Fort Collins Chamber Brings Business Home at Annual Dinner

Feb 21, 2019 | Chamber News

Dr. Tony Frank awarded prestigious Collins Award

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 114th Annual Dinner Wednesday evening at the Hilton Fort Collins. More than 600 people came together to celebrate the diverse ways businesses and businesspeople contribute to the community.

This year’s event theme, Bringing Business Home, incorporated the connection between business success, economic vitality of the community, and the ability to afford great public quality of life amenities.

“We want to help people make the connection that to be able to afford the great quality of life amenities we all enjoy, we need successful businesses that give our community a vibrant economic base,” said David May, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO.

Throughout the evening, several business leaders were recognized with Chamber honors, including:

2018 Collins Award Winner:  Dr. Tony Frank, Colorado State University
The Collins Award, established in 1977, recognizes individuals with a long-standing contribution to the community. Dr. Tony Frank is the 14th president of Colorado State University (CSU), one of the nation’s leading public land-grant research universities with nearly 35,000 students and more than $332 million in annual research activity. According to CSU, since his appointment to the presidency in 2008, Dr. Frank has overseen a period of record fund-raising and enrollment, rising graduation rates, increased diversity, improved campus infrastructure, and unprecedented research support. He was named Chancellor of the Colorado State University System on June 1, 2015.

Among others, past recipients of the Collins Award include: David Wood, Larry Kendall, Tom Gleason, Bohemian Companies, Curt and Nancy Richardson, Mark Driscoll and Gordan Thibedeau.

2018 Volunteer of the Year: Valerie Arnold, Hub Real Estate

Ms. Arnold is a realtor with Hub Real Estate. She is a former Assistant Attorney General and counsel to Colorado Division of Real Estate. She is an active member of two of the Chamber’s busiest and most demanding committees: Red Carpet Committee and the Local Legislative Affairs Committee (LLAC). Outside the Chamber, she is a Trustee for the Poudre River Public Library District; a Board member for the Red Cross of Northern Colorado; an Associate Board Member for the Boys and Girls Club of Larimer County; and a Board Member for the City of Fort Collins Transportation Board.

2018 Chair:  Connie Dohn, Dohn Construction

Immediate Past Chair of the Board, Connie Dohn, was honored for her service leading the Chamber in 2018. During her remarks, Ms. Dohn commented on the relentless commitment the chamber and its volunteers have made to the community.

“I love the fact we do what we say. We are doing what we promised our investors with Northern Colorado Prospers,” said Dohn mentioning the work on Interstate 25, the Talent 2.0 partnership with the Loveland Chamber, United Way, City of Fort Collins and others creating talent recruitment tools our employers need and the countywide business retention and expansion program.

Retiring Chamber Board Members: Lucia Liley, Liley Law Office, LLC and Sharie Grant, OfficeScapes

2018 Local Legislative Affairs Committee (LLAC) Chair: Brandon Grebe, GYS Development LLC

Also, during the evening, three elected officials, including Larimer County Commissioner Tom Donnelly, Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer and Fort Collins Mayor Pro Tem Gerry Horak were recognized for their leadership on Interstate 25 and efforts securing the funds for the additional lanes.

“Dozens and dozens of people have contributed to this (Interstate 25) effort. That includes many of you in the audience tonight who have supported our lobbying work through Northern Colorado Prospers and made time to contact elected officials,” said May. “These three individuals (specifically) have testified, lobbied legislators, and provided strategic leadership on I-25.”

Pete Gazlay, current Chamber Board Chairman and owner of Total Facility Care, gave the audience an overview of the Chamber’s 2019 priorities with a ‘Livability Agenda’ focused on improving the livability and vitality of Northern Colorado including:

  • Shorter commutes, safer roads
  • Continuing to fight for reliable, affordable electricity
  • Supporting workers to develop skills and help employers find talent
  • Advocating for more affordable housing and childcare from a business perspective
  • And focusing on creating high-quality, high-paying jobs

“Our duty as a Chamber is to keep things going by not taking things for granted and by staying focused on issues that make a positive difference for our residents and businesses,” said Gazlay.

The Annual Dinner would not have been possible without the generous support of the 2019 sponsors.

Gold Sponsors: Comcast, Elevations Credit Union, High Country Beverage, Hilton Fort Collins, LOCALiQ, UCHealth and Woodward
Silver Sponsors: Brock & Company and Coan, Payton & Payne
Reception Sponsors: BKD
Bronze Sponsors: Brinkman Construction, Cushman & Wakefield, Flood and Peterson, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Markley Motors, Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C, Scott’s Automotive & Service Center and Western States Bank
Table Sponsors: ANB Bank, Adams Bank & Trust, BizWest Media, Columbine Health Systems, Ed Carroll Motor Co., Mortenson Construction and OfficeScapes
Media Sponsors: FastFrame, Jet Marketing and KRFC 88.9 FM Radio Fort Collins


About the Fort Collins Area Chamber

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce is the leading business association in Northern Colorado, dedicated to helping business succeed. Investing in the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce puts members in contact with more than 1,270 business owners and managers in the market. For more than 100 years, the Fort Collins Area Chamber has helped shape the Fort Collins region into one of the most livable places in America. For more information about the Chamber, call (970) 482-3746 or visit