture. Going beyond the borders of the traditional outdoor recreation economy in Vermont, speakers will look toward a 10-year horizon with current examples and future predictions of multi-sector collaborations, policy opportunities, data-driven outcomes, community leadership development, and sustainable system investments.

Moderator: Drew Simmons, President and Founder, Pale Morning Media


  • Andrew Pappas, Manager of State and Local Policy, Outdoor Industry Association

  • Ted Brady, Deputy Secretary, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Northern Border Regional Commission Outdoor Economy Council

  • Ellen Kahler, Executive Director, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund; Founder, Vermont Farm to Plate Network


5:30 pm – 6:30 pm                Networking & Beverages/Appetizers

Live Jazz sponsored by Pinnacle Outdoor Group