Peter O’Neil is the Executive Director of Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS), the first Outward Bound School in North America, founded in 1962 in Marble, Colorado. Peter has a long history with COBS, starting as a student on a winter ski mountaineering course as a college student. Peter joined COBS as its executive director in May 2012.
He is a high-energy, serial entrepreneur with many years of start-up and turn-around experience, and he thrives on building and leading teams of high-performing individuals to grow businesses and accomplish common goals. Peter spent a decade with COBS as a course director, instructor, logistics coordinator and intern. He instructed and course directed in the Utah canyon country, most of the mountain ranges of Colorado, and led winter ski mountaineering courses. He pioneered mountaineering programs for COBS in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru and the Garhwal Himalaya of India, before, as Robert Frost wrote, taking one of those “roads that diverge in a yellow wood,” and he headed to business school.
After business school he co-founded the Executive Ventures Group, a team building and leadership development organization for senior management teams from Fortune 1000 companies. As Senior Vice President of sales and marketing, he was instrumental in building database marketing company, Atlantes Corp., and subsequently selling it to Metromail, and then Experian – before the Internet bubble burst. As General Manager of Experian’s Z-24, he turned around the failing co-op database business unit and took it from an also-ran position to number two in the industry.
For several years, Peter returned to his “outdoor roots” when he served as the Executive Vice President of sales and marketing for CenterStone Technologies, a business-to-business cloud computing, e-commerce solution for the Outdoor Retailer industry, with clients including: Patagonia, North Face, Helly Hansen, Marmot, Petzl, Under Armour, Orvis and SmartWool. He reconnected with his non-profit, cause-related roots when he served as the Chief Evangelist for iGiveFirst, a start-up company that developed a social media platform to help consumers donate directly to nonprofit causes online.
Peter is passionate about every enterprise he engages in whether it’s instructing students, working with clients, leading a sales team, or ski mountaineering in the Colorado backcountry. As a trustee of Denver Academy, an independent K-12 school for students with learning differences, as well as a life-long proponent of Outward Bound’s teaching philosophy, he is committed to changing the lives of students through non-traditional and experiential education. Peter received his BA in Psychology from Colorado College and his MBA from Stanford University. He is the proud father of three wonderful children who are the love of his life.