From fishing for bluegill as a child, to hunting big game in India, Morocco, and Scotland, Orvis Chairman Leigh Perkins has dedicated his life to outdoor sporting pursuits. His passion extends well beyond mere participation, however; Perkins has been one of the sporting life’s great ambassadors, sharing his passion with everyone within reach, from working people to presidents.
Perkins combined his love of sport with a sharp mind for business when he purchased The Orvis Company in 1965, taking the highly respected, albeit small, business from $500,000 in annual sales to nearly $100 million annually when he chose to retire in 1992. Under Perkins’ guidance, The Orvis Company, once a niche fly-fishing outfitter, became a mail order powerhouse and the destination for people the world over seeking the distinctive country lifestyle. Despite wildly successful forays into apparel, home furnishings, and gifts, The Orvis Company has never forsaken its roots in fly fishing, and remains at the forefront of innovation in the sport.
Although Leigh Perkins passed the daily running of The Orvis Company on to his sons Perk and Dave Perkins more than ten years ago, he remains Chairman of The Orvis Company and still manages to log nearly 300 days of hunting and fishing a year.