Gary Vernon - Senior Program Officer Walton Family Foundation
Gary is a lifelong cycling enthusiast, in 2015 he joined the Walton Family Foundation to lead their work on cycling advocacy, events, mountain bike trail development, and other outdoor recreation projects.
Gary is a lifelong cycling enthusiast.
Born in Joplin Missouri, he started with Walmart in 1984 in the local store building bicycles for the Christmas season. He stayed with Walmart working his way through college.
In 1993 he went into store management after graduation.
He moved to Bella Vista in 2003 as part of his 30-year career taking on a role in the Walmart Corporate Office.
He was the president of the volunteer group Friends of Arkansas Single Track (FAST) in North West Arkansas for 7 years maintaining mountain bike trails around the region.
At Walmart he was a Director in the Environmental division working on recycling and sustainability programs before moving over to the Walton Family Foundation in 2015 supporting Steuart and Tom Walton leading their work focusing on cycling advocacy, events, mountain bike trail development and other outdoor recreation projects.
Gary is now a Senior Program officer for Steuart and Tom’s personal foundation and is considered one of the leading experts in developing mountain bike trail systems, overseeing design and construction of over 600 miles of world class mountain bike trails and growing. His work includes the Oz Trails region of Northwest Arkansas as well as the Arkansas State Parks Monument Trail projects. In 2019 he was the recipient of the American Trails Chairman award for advancing trail design and changing the landscape for trail systems.
He has been married to Aimee Vernon for 24 years and has 2 children, Grayson 15 and Abby 20
Hobbies include mountain biking, motocross, and motorcycle trials.
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This annual one-day summit brings together the growing number of trailbuilders, trails associations, community groups and landowners to discuss progress, build on good relationships and discuss how we can collectively solve any issues.