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Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce

Annual Awards Celebration

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The 53rd Annual Awards Celebration, 2018

The Chamber would like to thank the Review Committee made up of the Executive Committee as well as members of the Young Professionals of the Tetons, Membership, and Business Development Committees.

Citizen of the Year- Heather Overholser

This award is based on activities benefiting the greatest number of people in the area, a singular accomplishment of great benefit to the community, or continuing service to the community over a period of time. Recipients of this award have been widely respected in the community for their personal qualities as well as their contributions. 

“Heather has worked tirelessly in her capacity as the Superintendent of Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling (ISWR) to provide our community with safe, healthy, and cost-effective waste disposal. She is managing the construction of a new transfer station and composting facility that will enable Teton County to have community food composting for the first time ever.”

Ride for the Brand- Jerry Blann

This award is for those individuals and families with long-term “demonstrated respect for the place we call Jackson Hole through dedicated, effective and exceptional action to ensure the vitality of our economy, community, and environment, our triple bottom line.

“Very few people have impacted Jackson Hole in such positive ways as has Jerry Blann. Jerry has served as President of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort from 1995 through May 2018, roughly 23 years. Jerry was the right leader to work with ownership, staff and our community members and organizations as he steered the Ski Corp to the world class Mountain Resort it is today, and in doing so, provided Teton County's winter season economic engine. His focus on excellence, customer service, community housing solutions, year-round air service and non-profit support in addition to his economic contribution will serve our community well into the future."

Rising Star- Kendra Heimbuck

This award is for the individual, under the age of 40, who is blazing the streets of Jackson with their innovation and service – both professionally and personally.

“Kendra is Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity. She joined the staff in the Spring of 2016. Kendra is the strongest, level-headed, positive leader I have ever met. She leads by example and continues to be an inspiration to her entire staff. She is wise and composed beyond her years. Habitat went through a period of change and staff turnover all while starting the biggest project Habitat has ever taken on. Kendra is an incredible asset to the community.”

G2G: Green to Green- Grand Teton Lodge Company

This award is for the business that has shown a commitment to the environment by prescribing to innovative and effective environmentally conscious business practices.

“Grand Teton Lodge Company has long been a leader in sustainability and environmental

stewardship. The company’s efforts span all operational areas, and include energy and water

conservation, protection of wildlife habitat, waste reduction and diversion, and educating and engaging employees and the public to be part of the solution. In 2017 Grand Teton Lodge Company was recognized by the National Park Service with an Environmental Achievement Award for innovation in their pre-consumer food waste composting program.”

Business of the Year (Large)- Fine Dining

This award recognizes a large business or entity that has achieved excellence in all areas of operations and contributed to the Jackson community.  

“There are several key reasons FDRG should receive this award. First, as a company,

FDRG makes significant contributions of time, in kind, sponsorship and cash donations to the community. FDRG believes in being responsible citizens and community members, which is evidenced time and time again through off season special fundraising and the thousands of donations made to community organizations. Whether it’s celebrating successes or challenging each other to do better next time, the family mentality is an integral part of the FDRG company.”

Business of the Year (Small)- Sweet Cheeks Meats

This award recognizes a small business (10 or less employees) or entity that has achieved excellence in all areas of operations and contributed to the Jackson community.  

“They are kind, friendly and bringing us a great source for healthy, local, fresh foods in a fun and innovative way. Their commitment to help community events and being part of the markets has been huge and their energy and giving is part of why we are so excited about their future.”


About the 52nd Annual Awards, 2017

Rich Ochs – Citizen of the Year: Rich Ochs, CEM, MEP has been an important presence in the community for many years and he wears many hats: Emergency Management Coordinator for Teton County, Chairman for the Teton Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), President-Elect for Wyoming All-Hazards Association, and Planning Section Chief for Wyoming Type 3 All-Hazards. In 2017, Rich’s work came into the spotlight with significant winter storm and power outage in February and again with Total Solar Eclipse in August. One nomination described Rich as  “a true civil servant, organized leader and thinker with ultimate leadership actions best evidenced in ability to think critically and act with strategy, compassion, humor and ultimately humility.”

