Information about the Awards and Categories: Awards for Businesses in La Plata County* Business of the Year TheBusiness of the Year award recognizes dynamic companies that share a commitment to excellence, business growth, and the community. They have a proven record of financial performance, strategies, and growth. They demonstrate achievement in service, and innovation in management, have been in business for more than three years and have more than 15 full-time employees. The 2021 Business of the Year is Kroegers Ace Hardware; other recent recipients include 1st SouthWest Bank, Peak Food & Beverage, and Durango Dermatology.
Small Business of the Year The Small Business of the Year award is presented to companies that have been in business for a minimum of two years and have less than 15 full-time employees. These businesses demonstrate innovation, perseverance, and outstanding accomplishments in management while creating a successful and growing business. Southwest Eye Consultants is the 2021 recipient, others include Honeyville & Honey House Distillery, Durango Harley Davidson, and Pet Haus.
Spirit of Durango Award The Spirit of Durango Awardrecognizes a business that demonstrates accomplishment and community involvement, projecting a positive image of Durango.
*Businesses that are nominated must be members of the Durango Chamber of Commerce & have a location in La Plata County.
Non-Profit Award Category* Non-Profit of the Year The Nonprofit of the Year award honors outstanding achievement in the nonprofit sector, meets an unfilled need for the betterment of the community, and serves with distinction. The Business Improvement District is the 2021 Nonprofit of the Year; past recipients include Region 9 Economic Development, Trails 2000, and the Community Foundation.
*Nominated non-profits must be members of the Durango Chamber of Commerce and located in La Plata County.
Individual Award Categories^ Citizen of the Year The Citizen of the Year is awarded to individuals who have made a noteworthy contribution to our community that is above and beyond their profession or regular responsibilities. Someone who exemplifies putting the community first and making Durango a better place. Karen Zink is the 2021 Citizen of the Year, and other recent recipients include Bob Wolff, Ellen Roberts, and Joanne Spina.
Morley Ballantine Award The Morley Ballantine Award is given to a woman in the community who has exhibited excellence in business or a non-profit, demonstrated initiative and creativity, and enhanced the stability and improvement of the community. It is a time-honored award for an individual who demonstrates support of the goals of professional women and provides unselfish assistance on their behalf. Rep. Barbara McLachlan is the 2021 recipient; past winners include Karen Midkiff, Tiffany Lee, and Melissa Glick.
Entrepreneur of the Year The Entrepreneur of Year award is given to an individual who creates a new business and is seen as a source of new ideas, goods, or services. Entrepreneurs take risks of creating a startup, demonstrate vision, leadership, and ingenuity. Nominees must have a business in La Plata County. Carol Clark with Union Social House is the 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year; past recipients include Erin Neer with MuniRevs, Jeff & Jennifer Vierling with Tailwind Nutrition, and Jessika Buell with Lucky Services/Marketing Concepts Squared.
Volunteer of the Year Volunteer of Year honors an individual who exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism, and community leadership that is above and beyond their normal profession and responsibilities. This individual is respected and known for their integrity and is altruistic and magnanimous. Vaughn Morris is the 2021 Volunteer of the Year; past recipients are Dave Woodruff, Lisa Barrett, and Jeff Givens.
Barbara Conrad Award Barbara Conrad Leadership La Plata (LLP) Award recognizes an LLP alum who demonstrates service in leadership roles, creative thinking ability, collaborative leadership skills, community involvement, and dedication to the Leadership La Plata organization. Janae Hunderman is the 2021 award winner and previous recipients are Karen Thompson, Kelsea Ferrato, and Molly Martin.
Young Professional of the Year Young Professional of the Year (YPOD) Award recognizes a current YPOD member who demonstrates exemplary service and leadership. The 2021 YPOD of the Year award winner is Catie Bird, and previous recipients are Liz Demko, Luke Prince, and Taylor Criswell.
Diplomat of the Year The Diplomat of the Year award honors a Durango Chamber Diplomat who excels in serving the community, the Chamber, and the Diplomat program for that year. The 2021 Diplomat of the Year is Nancy Ottman; others include Tom Loch, Ben Frihauf, and Matt Gomez.
^Nominated individuals are not required to be a Chamber member. Other qualifications may be required according to the award category.
***Recipients of an award are eligible for the same award category after 10 years since receiving it.