Much to the Thankful For 2020

There is a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Here are a few things on my mind, big and small.

I’m thankful for the recalibration of 2020. It is clearer than ever that many things are really not at all important; others are vital. 2020 provided clarity.

Frontline healthcare professionals are a treasure. At a certain level, we’ve always been thankful for their skills. Now we’re very thankful. The same goes for all of the support people behind them. For every nurse on the Covid-19 medical floor, there are dozens of others making sure they have the support and resources to take care of us.

For a long time in this space I have touted the virtues of free enterprise. 2020 was a tour de force for free enterprise. During a worldwide pandemic, we had food on our tables and toilet paper in our bathrooms. Not always our preferred brand, but thankfully I know of no one who resorted to eating tree bark or using corncobs.

Continuing the point above, I’m thankful for the innovation and resilience of farmers and businesspeople. Think about anything in your pantry and how miraculous that it’s there. Growing safe and nutritious food, packaging it, and distributing it is an amazing process. Be thankful for farmers, their workers, and all the people in the ag industry who support them; the truck drivers and warehouse workers; the stock clerks at the grocery store.

I’m thankful 2020 brought into focus the geopolitical risk poised by the government of mainland China. Their interests are not in our best interests. Supply chains are finally being rethought.

I’m thankful the massive wildfires are nearly out and the ash and smoke are largely gone. I’m thankful few lives were lost, and I am thankful a debate is underway about better forest management policies.

Flannel shirts, denim shirts, blue jeans and warm sturdy boots are simple everyday things I’m thankful for.

Amy Pezzani and her board, staff and volunteers at the Larimer County Food Bank and the businesses that support them are something to be thankful for. The need is up and they are rising to the challenge.

I’m thankful for chambers of commerce. Over 40 years, I have worked for four of them and seen thousands of other chambers serve their regions and states. Chambers existed in North America before the United States. They are key tool for leading businesses to support their communities now and help shape the future.

I am thankful for the active volunteers at the Fort Collins Area Chamber who have given their time and talent during a challenging year for business. Nick Haws is the President of Northern Engineering and is the 2020 Chair of the Chamber Board. In his usual calm fashion, he led the chamber through a pandemic and the transition of executive leadership due to my pending retirement at the end of this year. He didn’t sign up for such a tough year, but he shouldered the challenges without complaint. I am thankful for the Chamber Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, the Local Legislative Affairs Committee, and the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance. They provided invaluable support and leadership.

Of special note are the volunteers of the annual Moving Fort Collins Forward! member recruitment and fund-raising campaign. This was the 10th anniversary of the campaign. If there was ever a year to bail, this was it. Nope. When asked in the early summer about whether to proceed, they were all in. Every team returned including:

Banner Health:  Carol Salter
Brinkman:  Kate Baker
Columbine Health Systems:  Yvonne Myers
Elevations Credit Union:  Dale Abood
fnbo:  Brittany Brown
Flood and Peterson:  Brett Kemp
Independent Financial/ Wilbur’s:  Deb Kelly & Mat Dinsmore
Markley Motors:  Carrie Baumgart
Red Carpet Committee:  Craig Vollmer & Chuck Jacquinot
UCHealth:  Diane Jackson
Wells Fargo:  Jesse Patton

Vice Chairs were:

Gerry Agnes, Elevations Credit Union
Gene Bocis, Anheuser-Busch
Connie Dohn, Dohn Construction
Margo Karsten, Banner Health
Brett Kemp, Flood and Peterson
Chris Otto, Plante Moran
Kevin Unger, UCHealth
Bob Wilson, Columbine Health Systems

Then there are the ‘Big 3.’ The Campaign Co-chairs were Deb Kelly of Independent Financial and Mat Dinsmore of Wilbur’s Total Beverage. They did a great job of leading the campaign. ‘The Rock’ the campaign rested upon was Campaign Director Kim Medina, ever unflappable, ever engaged, always kind.

The great working relationship between the three main chambers of commerce in the region – Fort Collins, Greeley, and Loveland – is something to be thankful for. The staffs and volunteer leaders find common cause and work well together. I am particularly thankful for my counterparts at the Loveland and Greeley Chambers, Mindy McCloughan and Jaime Henning, respectively.

Outgoing Larimer County Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Steve Johnson have long served the region, most recently for the past 12 years on the commission. They will leave a huge knowledge and leadership hole. I’m thankful for their leadership.

I am thankful for my late father-in-law who taught me about net worth and the importance of tracking it. I am thankful for learning about compounding while in my mid-20s. I am thankful for the freedom to do what I want to do.

The United States military is the best in the world. We should all be thankful for that. They preserve our peace, our prosperity, our freedom, and our very lives.

I am thankful for turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy…(*sigh*) and the delicious vegetable tray. And days and days of leftovers.

Though I might prefer the turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes more than the veggie tray, I am blessed with great health and very thankful for it.

The Chamber Staff is a great group and are great individuals. It has been a blessing to get to work with people I personally like, admire, and respect. I especially want to single out Kim Medina, Ann Hutchison, and Janel Reichard. We have worked together for 17 years. I am a better person because of you and thankful to you for all you’ve done for our community and members.

There’s a lot more that I’m thankful for, but this post is already too long. So, let me end with family. Words can’t really express the depth of thankfulness I have for my family. Everybody should be so blessed.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!