Clarke Nelson – Power of Place: This award is for those individuals and families with long-term demonstrated respect for the power of place we call Jackson Hole through dedicated, effective and exceptional action to ensure the vitality of our economy, community, and environment, our triple bottom line. Clarke has been working to champion Jackson Hole for the present and for the future. He has started numerous scholarships for high school students and holds volunteer positions that include serving as a Trustee Emeritus for the National Museum of Wildlife Art and as an Emeritus Member of the Teton Science Schools Journeys School Board of Directors.

Crista Valentino – Rising Star: A Jackson Hole Travel and Tourism Board Member, Crista shares her passion for Jackson Hole, conservation, sustainability, and adventure in many ways According to one nomination, “Her organizations, Current and CoalitionWild, support and encourage conservation locally, statewide, and internationally, while striving to inspire the next generation of ideas and leadership. As a BackcountryZero Ambassador, she embodies the local adventure athlete, while emphasizing smart decisions to reduce risk and ensure she (and others) come home safely after the adventure.” Other nominations noted that she “positively makes her mark on each endeavor she pursues” and “her remarkable energy can carry others forward with her.”

Slow Food in the Tetons – G2G: Green To Green: Slow Food in the Tetons works to grow our local and regional sustainable food economy by supporting producers, educating consumers and connecting them together in the spirit of good, clean and fair food. Their work has made a lasting impact in Jackson Hole by inspiring individuals, businesses, and other nonprofits. Nominations lauded their programs and projects, including the People’s Market, Slow Food Farm Stand, and community meals. Nominations also celebrated their collaboration with other local businesses and nonprofits, including Friends of Pathways, Local Restaurant & Bar, Lockhart Ranch, Snake River Grill, Teton County Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling – RRR Business Leaders, and Vertical Harvest.

Jackson Hole Rodeo – Business of the Year: As Jackson Hole Rodeo’s website states, “Rodeo has been a part of Jackson Hole's cowboy culture since the first settlers arrived over 100 years ago.” As a part of their commitment to culture and community, they provided the stock for the Jackson High School Rodeo in September. While rodeo is a tradition, the business is a modern operation. The Jackson Hole Rodeo has successfully incorporated the Friday rodeos in to their summer schedule, opened a new and improved concession stand on the northeast portion of the rodeo arena, and started a fun new social media focus complete with live Facebook feeds.

Terry Ray – Distinguished Service: The Distinguished Service Award is reserved for industry leaders and benefactors to the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce who have consistently dedicated their own resources and expertise to promoting the destination overall. Terry Ray, Owner of West Lives on Gallery, is an exemplary recipient. His work positively impacts the community of Jackson Hole and his dedication to the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival has helped to ensure that the event remains successful and sustainable.

Thank You, Sponsors!

Sponsor tables are available to businesses, nonprofits, and individuals who would like to show their commitment to community excellence and to those who wish to support the award-winners.


About the 51st Annual Awards, 2016

Power of Place – Steve Duerr: It is appropriate that Steve Duerr would be recognized for his achievements with the Power of Place award. The former Executive Director for the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, Steve championed the adoption of the brand: “Respecting the Power of Place.” After his tenure at the Chamber, Steve went on to lead the Murie Center where he guided dozens of meetings and conferences that gathered influential conservationists from around the world. Steve was instrumental in the Murie Center’s Artist-in-Residence program featuring Dwayne Harty’s: “Yellowstone to Yukon: The Journey of Wildlife and Art.” The artist retraced Carl Rungius’ footsteps and completed his work while residing at the Murie Center. Mr. Harty was the 2011 Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Featured Artist. Steve recently led an effort to rename “North Park” near the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center to “Murie Family Park.” Weaving throughout Steve's work is a commitment to the people and stories that form the fabric of the valley. As one nomination read, “Few people have his passion for Jackson Hole's conservation history and few people have so consistently worked to cement that legacy for generations to come.”

