- Associated Press - Monday, June 8, 2015

DENVER (AP) - Gov. John Hickenlooper has named a mountain climber and guide to lead the new Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.

Hickenlooper announced the creation of the office and the appointment of Luis Benitez as its director Monday.

Benitez, a town councilman in Eagle, has climbed the seven tallest summits on all seven continents a total of 32 times. He has climbed Mt. Everest six times while serving as director of operations for Adventure Consultants, a New Zealand-based international guiding company. He also leads leadership seminars in Chile for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Benitez will start July 1 and earn $120,000 a year.

The office is part of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Spokeswoman Holly Shrewsbury says Utah also has an outdoor recreation office.

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