Fort Collins Chamber Encourages Continuation of #MarchOn2021 at 116th Annual Celebration

Mar 4, 2021 | Chamber News

David May awarded prestigious Collins Award

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 116th Annual Celebration March 3, 2021. While our event looked a bit different from past years, more than 250 Chamber members and others from the area came together virtually to celebrate the business community, reflect on the work of the Chamber in 2020, look ahead to 2021 key goals and to video recognize individuals who had a great impact on the organization and the community at large.

Links to the recording of the event, the 2020 Chamber Accomplishments and the Award Recognition video are below.

In the spirit of this year’s #MarchOn2021 theme, the Chamber celebrated that, although the environment in 2020 was challenging for businesses, the partnerships and relationships that came together to benefit the entire business community and how businesses were able to March On and prosper were impactful and resonating. Key resources, including, ReIgnite Northern Colorado, #KeepNoCoOpen and Larimer County Level Up are just a few examples of how regional partnerships were created with business success at top of 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 in order to create successful pathways for business.”

The award portion of the program recognized certain individuals that had a significant impact on the Chamber and the community at large including:

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.

In addition, David

    • 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 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 include: Larry Kendall, Tom Gleason, Bohemian Companies, Curt and Nancy Richardson, Mark Driscoll, Gordan Thibedeau, Dr. Tony Frank and last year’s winner, Lucia Liley.


2020 Valerie Arnold Volunteer of the Year & 2020 Board Chair:  Nick Haws, Northern Engineering

In 2020, the Chamber Board renamed the annual “Volunteer of the Year Award” as the “Valerie Arnold Volunteer of the Year Award, in honor of Valerie Arnold who was an active member, volunteer and inspiration for others to become engaged in the community. Valerie Arnold was the recipient of the award in 2018 and epitomized the word volunteer. She passed away in February 2020.

The Chamber awarded Nick Haws, President and Owner of Northern Engineering, with the 2020 Valerie Arnold Volunteer of the Year Award.  Nick has been an active volunteer with the Chamber for nine years.  He began his tenure as a member of the Local Legislative Affairs Committee, working his way up to serve as Chair of that Committee.  He currently serves on the Election Committee, the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee.  Nick led the organization during a once in a lifetime pandemic and the transition of executive leadership due to long-standing CEO retirement.  He has dedicated his time, knowledge, talents and energy to the Chamber to reach the goals during 2020 and transition smoothly into 2021.

Retiring Chamber Board Members: Cathy Mathis, The TB Group; Eric Lea, Robert Half; and Pete Gazlay, Total Facility Care


2020 Local Legislative Affairs Committee (LLAC) Chair: Eric Lea, Robert Half


To wrap up the day Nicole Staudinger, current Chamber Board Chairman and President of FirstBank of Northern Colorado announced the David May Advocacy Award that will be presented in 2022 to an individual that exemplifies the principals of free enterprise and advocacy for better communities through sound economic principles and a sustainable business climate.


Nicole and Ann also shared what 2021 looks like for the Chamber including a commitment to continue to support business and ensure positive success for our community, keeping these goals in site:

  • 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.


The Annual Celebration would not have been possible without the generous support of the 2021 sponsors.

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.


About the Fort Collins Area Chamber

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce is the leading membership-based 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 1,100 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