Chamber Volunteers are Awesome

Mar 3, 2015 | Uncategorized

Last Wednesday night 575 people gathered at the Hilton for the Chamber’s Annual Dinner. It’s a celebration of the great things going on in the greater Fort Collins area and a chance to honor some people who have made a big contribution to the Chamber’s success. Regarding the latter, we honored:

  • outgoing Chair Chris Otto,
  • retiring Directors Mike Freeman, Hank Gardner, John Carroll, and David Zwisler
  • Young Professional of the Year Angie Penland
  • Volunteer of the Year Pete Gazlay
  • Lifetime Member Ralph Waldo
  • and the prestigious Collins Award went to the Dellenbach family.

Congratulations to one and all! Below are the remarks made about each honoree.

Outgoing Chair Chris Otto, EKS&H  – Remarks by Chamber President David May

“It’s my honor to introduce our 2014 Chairman of the Board, Chris Otto. Chris is an audit partner with the accounting and business solutions firm, EKS&H.

Without stealing Chris’ thunder, let me simply say that under his leadership the Chamber had a very good year. We grew financially and added members and we had a big impact on big issues like securing funding for I-25.

Chris has been great to work with. For those of you who may not know him, he is a very bright and thoughtful guy. Over the past 5 years as Treasurer, on the Executive Committee and as Chairman he has helped guide us forward strategically and financially.

Depending on the year and what is happening in the community, sometimes the Chair needs to elevate his or her public profile. That happened last year. While it’s my job to catch the flack on controversial things, Chris readily stepped into the breach when situations required it.

One of the other great attributes Chris brought as Chair was as a connector who is always looking to find areas of collaboration with other community groups.

Chris is a Kansas Jayhawk, with degrees in Accounting and German. He and wife Julie are the proud parents of Paige and Blake

To Chris’ family and the team at EKS&H, thank you for sharing him with us.

Chris has taught me that cash flow is king and that accountants are cool!

Chris, on behalf of the Board, Staff and our members, it’s my honor to present to you this plaque for your service as Chairman of the Board.”


Young Professional of the Year, Angie Penland, First National Bank

Annually the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce recognizes a Young Professional of the Year Award.  Established in 2008 to support upcoming leaders in the community and to encourage greater involvement from young business professionals in Northern Colorado, the program continues to see nominations of amazing young professionals in Fort Collins.  Eighteen applicants were considered for the 2014 award.

The 2014 award recipient was chosen for her career success, her participation in professional development activities and her community involvement as well as her future aspirations within the local community.  The award recipient is being recognized tonight at the Chamber Annual Dinner.

The 2014 Young Professional of the Year Angela Penland!

Angie is the VP of Branch Banking for First National Bank of Omaha.  In that role she leads a team of bankers and tellers at the Oak Branch to ensure the branch is profitable and contributes to company goals.

Angie is a graduate of Leadership Fort Collins and serves as the Board Chair for the Larimer Humane Society Board of Directors.  She is also a volunteer with the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce Moving Fort Collins Forward! campaign and is a strategic project advisor for the Graduate School of Banking.

When asked what she hopes to accomplish for the Fort Collins area throughout her career, Angie says:  “My goal is to continue to help the people and businesses in our community.  There is strength in numbers and the more we can instill each other with a sense of community responsibility, the more manpower we will have to address the issues facing us.”


Retiring Board Directors

“The Chamber Board of Directors includes 27 members of our community.  They serve terms ranging from one to three years.  Tonight we recognize and thank four of our Directors that are leaving the board. They have provided great leadership and service to our community.

They are Mike Freeman, Innosphere; Hank Gardner, CSU; John Carroll, Ed Carroll Motor Company and David Zwisler, Ogletree Deakins.  John Carroll  receives special thanks this evening for doing an outstanding job serving on the Chamber Board, the Executive Committee and for serving as our 2013 Chair of the board.

Thank you for investing your time and energy in the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.”


Volunteer of the Year – Remarks by Chamber President David May

“Each year we honor someone who has made a significant volunteer contribution to our organization by naming a Volunteer of the Year. We are fortunate to have so many great people active with the Chamber that it’s always difficult for us to choose between them.

