Members of Maine’s philanthropic community and those with ties to Colby College are mourning the passing of Larry Pugh, a Colby alum and successful businessman who oversaw the growth of a business that was once the country’s largest publicly held clothing company.

Pugh, 82, died of respiratory failure on Thursday, according to his obituary. But his impact will be felt by thousands of young Mainers who are in line to benefit from the Alfond Scholarship Foundation’s $500 investment grant for every baby born in Maine since 2013. Pugh was the chairman of the Alfond Scholarship Foundation board, under whose tenure more than 46,000 baby Mainers have been awarded grants to help offset higher education costs.

“Larry Pugh was a wonderful man, with a deep and generous commitment to the state of Maine, particularly to its young people,” said Colleen Quint, who oversees the $500 Harold Alfond College Challenge Grant program. “He was always fully engaged in the work. He developed and appreciated our relationship with FAME (the Finance Authority of Maine, which administers the program) and the good work they did, cementing a strong partnership to build on.”

Pugh served more than 30 years as a trustee of his alma mater, Colby College, and held various board positions with some of Maine’s largest institutions, such as Maine Medical Center, Unum, the Portland Museum of Art, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and the U.S. Biathlon Olympic Committee.

After graduating from Colby and serving in the U.S. Army, Pugh went into consumer products businesses, working for companies such as Borden and Samsonite. In 1980, he became CEO and chairman of VF Corp., the parent company of Lee, Rustler and Wrangler jeans. In 12 years, he took sales from $600 million to almost $3 billion.

In a 1992 article in Chief Executive magazine, Pugh’s aggressive management was credited with growing the company to the point where it captured 27 percent of the $6 billion domestic jean market, outpacing rival Levi Strauss’ market share by more than 6 percent.

Services were held Monday in Naples, Florida, where Pugh lived with his wife, Jean, when they weren’t at their home in Falmouth.

GREEN INITIATIVES

Mt. Abram Ski Area is pushing forward on its commitment to sustainability. The Greenwood ski resort spent part of last season testing an airless snow gun called Nivis, which saves on fuel and lowers emissions. The resort bought 25 of the snow guns for this season, which started this past weekend, tapping a $71,495 Efficiency Maine grant to cover 50 percent of the purchase price of the guns.

“The quality of snow generated and the operational ease of use were what ultimately won the day,” said co-owners Rob Lally and Matt Hancock in a joint news release. “Combine that with the fuel savings and carbon reduction and this was a project everyone could get behind.”

The snow guns operate without a compressor unit or central compressed air system.

In 2014, the ski resort installed an 803-panel solar array to reduce electricity consumption by 70 percent. The resort also uses wood pellets for heat, eliminating all need of No. 2 fuel oil, and has electric vehicle charger stations.

Speaking of EV charger stations, it looks like a new one coming to Augusta will be the state’s first supercharger station for Teslas, which allow the all-electric vehicles to be fully charged in minutes rather than hours. Each supercharger station has multiple superchargers, according to Tesla’s website. Augusta’s supercharger station will have eight.

Keith Luke, the city’s deputy director of economic development, said Monday that the station will only work for Tesla vehicles, but that could change as electric carmakers negotiate agreements with one another.

Business Editor Carol Coultas can be contacted at 791-6460 or at:

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