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New Director brings a decade of leadership and community-building to role

On Monday, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) named Conor Hall as the new Outdoor Recreation Industry Office (OREC) Director.

“Outdoor recreation is not only a key pillar of Colorado’s economy but also a major contributor to our quality of life, mental health and physical health. I am thrilled to join OEDIT and partner with Colorado communities, and our world-class business and NGO leadership,” said Hall. “Together we will support, attract and expand our outdoor recreation industry to promote sustainable economic growth and expand equitable access while prioritizing our shared goals of clean air, clean water and the protection of public lands.”

Conor Hall has been named the new Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Director. Courtesy photo.

Hall grew up in Crestone, CO and spent his summers on a cattle ranch. He comes to OREC from The Trust for Public Land, where he was the director of conservation strategies, policy, advocacy and government relations for the Intermountain West and led the creation of over $2 billion dollars in public funding for land and water conservation, climate and more equitable access to nature through ballot measures and legislative action. During that same period, he served as the vice president of The Trust for Public Land Action Fund, a nonprofit affiliate supporting this work.

Prior to joining The Trust for Public Land, Hall served as a Senior Advisor on Climate and Conservation on Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign. He also served as a senior advisor to Governor Hickenlooper, staffing him at all external events and meetings, managing relationships around the state and country, and advising on speeches, political and communications strategy, and a multitude of policy decisions including the creation of the OREC Office in 2015.

“Conor Hall is well-respected for his commitment to the outdoor recreation industry and conservation,” said Carlos Fernandez, Colorado State Director for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and member of the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council.

“At TNC, we have had the pleasure of working with Conor for many years during his time with the Hickenlooper Administration as well at The Trust for Public Land on several projects including the creation of Fishers Peak State Park,” he added. “Conor’s background and passion for people and the outdoors make him an ideal candidate to take on this leadership role.”

“Conor brings a wealth of knowledge in the outdoor space, government relations, and consensus-building and community development, all of which will be vitally important over the next several years as OEDIT works to deploy the $9.7 million EDA grant that the OREC and tourism office received,” said Patrick Meyers, Executive Director of OEDIT. “This is an important component as we help rebuild the outdoor industry that was so adversely affected by the pandemic.”

Other priorities include working with industry partners on the future of the Outdoor Retailer show and its success in Colorado, the implementation of the revised “Grow Your Outdoor Recreation Industry” program through the Rural Technical Assistance Program (RTAP), and ensuring the sustainable and thoughtful growth in the use of Colorado’s outdoor recreation assets.

As we know here in Chaffee County, the outdoor industry is an important part of Colorado’s economy.  In 2020, Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry accounted for $9.6 billion in consumer spending annually and contributed 120,000 direct jobs.  Colorado’s OREC Office has played a critical role both in the state and as a national thought leader and pacesetter with the creation of the Confluence Accords encouraging other states across the country to create OREC Offices.

Hall is an avid outdoorsman who loves to snowboard, hike, mountain bike, rock climb, SUP, and kayak. He is a cancer survivor who proudly serves on the non-profit First Descents Alumni Advisory Board and mentors other young people coping with cancer. He also serves as a national board member for the anti-bullying, nonprofit Stand for Courage and is a 2019 McKinsey Academy Leadership Fellow.

Hall graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Political Science and Government from Earlham College in Richmond, IN. He replaces Nathan Fey, who departed OEDIT to serve as the Director of Land and Water Programs with the Colorado-based Mighty Arrow Family Foundation. Hall’s first day will be February 22, 2022.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) works with partners to create a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth. Under the leadership of Governor Jared Polis, it works to advance the state’s economy through financial and technical assistance that fosters local and regional economic development activities throughout Colorado. Its 12 functional offices include the Global Business Development division; Colorado Tourism Office; Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office; Colorado Creative Industries; Business Financing & Incentives division; the Colorado Small Business Development Network; Cannabis Business Office; Colorado Office of Film, TV & Media; the Minority Business Office; Employee Ownership Office; and Rural Opportunity Office.

For more information go to oedit.colorado.gov.