The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 116th Annual Celebration Wednesday, March 3, virtually to celebrate the business community, reflect on the Chamber’s work last year, look ahead to goals for this year, and recognize those who impacted the organization and the community.
Over 250 Chamber members and others from the area came together for the celebration. The Chamber celebrated that partnerships and relationships came together to benefit the entire business community even though the environment last year was challenging for businesses and how businesses could March On.
Key resources including NoCoRecovers.com, ReIgnite Northern Colorado, #KeepNoCoOpen, and Larimer County Level Up are a few examples of how partnerships were created with businesses succeeding in mind.
“Your Chamber was able to activate key partnerships and relationships that allowed us to help business not only survive but in some cases to thrive,” said Ann Hutchison, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO. “We were “boots on the ground” the last year serving as a champion for those businesses that needed us the most, a catalyst for business resources and funding mechanisms, and a convener bringing together business, government, economic developers, business support organizations, and the community to create successful pathways for business,” Ann said.
Individuals who had a significant impact on the Chamber and the community were recognized during the program’s award portion.
Those individuals are as follows:
- 2020 Collins Award Winner: David May, recently retired Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO
- The Collins Award, established in 1977, recognizes individuals with a long-standing contribution to the community. As President & CEO of the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce, David May’s tenure included the Chamber earning a 5-Star Accreditation, Colorado’s only 5-Star accredited chamber, co-founded Leadership Northern Colorado, Talent 2.0, Fix North I-25, and Fix Colorado Roads, and helped initiate Northern Colorado Prospers and ReIgnite Northern Colorado.
Also, David achieved the following:
- Helped to Secure $935M for the widening of North I-25
- Established Northern Colorado Prospers, a 5-year strategic initiative to help leading businesses focus resources on top strategic issues
- Created an annual campaign called Moving Fort Collins Forward!
- Advocated for the establishment of the Economic Health Office, City of Fort Collins
- Retention and expansion of key employers
- Chamber becoming debt-free and Paid off building mortgage
- Twice received the BizWest Bravo! Regional Spirit Award for work with other area chambers and the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance and
- Helped forge strong regional relationships
Among others, past recipients of the Collins Award are Larry Kendall, Tom Gleason, Bohemian Companies, Curt and Nancy Richardson, Mark Driscoll, Gordan Thibedeau, Dr. Tony Frank, and last year’s winner, Lucia Liley.
The Chamber Board renamed the annual “Volunteer of the Year Award” as the “Valerie Arnold Volunteer of the Year Award” last year in honor of Valerie Arnold who was an active member, volunteer, and inspiration for others to become engaged with the community. Valarie was the recipient of the award in 2018, passing away in February of last year.
The Chamber awarded Nick Haws, President, and Owner of Northern Engineering, with the 2020 Valarie Arnold Volunteer of the Year Award. Nick has been an active volunteer with the Chamber for nine years.
Nick began his tenure as a member of the Local Legislative Affairs Committee, working up to serve as Chair of that Committee. He currently serves on the Election Committee, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee and has led the organization during the pandemic and transitioned executive leadership due to long-standing CEO retirement.
Retiring Chamber Board Members are Cathy Mathis, The TB Group; Eric Lea, Robert Half; and Pete Gazlay, Total Facility Care. Nicole Staudinger, current Chamber Board Chairman and President of FirstBank of Northern Colorado, announced that the David May Advocacy Award will be presenting next year to an individual that exemplifies the principles of free enterprise and advocacy for better communities through economic principles and a sustainable business climate.
Nicole and Ann also shared what this year looks like for the Chamber, including a commitment to continue supporting business and ensuring positive success for the community.
The goals of the Chamber for this year are as follows:
- Growing the Chamber membership to 1,170 members,
- Leading the creation and implementation of an Economic Recovery Plan and
- Launching a new, five-year strategic economic development initiative to tackle the biggest challenges facing our region.
Sponsors of the annual celebration are as follows:
- Gold Sponsors: Coloradoan/LOCALiQ, Comcast, Elevations Credit Union & Woodward
- Silver Sponsors: Flood and Peterson, KRFC 88.9 FM Radio Fort Collins & Western States Bank
- Bronze Sponsors: BizWest, Brinkman Construction, Brock & Co. CPAs, Cushman & Wakefield,
Jet Marketing, Markley Motors, NOSH NOCO, Platte River Power Authority, and The Group, Inc.
- Event Sponsors: Banner Health, Blue Federal Credit Union, Canvas Credit Union, Columbine Health Systems, Ed Carroll Motor Company, Ent Credit Union, FNBO, & Water Pik.
“I challenge you to celebrate local businesses, let people know that we can #MarchOn2021 to tremendous recovery as a community, and invite you to become a proud, loud advocate for business success,” said Ann.
For more information regarding the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, visit: www.FortCollinsChamber.com or call 970-482-3746