2016 President's Award

Luis Benitez

Director, Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office




Over the course of a decade, Luis Benitez has emerged as one of the most inspirational adventurers, busiest professional guides and most experienced leadership consultants in the world. In July 2015, Benitez became the founding Director for the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, an agency tasked with bolstering the state’s $34 billion outdoor sector.  He brings a strong conviction that not only is education and workforce training critical components of this work, but also in the cultivation of the next generation of adventurers.

The importance of education was rooted early in his career when Benitez served as the Rocky Mountain regional director of Outward Bound Professional, and was responsible for conducting courses in various mountaineering/climbing/skiing techniques, all with the fundamentals of leadership, communication, and problem solving that make up the core of the Outward Bound curriculum. He has also designed leadership development programs for Vail Resorts in Eagle County as the resort operator’s head of talent management and served as a trustee in Eagle, where he advocated for the growth of the town’s singletrack network and helped plan a proposed whitewater playpark in a town park on the Eagle River.

Throughout his career, Luis has summited the top of the famed “Seven Summits” a cumulative 32 times, including being a six-time summiteer of Mt. Everest. Between managing expeditions on some of the most remote peaks in the world, Benitez works to tie the lessons available from the mountains and carry them back to the everyday challenges of life and business. 

CAEE works to ensure everyone in Colorado has an opportunity to learn about the environment where they live. We value inclusiveness and welcome everyone to the field of environmental education.

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