Press Room

Maine’s Outdoor Brands Shine — 2023 Trailblazer Awards Illuminate Innovation & Collaboration in the Great Outdoors

Portland, ME – Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB) proudly unveils the recipients of the 2023 Trailblazer Awards, recognizing outstanding achievements in leadership, innovation, and collaboration within Maine’s thriving outdoor economy. Held at the second annual Maine Outdoor Economy Summit in Rockport, the awards showcase the passion, resilience, and dedication of leaders shaping the future of the state’s outdoor industry.

 The awards, comprising the categories of the: Outdoor Innovation Award, Outdoor Industry Leader of the Year Award, and Outdoor Brand Collaboration Award, represent the pinnacle of success for businesses and individuals shaping the landscape of Maine’s outdoor industry.

 The 2023 Trailblazer Award Recipients

Outdoor Innovation Award recognizes a brand or organization for an innovative product or service that was successfully brought to market in the last year.

Recipient: Hearty Roots, Taproot Therapeutic Adventure program

Award received by: Haley Bezon, Jess Donohoe, & Lauren Cucci

“Hearty Roots is transforming the landscape of mental health through its groundbreaking Taproot Therapeutic Adventure program. We believe that this innovative program is a beacon of hope for the future of mental health and outdoor engagement.” – MOB

Outdoor Industry Leader of the Year Award recognizes an individual who’s had an outsized impact on and whose actions have demonstrably strengthened Maine’s outdoor recreation industry.

Recipient: Kristina Cannon, President & CEO, Main Street Skowhegan

“Kristina Cannon’s visionary leadership at Main Street Skowhegan has propelled the Skowhegan River Park project forward, with construction scheduled for July 2024. Her game-changing approach to community engagement and outdoor recreation sets an inspiring example for leaders across the state.” -MOB

 Outdoor Brand Collaboration Award recognizes brands and/or organizations that have, working together, developed an outstanding product or service in the past year.

Recipient: Mahoosuc Guide Service & Penobscot Guides — Way of the Wabanaki

Award received by: Polly Mahoney of Mahoosuc Guides; Jason Pardilla, Jennifer Neptune, Ryan Kelley, Chris Sockalexis, James Francis, & Jimmy Pardilla of the Penobscot Guides.

“The Way of the Wabanaki Cultural Canoe Trip is a testament to the power of collaboration and educational awareness. This incredible experience exemplifies a mutually respectful partnership, fostering outdoor learning and appreciation for Wabanaki territory. The Mahoosuc and Penobscot Guides showcase how shared interests can propel into impactful initiatives that honor the land and its people.” -MOB

 In addition to these awards, this year’s Trailblazer ceremony took a celebrated turn by introducing a new recognition, the Maine Outdoor Brands Member of the Year Award. This addition emphasizes the pivotal role played by passionate members of MOB in fostering knowledge-sharing, expertise, and the joyful spirit of Maine’s outdoor industry.

MOB Member of the Year

Recipient: Brant & Cochran 

Award received by: Mark Ferguson, Steve Ferguson, & Barry Worthing.

“Just as they craft enduring products meant to be passed down through generations, Brant & Cochran is equally devoted to fostering lasting lessons and relationships within the outdoor community. Their tireless efforts extend beyond the present, aiming to fortify the future success of Maine’s outdoor industry by sowing the seeds of knowledge and camaraderie that will continue to flourish for years to come.” -MOB

 The MOB Trailblazer Awards, open to Maine-based businesses, organizations, and individuals in the outdoor industry, aim to showcase the state’s thriving outdoor economy.After an open call for nominations from the industry, the MOB Board of Directors then selected the finalists and winners. 

About Maine Outdoor Brands: Established in 2017, Maine Outdoor Brands (MOB) unites and advocates for Maine’s outdoor industry, bolstering the state’s outdoor recreation brand and economy. Committed to the prosperity of Maine-based outdoor products, services, and retail brands, MOB strives to strengthen the industry. To learn more about MOB and the brands involved, visit

*All quotes included above can be attributed to Jenny Kordick, Executive Director, Maine Outdoor Brands