Burlington, VT (Dec. 6, 2022) — At the recent Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance’s (VOBA) Annual Meeting, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy presented the Second Annual Trailblazer Legacy Award via video to Marc Sherman and Mike Donohue of Outdoor Gear Exchange (OGE).
"Over the past 30 years, Outdoor Gear Exchange has blazed the trail to build a business that supports their customers, their employees and other Vermont businesses. They've grown and adapted to go beyond what's best for the bottom line, to also do what's best for the industry, Vermont and Vermonters,” said Senator Leahy, the first recipient of VOBA’s Trailblazer Award.
VOBA selected the founders of OGE as this year’s Trailblazer Legacy Award winner not only because Outdoor Gear Exchange has been recognized as one of the most successful independent outdoor retailers in the country, but because they have done so while giving back to Vermont’s local community.
"It is a true honor to accept this award from VOBA and Senator Leahy, a legendary Vermonter who has done so much through the years to keep Vermont on the forefront of access, conservation, and responsible growth in the outdoor sector. As the first recipient of the Trailblazer Legacy Award, his shoes are big ones to fill. It is truly humbling to be sharing this award with him." said OGE Founder Marc Sherman.
Lisa Lynn, VOBA Board member and Editor of Vermont Sports / Vermont Ski+Ride Magazines opened the award ceremony and said, “OGE's charitable grants, their generous workforce policies and commitment to furthering diversity, equity and inclusion in Vermont's outdoor communities has made them a leader in the outdoor recreation space and a role model for all businesses.”
"Our mission has always been to make the outdoors accessible to all. Coming through the pandemic, the value of our outdoor spaces was profound, and we look forward to continuing to make it possible for everyone to have the best times of their lives outside," said OGE Co-owner Mike Donohue.
VOBA joins OGE in its commitment to increase justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in Vermont’s outdoor recreation and industry. Communities around the State have been positively impacted by OGE’s broad support of recreation and programming like “Everyone’s Wilderness.” VOBA and their 100+ members will continue to point to OGE as a model of change, as they strive to bolster access and inclusion for all communities to enjoy the benefits of Vermont’s outdoors.
The Vermont Outdoor Business Alliance (VOBA) is a nonprofit business organization that networks, educates, collaborates, and provides support to businesses, organizations, and individuals working to strengthen, expand, attract, and retain outdoor recreation economy businesses in Vermont.
VOBA’s mission is to educate Vermonters about outdoor recreation and to educate Vermont outdoor recreation businesses about business development initiatives, outdoor recreation economy policy and justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. VOBA’s priority areas for 2022 include financing, workforce development, infrastructure, and sector branding.