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Alumni Profile: Shawn Hash


Shawn Hash Shawn Hash

Feb. 15, 2012 – It didn’t take Shawn Hash (’91 B.A. in geography) long to figure out how to turn his love of the outdoors into a career path. Shortly after graduating, he and his brother opened Tangent Outfitters. With locations in Pembroke and Radford, Va., the retail and outfitting company provides guide services specializing in canoeing, kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, and fishing, as well as equipment rentals and a shuttle service for sites along the New River, New River Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Blue Ridge Parkway.

When asked how college helped prepare him for his career, Hash responded, “It was a time to do things on your own and learn how to manage your time and do fun things like kayaking and skiing while still being responsible. The culture of college — how to work with people, professors, and within the confines of the university structure — helped me learn how to operate in the outside world where you deal with the confines of the government.”

Hash is happy to be able to do the things he is passionate about while sharing experiences with his clients. He has encountered many returning graduates who wish they had gotten involved in the area’s outdoor opportunities while they were students. One of Hash’s goals is to open people’s eyes to the beauty of the surrounding land and to get students to take advantage of and enjoy the numerous outdoor activities available. “It is a great place to be,” said Hash. “We have people who fly in from everywhere to do trips. It’s a very special area and there are so many things to do.”

As a board member of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, which helps localities, regions, and individual businesses develop tourism products, Hash focuses on tourism development and works with his colleagues to direct entrepreneurial programs to aid in the creation of small businesses. “It’s not every day that you are going to have a Busch Gardens, a King’s Dominion, or a Virginia Beach,” explained Hash. “But, especially in the western part of the state, there are unique artisans, mountain towns, and outdoor activities that provide tons of opportunities for tourism-related businesses to be developed.” One of the board’s goals is to put entrepreneurs in touch with lenders that understand the opportunities available to them in these areas.

Hash and his fellow board members also want to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in Virginia Tech students. “We need an environment where creative thinkers can step out and make mistakes but ultimately move toward creating their own businesses,” he explained. Reflecting on his own path, he said, “It’s neat to see something real being created instead of getting out of college and working for some other company.” Hash, who describes business ownership as a labor of love, is proud to have become part of the community, creating jobs and adding to the wellbeing of the area.

    CNRE Newsmagazine Fall 2012 Cover

Winter 2012

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