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Chamber seeks local rock stars

Our businesses play a major role in our culture and society. They stimulate the economy and allow our community to thrive.

Every year, the Durango Chamber of Commerce recognizes our area’s businesses, individuals and nonprofits that demonstrate excellence and leadership and have made a real impact on our community. We believe this is an important function of our organization because it brings us together to celebrate and builds strength within our community.

The Chamber presents several categories during the annual Durango Rocks Awards Ceremony, scheduled for Jan. 20 at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. Nominations are now open, and we are calling on you to tell the stories of those who have been remarkable in 2021.

The Citizen of the Year is awarded to people 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. Bob Wolff is the 2020 Citizen of the Year, and other recent recipients include Ellen Roberts and Joanne Spina.

The Business 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 expansion. They demonstrate achievement in service and innovation in management. The 2020 Business of the Year is 1st SouthWest Bank; other recent recipients include Peak Food & Beverage and Durango Dermatology.

The Small Business of the Year award is presented to companies that have been in business for a minimum of three years and have fewer than 20 full-time employees. These businesses demonstrate innovation, perseverance and outstanding accomplishments in management while creating a successful and growing business. Honeyville & Honey House Distillery is the 2020 recipient, and others include Durango Harley-Davidson and Pet Haus.

The Entrepreneur of Year award is given to someone 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. Erin Neer with MuniRevs is the 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year; past recipients include Jeff and Jennifer Vierling with Tailwind Nutrition, and Jessika Buell with Lucky Services/Marketing Concepts Squared.

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. Region 9 Economic Development is the 2020 Nonprofit of the Year; past recipients include Trails 2000 and the Community Foundation.

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. Dave Woodruff is the 2020 Volunteer of the Year; past recipients are Lisa Barrett and Jeff Givens.

Nominations are accepted online at DurangoBusiness.org/awardsnominations and the deadline is Nov. 5. Be sure to tell the story behind why the nominee should be considered. Finalists are announced in December and the recipient is recognized at the Jan. 20 ceremony.

In addition to Durango Rocks, the Chamber offers programs and seminars to grow your business and monthly networking opportunities. For details, visit DurangoBusiness.org/events.

Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at jack@durangobusiness.org.