Citizen of the Year – Dr. Heather Carleton: A tireless entrepreneur and volunteer, Dr. Heather Carleton’s work has long been valued in Jackson Hole, the state of Wyoming, and around the world. She is known as someone who has transformed the lives of animals and people. Owner of Jackson Animal Hospital, she has also given her time and talent to groups including Teton Raptor Center, Womentum, and the Animal Adoption Center. One nomination read, “Dr. Heather Carleton has touched the lives of people and animals in our community and throughout the state of Wyoming in countless ways.” Another said, "She gives back to this community by caring not only for the two legged members, but advocating for the furry four-legged ones – the ones without a voice.”

Business of the Year – Snow King Mountain Resort: Snow King Mountain is an impressive landmark rising above the town of Jackson. Locals first began to ski the “Town Hill” in the 1920’s and generations of Jackson locals have learned to ski on its iconic slopes. Snow King Mountain Resort continues to foster the local ski culture and add to the economic sustainability of Jackson Hole. As one nomination read, “Snow King Mountain Resort is making major investments in their infrastructure in an effort to secure their business' longevity into the foreseeable future. These upgrades have added great value to the year-round Jackson Hole experience for both locals and visitors alike.”

Green to Green – Local Restaurant and Bar: Established in 2012, Local Restaurant and Bar quickly made a name for itself. Their commitment to sustainable business practices is exemplified by their internal efforts as well as participation in community programs. One nomination read, “Josh Hirschmann and the team at Local are true innovators in sustainable business practices.” Another read, “Jessica, Josh, and the team there have been exemplary in their sustainability initiatives and truly demonstrate the leadership and innovation that our community needs if we are to become a world-leading sustainable destination and community.” Some patrons may not realize the work that is accomplished behind-the-scenes, although much of the information is proudly displayed on their website. It begins, “At Local Restaurant and Bar we strive to provide an authentic Jackson dining experience while acting as responsible stewards of the natural environment that we call home.”

Rising Star – Chase & Cody Lockhart: The Old West spirit of Jackson Hole has been refreshed by the newest generation of local food producers. As one nomination stated, “Chase and Cody Lockhart of Lockhart Cattle Company have decided to make sure that ranchers are still relevant in Jackson Hole today. They are committed to raising awareness about their ranch, their cattle, their beef and their lifestyle.”  In addition to their commitment to a successful business, Chase and Cody have been involved in the community with groups including Slow Food in the Tetons, Hole Food Rescue (Green-to-Green Award 2015), Teton County Search and Rescue, and more. One nomination read, “I believe that they are both strong members of our community who will come to play a large role in shaping our community's future. I think that they are both equally deserving of the Chamber's Rising Star Award because I can't wait to see what they will do next.”

Thank You, Sponsors!


About the 50th Annual Awards, 2015

Citizen of the Year - Katharine Conover: The Executive Director of Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, Katharine Conover has played a significant role in building a strong and resilient Jackson Hole. During her tenure, Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities achieved the extraordinary $110,000,000 mark. This success can be attributed in part to the successful Co-Challenger program that engages a distinguished group of community leaders who intrinsically value philanthropy and inspire others to give. The former Executive Director of the Community Safety Network, Katharine was responsible for the creation of the Safe House, which is an important part of the network that helps people affected by domestic violence. Katharine is a member of the Rotary Club of Jackson Hole and has been honored as both Rotarian of the Month and Citizen of the Month. She was a founding Board Member of the Wyoming Nonprofit Network and currently serves on the Wyoming Public Media Statewide Advisory Council.

