Ben Mackay

Originally from Minnesota with fourth-generation ranching roots in Montana, Ben graduated from Colby College in Maine with a BA in Environmental Policy. After college, Ben pursued a non-traditional route. He built a mahogany sea kayak and paddled the coast of Maine, worked on a vineyard in Burgundy, France and worked ski patrol at Park City Mountain Resort before and during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Ben then moved to Sun Valley where he ran environmental education programs for the Environmental Resource Center and became an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) teaching sea kayaking in Alaska and back country skiing / winter camping in the Tetons. In his search for a way to live long-term in the mountains, Ben left the west in his mid-20’s to pursue his MBA at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and was hired by a private equity firm in Dallas where he worked for 6 years. During the winter of 2011/12, Ben worked remotely from Jackson and has since bought a home and relocated to Jackson full-time. Ben currently runs a private equity firm, Long Trail Holdings, which focuses on majority purchases of closely held businesses across the U.S.

Open space preservation and fostering a human connection to nature have always been important to Ben. “Spending months at a time in the wilderness while working for NOLS and then returning to modern day US culture helped me to appreciate the little things, value inter-personal relationships and recognize the value of a slower-paced, more deliberate approach to life. A connection to nature can help provide perspective on our lives and our place in the world which is very valuable when contrasted with the human-created, marketing-driven US economy and fast-paced financial markets. The incredible work of the Jackson Hole Land Trust has helped preserve the opportunity for residents and visitors to our valley to develop that connection to nature. That is why I am committed to volunteering my time through the Open Space Council.”