Steamboat Springs The business community, all decked out in "Steamboat elegance," gathered in the new Steamboat Grand Hotel ballroom Saturday and honored some of its top achievers during the 93rd annual membership dinner of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
The winners of the Steamboat Pilot/Today and Chamber Navigator Awards, plus the Yampa Valley Business and Professional Woman of the Year Award, weren't presented so much for success on the bottom line but for a dedication to community involvement.
Ed MacArthur of Native Excavating Inc. accepted the Navigator Award for the Business of the Year, and recently retired Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. executive Rod Hanna took home a Navigator as Business Leader of the Year. City of Steamboat Springs ice rink manager Stacey Foster was named Businesswoman of the Year by the BPW.
Steamboat Pilot/Steamboat Today Editor Mark Louden presented the Navigator awards together with the newly installed president of the chamber's board of directors, George Noyer.
Noyer welcomed more than 400 people to the banquet that honored the winners and finalists for the awards. He took a moment to admire the ballroom with a good-natured play on words that garnered much laughter and a few "ohhhs" from the audience.
"It's more grand and less (Les) common," Noyer exclaimed, in an obvious reference to bumper stickers that flourished in the community about the time the Steamboat Grand broke ground. Those bumper stickers pulled off a different pun that relied on the first name of American Skiing Co. Chairman Les Otten.
Noyer segued from humor directly into a call for chamber members to make efforts to reunite diverse elements of the community. The chamber believes in profits, but not at the expense of community character, Noyer said.
"We need to do something about bringing the community back together," Noyer said. "I pledge the chamber to listen to and respect the views and opinions of their neighbors."
Nominees for the Navigator Awards responded in writing to a series of questions and were interviewed prior to award selections.
In addition to Hanna, a finalist for Business Leader of the Year was Paul Clavadetscher, president of Community First National Bank. Noyer said the two men are held in such high regard by their peers that reaching a final selection was difficult.
Louden noted Clavadetscher has been involved in youth sports organizations as well as numerous committees devoted to business and public education.
Clavadetscher has given his time both to the Steamboat Springs Youth baseball and hockey associations and was a midget team manager during the 1998/99 baseball season. He has been on the chamber board of directors since 1994 and served as its president in 1998. As a member of the chamber's Economic Development Council, he was a speaker at the 2000 Economic Summit.
Clavadetscher waded into the effort to remodel Steamboat Springs High School and served on the 10+2 School Action Committee and co-chaired the finance committee for the school district bond issue that funded the school remodeling. Following through on that commitment, he chaired the Steamboat Springs High School Audit Committee.
Hanna retired last winter from a 25-year career as a public relations and marketing executive with the Steamboat Ski Area. He spent nine years as an active member of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council and was its president for two years. Hanna initiated the Walker Lundquist Golf Tournament, which has raised more than $150,000 for the arts council.
Hanna was known in the ski industry as an innovator while serving Steamboat as its public relations director and vice president of marketing. During that time, the number of annual skier days at Steamboat doubled. Hanna played a role by making sure the ski area was at the forefront of digital transmission of resort photos and had its own in-house video department. Hanna has guided the ski corp.'s direct flight program as marketing vice president. Largely at his insistence and under his direction, the ski area was the second in the country to have a Web site that now books more than $2 million a year in reservations.
Hanna acknowledged the ski area has been through a rough couple of years but said he believes it has turned around under the guidance of President Chris Diamond.
"Keep in mind, there are many wonderful people working at the ski area," Hanna told the gathering at the Steamboat Grand. "I think they have a huge amount of social consciousness, not only in business, but in social aspects of the community."
Finalists for the Navigator Business of the Year award included Bob Milne of Steamboat Resorts and Jeff and Becky Little of the Ore House at the Pine Grove, in addition to Native Excavating.
MacArthur said he owed the creation of Native Excavating in 1981 to John Fetcher, who was also honored during the evening with the first "Heritage Award" from the city of Steamboat Springs.
"John Fetcher told me I ought to be in business for myself, and he gave me my first job," MacArthur said. He also thanked his parents for helping him acquire his first rubber-tired backhoe so he could complete the job handed to him by Fetcher.
Throughout its 19 years of existence, Native Excavating has contributed manpower and equipment to many community projects, including the alpine slide at Howelsen Hill, the Hillside Village apartments playground and the Heritage Park soccer fields, among many others.
"The management philosophy at Native Excavating is to grow from within," MacArthur told his interviewers. "Many of our top superintendents started as laborers or operators 20 years ago. The superintendents understand the work ethic and high quality of work desired, and they are permitted to use their own techniques to arrive at a finished product. Help is always available for our employees, though they are encouraged to stretch their capabilities as far as they are comfortable."
Foster, who has managed the Howelsen Ice Arena for the city over the past three years, claimed the BPW Woman of the Year 2000 award from a field that included Karen Beauvais, owner/broker of Coldwell Banker Silver Oak, Visiting Nurse Association Executive Director Sue Birch, Steamboat Pilot/Steamboat Today Advertising Manager Kathy Hirschboeck, Denise Roach of the Alpine Campus of Colorado Mountain College and Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and Coffeehouse co-owner Leslie Ryan.
Since coming to Steamboat in 1988, Foster has been instrumental in beginning several after-school programs for youngsters, including The Dock teen center.
Foster received her award from Cynthia Vaida and Kelda Combs. Combs is attending college on a BPW scholarship.
"I came here as a single parent and latch key was a big word," Foster recalled. She said she was proud of helping to establish child-care programs and has always wanted to give back to the community. She said she is especially proud of sparking the growing interest in girls and women's hockey in Steamboat.
"I may not be the hockey queen, but I'm queen of the ice!" Foster exclaimed.