Outdoor Recreation Management kicks off first Outdoor Legends event

April 26, 2017


The six outdoor legend panelists that sat before the tables of students, faculty and staff the evening of Thursday, April 20 could not have possessed more different personalities, but what did tie them together was their passion for the outdoors.

The panel discussion was only one part of an evening full of networking, sharing career advice and storytelling. 

Program Coordinator of Outdoor Recreation Management and Outdoor Legends Event Director, Katie Wall, invited Aram Attarian, Jeep Barrett, Tex Teixeira, Dee Thomas, Jim Wall and Tom Zartman to begin the event’s inaugural evening.

Each of the “legends”, as their nametags indicated, had varying stories and lessons just as diverse as their personalities mentioned above.

Many of the panelists, including Attarian, Barrett, Thomas and Teixeira, worked together over the years at the North Carolina Outward Bound School–a non-profit character development program that uses high-impact activities to teach leadership, communication and teamwork skills.

All of the legends believed that in order to learn and grow as a young professional, it is vital to expand beyond the classroom.

“Go volunteer or get an internship…it is the way you’ll get your foot in the door,” Teixeira said.

A few of the legends, including Zartman and Wall, have developed their careers by creating challenge courses and aerial parks for visitors of all ages.

Thomas, an adjunct instructor at Lees-McRae and current regional director for Catalyst Sports said that over the years, she was able to hone her craft in order to help teach those with physical and mental disabilities, “to do what they were able to do before the accident…or things they were never able to do in the first place.”

“My passion is to work with those with physical disabilities,” she added. In an endeavor that began when she worked as an employee at a Charlotte running store, Thomas helped outfit a training partner of hers, who was training for a marathon in a wheelchair, with a pair of athletic shoes that would not slip as he rode.

For all of the legends, attaining the previously considered “impossible” was a concept well known.

For Teixeira, that came in the form of teaching juvenile delinquents–ones who had committed illegal acts from as small as theft to upward of murder–similar lessons in the wild as those in the North Carolina Outward Bound School.

For Barrett, it came in several forms.

It took Barrett ten years to complete his degree, he said, “but I stuck to it and did it.”

It also came in the form of several death-defying climbs–one in particular–along side his wife to the top of one of the mountains at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

“I have never been more scared in my life…that was terrifying,” he said. However, similar to many things in his life, Barrett pushed on and made it to the top.

Following the panel discussion, students, faculty and staff both within and without the Outdoor Recreation Management Program and the School of Business and Management, talked with the legends and were able to make connections they could carry for the rest of their lives. 

Categories:  Student Life,  Community,  Academics

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: mastandrean@lmc.edu