Navigator awards presented

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— Ann Miller wanted to be in Steamboat Springs on Saturday evening to support her daughter's nomination for businesswoman of the year.

She stayed back in Maine because the trip would have been too hard on her health.

"She wanted to give me something by being here for me tonight," Jeanne Whiddon said of her 80-year-old mother.

So the daughter instead gave something to her mother.

Upon her announcement as the 2001 Business and Professional Woman of the Year, Whiddon decided to give the award to her mother.

"She is the reason I'm standing here tonight," Whiddon said. "She is the strongest and most resourceful woman I know, and I'm proud to be her daughter."

The Yampa Valley Business and Professional Women recognized Whiddon, the first woman elected as Routt County treasurer, for her dedication to building opportunities for women to succeed in business and their personal lives.

Stacey Foster, last year's BPW award winner, said Whiddon was a positive role model for girls and women in Steamboat Springs.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and Steamboat Pilot & Today also presented their annual Navigator Awards Saturday night at the Steamboat Grand Hotel.

One local business and one individual whose enthusiasm and commitment have led the way in the community receive the award.

Jeff Little accepted the Navigator Award for the Business of the Year.

He and his wife, Becky, own and operate the Ore House at the Pine Grove restaurant. Eleven years of offering a pleasant dining experience to customers has taught them the value of good employees that knows how to get the job done, he said.

"Our great staff carries the restaurant," Little said. "They make it happen."

Involvement in the community remains essential to his restaurant's success, he said.

His customers are the community, he said, so in knowing the community, he knows his customers.

"I owe them so much," Little said.

Mike Lomas received the Navigator Award for Business Leader of the Year.

Lomas, whose first means of employment back in 1978 entailed snow and a shovel, today owns two lodging establishments and operates a third.

His commitment to the community means just as much as his commitment to his businesses, he said.

"It's the best of both worlds," Lomas said. "I get to work with so many so talented people."

His staff and the generosity of his wife, Jan, allow him the flexibility to volunteer so much of his time to civic organizations, he said.

BPW award nominee Kathy Connell received BPW's first-ever Employer of the Year award.

Connell, who was commended for providing a nurturing and supportive environment for all of her employees, said the challenges had been worth it and that she looked forward to many more.

To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4208

or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com

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