Business of the Year - The Wort Hotel: Through fires, reconstruction, and revitalization, the Historic Wort Hotel has solidified itself as the center of downtown. The Wort completed a major capital project this summer with the addition of The Silver Dollar Showroom, a venue designed to showcase live music and add vibrancy downtown. Many know the Wort as a cultural touchstone for Jackson Hole, but approximately 150 employees know the Wort for its culture of community service where each individual is encouraged to volunteer and give back to the community at any level. On top of their commitment to the community, the Wort has received numerous accolades and awards that help secure its reputation for excellence. Visit www.worthotel.com.

Green-to-Green - Hole Food Rescue: Hole Food Rescue has relocated more than 400,000 pounds of food in just over two years and, in order to keep the operation as sustainable as possible, deliveries of food from donor to recipient are made via bike and trailer. Under the leadership of Ali Dunford, Hole Food Rescue has developed a strong network of volunteers while building relationships with a variety of businesses and nonprofits, including Jackson Whole Grocer, Albertsons, Jackson Hole Farmers Market on Town Square, Persephone Bakery, Jackson Cupboard, Good Samaritan Mission, Latino Resource Center, Community Safety Network, and the Senior Center of Jackson Hole. Learn more about the organization and volunteer opportunities at www.holefoodrescue.org.

Rising Star - Dick Stout: Dick Stout was nominated for the Rising Star Award for showing a commitment to excellence at work and for his widespread volunteer activities that have served as an inspiring example of community engagement. As a criminal defense attorney with the DeFazio Law Office, one nomination noted that his “zealous advocacy on behalf of his clients is impressive.” He was also recognized for his willingness to serve the community as a volunteer with organizations including Teton County Drug Court, Teton County Housing Authority, Boy Scouts of America Troop 268, and the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce’s Santa on the Square. One nomination noted: “Few in this community have devoted more time and energy toward making this community great.

Power of Place - Pete Karns: The elk antler arches that grace the four corners of Town Square are as iconic as the Tetons and Pete Karns rose to the challenge of ensuring that they would continue to stand for another half-century. The Rotary Club of Jackson Hole originally constructed the elk antler arches starting in 1953 and, when it became evident that reconstruction was necessary at the turn of the 21st Century, the club stepped up to champion efforts. Pete, a Jackson Hole native and longtime member of the Rotary Lunch Club, managed the process from fundraising to construction. The fourth and final elk antler arch was successfully completed in 2015.

Howdy Pardners Western Hospitality Award - Craig and Cliff & Loretta Kirkpatrick:The Kirkpatricks are champions of the western lifestyle, committed to community and volunteerism. The Kirkpatricks are have been volunteers for many Jackson Hole organizations, including American Red Cross of Wyoming, Art Association of Jackson Hole, Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Teton Area, Off Square Theatre Company, and many more. Cliff serves as the Jackson district chair for the Jackson District of the Boy Scouts of America and Chamber members will recognize Cliff & Loretta as the faces behind ElkFest as the managers of the Boy Scout Elk Antler Auction. The auction is a unique Jackson Hole event known to have the world's best collection of elk antlers. Proceeds from the auction are used for long term habitat improvement projects at the National Elk Refuge and to help fund Friends of Scouting dues that are required for the Jackson Hole district to remain in Boy Scouts of America.

Thank You, Sponsors


About the 49th Annual Awards, 2014

Citizen of the Year - Mayor Mark Barron: This award is based on activities benefiting the greatest number of people in the area, a singular accomplishment of great benefit to the community, or continuing service to the community over a period of time. Mark Barron has served as Mayor of Jackson for twelve years. His term has seen challenges and many accomplishments. The Chamber wishes to extend appreciation for his efforts to champion the interests of local businesses in Jackson Hole.

Business of the Year - Snake River Brewing Company: Snake River Brewing Company celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014. Since its inception, the Brewpub has served as one of Jackson’s favorite living rooms while the business has concurrently reached into the community to support countless nonprofit and business events and initiatives.

