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Making A Difference

Creating a Public Greenway in Northern California’s Scenic Wine Country

Chuck McMinn (MBA 1978)

Chuck McMinn (MBA 1978) is a man on the move as founder and chair of the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition, a 47-mile bike and pedestrian route that will connect the entire region by 2020.

“It’s very psychically rewarding. The trail will be there for 100 years,” says McMinn, whose startup successes include Covad Communications, a groundbreaking telecommunications company established in 1996. “Any great company—including those I’ve started—the technology will be obsolete by then.”

McMinn’s passion for the Vine Trail was borne of community outreach efforts after he bought Vineyard 29, in St. Helena. In 2008, he picked up on an idea that had been kicking around the valley for 10 years, took command of the project, and now has a broad coalition of 34 organizations occupying its board of directors.

“People don’t realize the power they have when they work together. The startup process opens their eyes to that,” he says. “You learn so much more going out and doing, rather than just analyzing. It’s more fun to create something from nothing, rather than to shepherd something that already exists.”

(Published May 2016)

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