Fort Collins Chamber Awards Long Time Community Members at 118th Annual Celebration

Carrie Baumgart, Cindy DeGroot and Markley Motors awarded prestigious Collins Award

The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 118th Annual Celebration Wednesday evening at the Ranch Events Complex in Loveland. More than 500 Chamber members and others from the area came together to celebrate the success of the Fort Collins Chamber and the business community.

The Chamber continued its theme of Building Community Through Business. The Chamber hosted an online event on February 16, 2023 to present 2022 accomplishments and 2023 priorities. The in-person event on Wednesday allowed the business community to connect face to face, and the Chamber recognized individuals who have had a great impact on the organization and the community.

“Business is the cornerstone of the community,” said Ann Hutchison, Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO. “Business, across the two-county area, creates $35B in economic activity. That wealth is then distributed through Main Street businesses, parks, streets and services by non-profits and government to the benefit of our community. Building community is all this and more.”

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

2022 Collins Award Recipients: Carrie Baumgart and Cindy DeGroot, Markley Motors

The Collins Award was established to recognize individuals with a 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, Curt and Nancy Richardson, Lucia Liley, Mark Driscoll, David May and Carl Maxey.

The 2022 Collins Award was given to an outstanding family who continues to provide significant leadership to the community and the Chamber. Markley Motors has been family owned and operated since 1935 and is currently in its fourth generation of ownership. Carrie (Markley) Baumgart and Cindy (Markley) DeGroot are the first generation of female leaders for Markley Motors. Carrie and Cindy are working to bring empathy, compassion and understanding to the needs of their clients and the community.

“Whether it is out front in a prominent position of leadership or quietly working behind the scenes within our community, the Markley Family has made a multi-generational impact on the Fort Collins Area Community for decades.  As fourth generation leaders of the Markley Family and its businesses, Carrie Baumgart and Cindy DeGroot continue to lead, inspire, and support others to build a better community through business,” said Ryan Schaefer, 2023 Chamber Board Chair.

2022 Valerie Arnold Volunteer of the Year: Diane Jackson, Director of Physician Relations, UCHealth Northern Colorado

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.

This year, the Chamber awarded Diane Jackson with the “Valerie Arnold Volunteer of the Year Award.” Diane has been an active volunteer with the Fort Collins Area Chamber since its first Moving Fort Collins Forward! Campaign in 2010. She began her tenure with the Chamber as a volunteer on the first campaign, and today leads one of the most influential volunteer teams.  Additionally, Diane now serves on the Chamber’s Local Legislative Affairs Committee, offering insight and a voice for business. Diane is also a Leadership Fort Collins graduate.ct for physicians ensuring that patients receive the highest level of care. Diane is known for her tremendous energy, drive and her willingness to go above and beyond.

2022 David May Advocacy Award: Sandra Hagen Solin, Founder and President/CEO of Capitol Solution

The David May Advocacy Award was created in 2020 in honor of former Chamber President & CEO David May’s successful service to the Fort Collins region, its business community, and for being a resolute advocate for free enterprise, and tirelessly advocating for better communities through sound economic principles and a sustainable business climate.

The Chamber awarded the 2022 David May Advocacy Award to Sandra Hagen Solin who exemplifies David May’s service. Sandra is the founder of Capitol Solutions, a premier government affairs and lobbying firm representing business clients at the local, state, and federal level.

Sandra established Capitol Solutions in 1992 and quickly built a successful firm solving complex public affairs challenges at the local, state and federal level for exceptional clients made up of Colorado’s leading corporate clients, Fortune 500 companies and trade associations.

Sandra has distinguished herself and her firm as a leader in the areas of business, land use, development, infrastructure, public finance, banking, technology, transportation, energy, taxation, tourism and economic development.

Sandra was the creative leader behind the establishment of the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance (NCLA) in 1992, when the boards of directors at the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley Chambers of Commerce had the foresight to lead and influence regional, state and federal policy on issues affecting the unique business interests of Northern Colorado. Over the years, the NCLA has established itself as the voice for business and is sought after on issues that affect all of Colorado, especially with the continuous leadership of Sandra.

Additionally, Sandra has served as a key resource for NCLA and the Fort Collins Area Chamber in their leadership in demanding the expansion of North I-25 to three lanes from Fort Collins to Longmont by 2025.  Sandra and the regional Chambers were able to announce, late last year, the successful acquisition of the final resources and commitment by CDOT to the project.

“Sandra Solin has been a tireless and highly effective champion for the Northern Colorado business community for many years. Her receipt of the David May Advocacy Award forever recognizes the many positive impacts that she’s had on our region, which will continue to benefit our community for years to come,” said Schaefer.

2022 Board Chair: Brett Kemp President, Flood and Peterson

Retiring Chamber Board Members: Deb Kelly, Angie Milewski and Matt Robenalt

2022 Local Legislative Affairs Committee (LLAC) Chair: Angie Milewski, President, BHA Design Inc. 

The Annual Celebration would not have been possible without the generous support of the 2023 sponsors.

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