At the Chamber Annual Banquet late last month the Chamber recognized the following for the efforts to build a stronger community;
Business of the Year Startek
Startek opened its doors locally in 1999 and today employs over 700 people, an increase of 150 in 2017 due to their implementing service contracts with health insurance carriers and medical providers.
Often times operating under the radar and with the assistance of their employees in a team effort this company supports a wide range of community causes from United Way to St. Mary’s Hospital Blood Bank. They annually field a Men in Heels team to raise funds for Latimer House, support area food banks on multiple occasions and assist the Kid’s Aid Backpack program and Homeward Bound. March of Dimes, Stuff the Bus, Habitat for Humanity, the Veterans Art Center, Hope West are just some of the 34 organizations supported by Startek.
Small Business of the Year: The Cowboy and The Rose
He’s the cowboy. She’s the rose. Zane and MaryLou Lawson met when they were 13, married in their early 20s and have been business partners in the Cowboy and the Rose catering business for 22 years. Their support for nonprofits is well known from annually donating dinner for 50 to Hope West to providing 1500 “tastes” to United Way’s Taste of the Grand Valley. Grand Valley Catholic Outreach is the beneficiary of all of their leftovers from catering events. 4-H, Girl Scouts, Strive, American Cancer Society and many more have benefited from their generosity. And they credit their success and longevity to being part of giving back to the community.
Citizen of the Year Tim Carlson
Tim Carlson moved to the Grand Valley in 1979 but his passion for rivers began in his childhood back in Akron, Ohio. He established the Tamarisk Coalition and consulted for the Walton Foundation with organizations across the country working to improve our river habitats. Through this work, he realized that fundraising was depleting the amount of time and talent that could be directed toward improving our vital watersheds and waterways. For the past three years, Tim has spent an average of 40-60 hours a week organizing a philanthropic company with the philosophy of donating all profits to a new foundation entitled Forever Our Rivers. Many Rivers Amber Ale is on the shelves of liquor stores and in restaurateurs on the Western Slope. Plans are in the works for a canning line and an IPA. His individual efforts will insure that funding is available (along with dang good beer) to continue to improve our river habitats for years to come.
Lifetime Achievement Award Lena Elliott.
Lena Elliott has a record of volunteer service to the community that spans 60 years. Her legacy includes establishing the Western Slope Tennis Tournament and making the Grand Valley a well-known haven for multiple generations of athletes in this sport. But her passion for the community extends way beyond that. She is a past Chairman of the Grand Junction Chamber Board, past Chairman of the Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees, and past President of Bookcliff Country Club. She has also served on the Holy Family School Board and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
She has been involved in some fashion on every major fundraising effort in the community and continues to fundraise for scholarships through the CMU Hoedown on an annual basis. Lena’s lasting legacy, though, is probably this. She has inspired, and continues to inspire her friends, colleagues, and acquaintances of all ages to do more for the betterment of the community.
Young Professional of the Year Brian Watson The Young Professionals Network of Mesa County recently selected Brian Watson as their Young Professional of the Year based on his entrepreneurial spirit and service to the community. Brian founded LAUNCHWestCO with partner Josh Hudnall in 2015. In just two years the nonprofit network of entrepreneurs and small business professionals has grown to over 500 members across Western Colorado. In December 2016, Brian and Josh opened the doors to Grand Junction’s first ever co-working space, FACTORY. Brian sits on the Mesa County Workforce Board representing the technology sector and works tirelessly to promote that industry.