Green-to-Green: Terra Firma Organics: This award is for the business that has shown a commitment to the environment by prescribing to innovative and effective environmentally conscious business practices. Terra Firma Organics is an organic waste management company that turns unwanted yard waste into premium compost, mulch, and topsoil. They work with private and government agencies and pride themselves in being a force for change by creating a full circle of resource management.

Rising Star - Ali and Kevin Cohane: This award is for the individual or couple under the age of 40 who is blazing the streets of Jackson with their innovation and service – both professionally and personally. Persephone Bakery has quickly become a favorite Town Square business. Ali and Kevin attribute their success to the strong community spirit of Jackson Hole and show their gratitude by donating goods and time to a variety of nonprofits and events.

Howdy Pardners Western Hospitality Award - Mike and Claudia Schrotz: This award is for an individual, couple, or business who has repeatedly shown the visiting public what Jackson hospitality is all about. Mike and Claudia have been dedicated volunteers who help ensure that many of Jackson’s annual events run seamlessly. They are known as patriotic, giving, and generous community members who have worked with groups such as the Center for the Arts, Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, Jackson Hole Jaycees, Kiwanis of Jackson Hole, Jackson Hole Lions Club, Rotary Club of Jackson Hole, and many more.

Power of Place - Manuel Lopez: This award is for those individuals and families with long-term “demonstrated respect for the power of place we call Jackson Hole through dedicated, effective, and exceptional action to ensure the vitality of our economy, community, and environment, our triple bottom line. Manuel Lopez is an elemental citizen of Jackson Hole who has served under many titles, including Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce Board Chair, and has spent his career working to make Jackson Hole a world-class alpine destination. A special presentation was also held on Town Square this summer.


About the 48th Annual Awards, 2013

Business of the Year (New for 2013) - Jackson Hole Mountain Resort - Topping the SKI Magazine list as the Number One Resort in North America, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has a commitment to being the best. JHMR is a significant economic driver for the region and is a leader in the community through outreach and participation.

Citizen of the Year – Bob McLaurin: This award is based on activities benefiting the greatest number of people in the area, a singular accomplishment of great benefit to the community, or continuing service to the community over a period of time. Bob McLaurin has served as Town Administrator since 2003. Several successes include significant decreases in energy consumption, a healthy financial record, and a focus on excellent customer service. According to the nominations, Bob is a tireless public servant and the “glue that hold our community together.”

Green-to-Green – Blue Spruce Cleaners: This award is for the business that has shown a commitment to the environment by prescribing to innovative and effective environmentally conscious business practices. Blue Spruce Cleaners is a family-owned small business with a commitment to the environment. One nomination letter stated, “Year after year, Blue Spruce Cleaners serves as a pinnacle to green business within our community.”

Rising Star – Tom Fay: This award is for the individual, under the age of 40, who is blazing the streets of Jackson with their innovation and service – both professionally and personally. Tom Fay, owner of Pinky G’s Pizzeria, is well-known for supporting many nonprofit and civic causes. He has even delivered free pizza to show his appreciation to local emergency responders.

Howdy Pardners Western Hospitality Award – Jackson Police Department Citizen's Mounted Unit: This award is for an individual or business who has repeatedly shown the visiting public what Jackson hospitality is all about. The Howdy Pardners are pleased to recognize the Mounted Patrol. Besides being able to keep an eye on things from an elevated vantage point, the members of the mounted patrol provide excellent visitor services and add to the western ambiance of the Town of Jackson.

Power of Place – Pat and Jerry DeFrance: This award is for those individuals and families with long-term demonstrated respect for the power of place we call Jackson Hole through dedicated, effective and exceptional action to ensure the vitality of our economy, community, and environment, our triple bottom line. Pat and Jerry DeFrance supported the community through many hours of volunteer work at events like the Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival. Jerry is a past Chair of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce.


