Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Community Partners at Sold Out Annual Dinner

Gordan Thibedeau awarded prestigious Collins Award

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce held its 113th Annual Dinner Wednesday evening at the Hilton Fort Collins and honored key business leaders for their services with the Chamber, as well as efforts within the community.

2017 Collins Award Winner:  Gordan Thibedeau, United Way of Larimer County
The Collins Award, established in 1977, recognizes individuals with a long-standing contribution to the community. During his tenure the United Way of Larimer County adopted the Collective Impact model, successfully merged Fort Collins and Loveland United Ways, and collaborated to create Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope. Mr. Thibedeau gave two decades of service to the community and surrounding region.

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

2017 Young Professional of the Year:  James Yearling, Downtown Fort Collins Business Association

This award recognizes the contributions that young professionals make to the local community through volunteerism and community activities, strides they are making to better themselves via professional development activities and their professional accomplishments.

Mr. Yearling is the Deputy Director for the Downtown Business Association and oversees daily operations, including budget allocations and management of events, entertainment, fundraising, concessions, staffing, marketing and communication strategies.

2017 Volunteer of the Year: Kevin Unger, UCHealth

Mr. Unger serves as the President/CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies. Each year, the Chamber honors someone who has made a significant contribution to the organization by donating time, energy and support. Mr. Unger chaired the Chamber’s most successful ever fundraising campaign, Northern Colorado Prospers, which raised $3.83 million over 5 years for key strategic goals like getting I-25 widened.

2017 Chair:  Lucia Liley

Immediate Past Chair of the Board, Lucia Liley, was honored for her service leading the Chamber in 2017. During her remarks, Ms. Liley stressed the key role partnerships play in advancing the community.

“The partnerships we have in this community make us the successful place that we are,” said Ms. Liley, who spoke about the Fix North I-25 Business Alliance, Talent 2.0, the 100 investors in Northern Colorado Prospers, and the countywide  business retention and expansion program.

Ms. Liley also named numerous partners including the Loveland and Greeley Chambers of Commerce, Upstate Economic Development, Northern Colorado Economic Alliance, the City of Fort Collins, the City of Loveland, Larimer County and the Colorado Department of Transportation, among others.

Retiring Chamber Board Member: Steve Nichols, High Country Beverage (2014-2017)

2017 Local Legislative Affairs Committee (LLAC) Chair: Brian Mannlein

“The Chamber has been fortunate with high caliber leaders as demonstrated by this evenings’ award recipients,” said David May, President & CEO of the Chamber. “We’ve very proud of the people who work with us on behalf of our community.”

The Annual Dinner attracted a record amount of people. More than 650 Chamber members and guests attended to celebrate the success of the Chamber, the business community, and the region, and to recognize the award recipients.

“The 2018 Annual Dinner was our largest ever. Due to capacity, we turned some people away,” said May. “There is a lot of interest in the Chamber’s work on big issues and a lot of support for our honorees. It was great to see that level of support.”

The Chamber was proud to partner with the following sponsors for the 2018 Annual Dinner:

Gold Sponsors: Comcast Business Services, Elevations Credit Union, Hilton Fort Collins, UCHealth and Woodward

Beverage Sponsor: High Country Beverage

Silver Sponsors: Brock & Company, CPA’s, Coan, Payton & Payne

Reception Sponsors: BKD, Brinkman and Fusion Tech Media

Bronze Sponsors: BKD, Blue Federal Credit Union, Cushman & Wakefield, EKS&H, Flood and Peterson, FMS Bank, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C., Universal Lending Corporation, and Western States Bank

Event and Media Sponsors:  BizWest, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, KRFC 88.9, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Old Town Media and Toolbox Creative

Table Sponsors: Adams Bank & Trust, Blue Federal Credit Union, Cushman & Wakefield, Flood and Peterson, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart P.C, and Western States Bank. Table Sponsors: ANB Bank, BizWest Media, Colorado Business Bank, Columbine Health Systems, Ed Carroll Motor Co. Heros & Patriots Fundraisers and Mortenson Construction


About the Fort Collins Area Chamber

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to enable businesspeople to create the kind of community in which they are proud to live. Investing in the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce puts members in contact with 1,234 business owners and managers in the market For more information about the Chamber, call (970) 482-3746 or visit

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