shown: Virgin Falls, Sparta Tennessee
President & CEO of Nantahala Outdoor Center
Sutton Bacon is President and CEO of the Nantahala Outdoor Center, the largest whitewater outfitter and specialty retailer in the United States, hosting over 500,000 guests per year at its seven river outposts, five retail stores, four restaurants, multi-tiered lodging, and through its famed paddling school and adventure travel program. At NOC, Sutton is responsible for the overall business strategy and the operational performance of 38 individual business units. He also leads a full-time core staff of 120 employees, a seasonal staff of 800, and manages the company's comprehensive real estate portfolio. An avid kayaker and noted whitewater conservationist, Sutton also serves as President of American Whitewater, the nation's foremost non-profit whitewater river stewardship and recreational advocacy organization, and sits on the boards of two leading industry trade associations, America Outdoors and the Outdoor Industry Association. During his tenure at NOC, the company has been recognized by The New York Times as the "Nation's Premiere Paddling School," "Best Place to Learn" by Outside, and as "One of the Best Outfitters on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure.