Twenty-one years ago, a handful of Black Diamond employees, myself included, packed up our offices and manufacturing facilities in Ventura, Calif., and moved our business to the base of the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.
We believed Utah, with its quick access to a myriad of outdoor environments, including our state's signature product, champagne powder, would challenge our imaginations, inspire our vision, and provide us with the energizing environment that would differentiate us on a global basis from any company with whom we might compete.
Twenty years later, I can say with certainty that Black Diamond would not be the vibrant and successful business it is were it not for Utah's public lands, awe-inspiring canyons, rugged mountains and vibrant wilderness areas.
We moved to Utah as a $7 million company with forty-some employees. Today we have over 600 employees across the globe and we'll finish the year just shy of $200 million in annual revenue.
Unfortunately, our company's growth would not have been possible under the current, shortsighted land-use policies of Gov. Gary Herbert.
As a business leader in the state of Utah, I've participated in positive collaborations with Govs. Mike Leavitt, Olene Walker and Jon Huntsman to further our mutual interests in public lands policies. These leaders understood the tangible economic benefit of that comes from the active outdoor industry's use of Utah's public lands.
Gov. Herbert resists this notion. Instead, he's declared war on our federal lands by catering too heavily to the interests of the extractive industries without balanced consideration of the natural capital upon which our economy and spirit as Utahns thrives.
When it comes to the management of public land, Gov. Herbert is the architect of some of the most destructive and economically damaging land-use policies in America. He's turned his back on the active outdoor recreation industry, one of the largest, most vibrant, and recession-proof economic sectors in Utah.
Has he forgotten that 65,000 Utah jobs, $4 billion in annual sales and services, and $300 million in state tax revenue accrue to Utah from this industry, which requires nothing more than policies that respect the integrity of our federal lands?
This is why I support Peter Cooke for governor. Peter understands the importance of our public lands and will work to protect their sanctity for both the vibrancy of our community and the vitality of our economy.
He knows that public lands form the backbone of Utah's outdoor recreation industry and the importance of that industry to Utah's economic health. A balanced approach to land management requires true leadership, guts, backbone, and most importantly, vision. These are all qualities I've found Peter to possess.
Peter served in the Army Reserve for 38 years, retiring as a major general. During his command, Peter received the Army Community of Excellence Award for the best managed command in the United States Army Reserve. Clearly, Peter understands the importance of effective leadership. His is not a "my way or the highway" approach.
Peter has also been a small-business owner and entrepreneur for 29 years. He was CEO of a business that created public-private military housing. This experience, along with his work in Utah economic development, illustrates
Peter's ability to see economic opportunities in unique partnerships. Peter understands that our canyons, mountains and open spaces are integral to our quality of life. He recognizes the role active outdoor recreation plays in our own personal health and in one of Utah's largest and most important economic sectors, the outdoor industry.
Peter Metcalf is CEO of Black Diamond, a manufacturer of skiing and climbing equipment.