This year’s Volunteer of the Year represents the incredible gift of time, talent, energy and support that Chamber volunteers share with us. This person was vital to our success in 2014.

He was raised in Greeley, served on the Fort Collins police force and while his company does business all over Northern Colorado, it is based in Loveland

Our Volunteer of the Year serves on our Local Legislative Affairs Committee, which he chairs. He represents the Loveland Chamber on the board of the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, he serves on the Steering Committee of the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance and is a founding member of Citizens for a Sustainable Economy.

Our honoree is the owner of the commercial cleaning service, Total Facility Care.

Our 2014 Volunteer of the Year is …Pete Gazlay!”


Lifetime Member – Remarks by Chris Otto and Yvonne Myers

“This first is a brand new award for the Chamber.  It is a lifetime achievement award – given to a member of our organization that has dedicated a lifetime to the success of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce.  We are honored to present this first ever Lifetime Membership to Ralph Waldo.

Ralph, a retired Realtor with The Group, has shared his time and talent with the Chamber in many forms including serving on the Board of Directors, on the Local Legislative Affairs Committee, the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance, Leadership Fort Collins and the list goes on.  Without his years of leadership and energy, we would not be the organization we are today.  Thank you Ralph Waldo for a lifetime of service!”


Collins Award – Remarks by Chris Otto and Yvonne Myers

“Our final presentation of the evening is the prestigious Collins Award.  The Collins Award recognizes an individual’s or organization’s long-standing contribution to the community.  The first Collins Award was presented in 1977. Since then, winners have included such luminaries as Larry Kendall, Tom Gleason, Gene Markley, Bohemian Companies, Doug Hutchinson and Rulon Stacey.

We honor our Collins Award winners with an original painting of a scene of one of their facilities. The painting is by local artist Amelia Caruso.

Tonight’s award goes to an individual that has provided significant leadership to our community and our Chamber.

We want to share some of our honoree’s background with you.

For nearly 50 years, “Do the right thing. Exceed expectations. Make a Difference” are the words Dellenbach Motors operates by everyday. Whether selling new or used cars and trucks, or service, parts and body shop repairs.

In 1965 R.W. Dellenbach along with his wife, Patricia and their large family of 11 children moved to Fort Collins to purchase the Chevrolet franchise.  Originally, Poudre Valley Motors was located on North College Ave. As the business began to expand it was clear a larger location was necessary. After a few years, the dealership built a new facility at its current location on South College Ave. in 1971 with the anticipation Fort Collins was growing south.

The new location also brought a new name: Dellenbach Chevrolet. In 1996, the Dellenbach family purchased the Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Subaru franchises, which were located one block south.  Dellenbach Motors now was operating 4 franchises and occupying a majority of one full city block in Midtown Fort Collins.

The most prestigious honor a new car deal can receive is the “Time Dealer of the Year” award. In 1986 R.W. Dellenbach received the honor because of his commitment to both customers and employees.

While growing up, most of R.W. and Patricia’s 11 children worked at the dealership in some capacity in every department. In 2008 R.W. passed away and to this day, seven of the Dellenbach children and ten grandchildren have continued their careers within the dealership. It truly is a family-owned and operated business that has the same values and ethics that was started so many years ago. Alongside the family, there are over 120 fulltime employees.

It was not a coincidence that R.W. and Patricia moved to Fort Collins all those years ago.  They realized it was a close-knit community with good schools and the perfect place to raise their family.

The Dellenbach family has a history of giving back to the Fort Collins community in numerous ways. For more than 25 years Dellenbach Motors has partnered with the United Way of Larimer County by donating a car, to help with the fundraising effort by raising awareness of the needs in our community. There is a long list of organizations, including Pathways Hospice, the new Cancer Center, and Discovery Museum to name a few that have the support of the Dellenbach family.

We honor our Collins Award winners with an original painting of a scene one of their facilities. The painting is by local artist Amelia Caruso.

Please congratulate our 2014 Collins Award Winner, the Dellenbach Family”