About the 47th Annual Awards, 2012

Power of Place - Old Bill’s Fun Run: This award is for those individuals and families with long-term demonstrated respect for the power of place we call Jackson Hole through dedicated, effective and exceptional action to ensure the vitality of our economy, community, and environment, our triple bottom line. Old Bill’s Fun Run is an outstanding example of community philanthropy. One nomination letter explained, “Fifteen years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Old Bill had an idea that changed the course of philanthropy and profoundly affected all of our lives by inspiring all of us to invest in local nonprofits to enrich the entire community. To date, Old Bill’s Fun Run has raised a staggering $82.5 million for Jackson Hole nonprofits and one out of every three households participates.” The fun run has become a not-to-be-missed annual community celebration supported by a committee comprised of 25 representatives from local nonprofits. The nomination letter commended Old Bill’s Fun Run for the idea that it “makes us strive to be the very best version of ourselves.” The nomination letter concluded, “Old Bill’s only exists because of the enthusiasm and collaboration of the entire community. We can think of no better testament to the power of place.”

Citizen of the Year - Herb & Amy Brooks: This award is based on activities benefiting the greatest number of people in the area, a singular accomplishment of great benefit to the community, or continuing service to the community over a period of time. Herb & Amy Brooks volunteer for a variety of organizations, including Jackson Food Cupboard, Jackson Hole Recycling Center/Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling, Jackson Hole Boy Scouts, St. John’s Outreach, and Jackson Hole Rotary Club. One nomination letter commented, “Herb and Amy are one of our community’s most selfless, quiet, and effective ‘duos for good’ – delivering outstanding support and encouragement to our youth and our neighbors in need.” In summary of Amy’s work with the community, one nomination letter said, “Amy can make miracles happen.” Another letter extolled Herb’s contributions and said, “What a dedicated and hard-working man who always has our community in mind. We are so lucky!”

Green-to-Green - Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: This award is for the business that has shown a commitment to the environment by prescribing to innovative and effective environmentally conscious business practices. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) has set a high environmental standard for ski resorts of any size in North America by developing an ISO 14001 registered Environmental Management System (EMS) and maintaining the program under external review by KPMG for more than six years. One nomination letter stated that JHMR has “been an extremely valuable ally” when it comes to educating other groups on “meaningful ways to reduce petroleum and emissions footprint s.” The letter commended the “commitment to ‘greening’ their operations” along with the “creativity and enthusiasm” in their approach to sustainability efforts.

Rising Star - Joe Madera: This award is for the individual, under the age of 40, who is blazing the streets of Jackson with their innovation and service – both professionally and personally. Joe Madera has been recognized for professional excellence in his role as the General Manager of Homewood Suites by Hilton Jackson Hole while also exemplifying a spirit of volunteerism that makes a difference every day in Jackson Hole. One nomination letter stated, “It is important to note Joe does not just participate, he leads grassroots efforts.” Joe volunteers for a variety of organizations, including the Rotary Lunch Club and Rotary Wine Fest, Wyoming Lodging & Restaurant Association’s Educational Foundation Board and Executive Committee, Central Wyoming College Advisory Board, the Jac kson Hole Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Marketing Committee, Jackson Hole Elk’s Club, and more. The nomination letter stressed that “Joe does not just pitch in; he contributes with extreme professionalism and commitment.”

Howdy Pardners Western Hospitality Award - Jackson Hole Jaycees: This award is for an individual or business who has repeatedly shown the visiting public what Jackson hospitality is all about. The Howdy Pardners Ambassador Club is pleased to recognize the Jackson Hole Jaycees, the young professionals group that works with events and projects to promote community service, social activities, and personal development. The Jaycees help to make Jackson Hole a festive destination throughout the year. In the winter they work with local businesses and organizations to hang seasonal garlands and in the summer they present the “Fire in the Hole” fireworks show. The nomination noted that the group has done “such a spectacular job over the last few years with their world-class fireworks show, an attraction that consistently draws visitors to Jackson Hole.” Although fire danger was deemed too high for the 2012 show, the club plans to continue the tradition in 2013.



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