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2019 Top Frontline Worker Nominees

Canyons & Plains: John Carson
A proud park ranger and interpreter at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, John Carson, the great grandson of Kit Carson, guides local school children and travelers alike through the history of the reconstructed 1840s adobe fur trading post. Both engaging and personable, Carson provides an accurate historical interpretation of life at the fort back in its heyday. Guest frequently comment on his welcoming nature as a highlight of visiting the National Historic Site.

Denver & Cities of the Rockies: Alison Hamling
A powerhouse of energy and enthusiasm, Alison Hamling was instrumental in establishing Colorado's very first entertainment district and used it as a platform to launch "Friday Fest," a widely popular concert series that draws thousands of tourists and residents year after year. The creation of this live music event set a foundation for successful events and Hamling has went on to create two other award-winning festivals for the Downtown Greeley area.

The Great West: Mona Gilman
Even as she began her career as a night auditor at Craig's Candlewood Suites, Mona Gilman understood the importance of reading guests and understanding their needs. That unique skillset is what paved the way for her promotion as general manager at the hotel in just five short years. Under her leadership, the location has been ranked #1 in customer satisfaction out of all the Candlewood Suites properties nationwide, and has also went on to win IHG's torchbearer Award for three consecutive years.

Mountains & Mesas: Jason Cox
By tapping into the 1440-degree heat of the world's deepest hot spring, Jason Cox and his innovative partners established the country's second brewery that utilizes geothermal energy for its operation. Jason is a passionate advocate for environmentally sustainable practices and has elevated Pagosa Springs as a global leader in this arena. He's most likely found talking with visitors, making new friends and sharing his love for Pagosa Springs and Colorado.

Mystic San Luis Valley: Raleigh Burt
San Luis Valley native, Raleigh Burt works with his family in their full-service outdoor retail shop, Kristi Mountain Sports. The team pride themselves on customer service and serve as a shining example of small town hospitality. It's common to see glowing reviews from locals and travelers alike who thank Raleigh specifically for going out of his way to "save the vacation." As an avid outdoorsman himself, he offers excellent advice and inspires the kind of trust you want when planning an adventure in rugged Colorado terrain.

Pikes Peak Wonders: KumSuk Cano
Having worked for the Broadmoor for a remarkable 27 years, KumSuk Cano is an exceptional housekeeper that keeps guests coming back because of the amazing service she provides. Setting the tone for the rest of the team, Cano has received more positive letter than any other housekeeping team member. She goes above and beyond for every single one of her guests and has a true gift for building and maintaining strong relationships.

Pioneering Plains: Lois Hilleary
With over 6,000 volunteer hours under her belt, Lois Hilleary has been greeting visitors to the State of Colorado since 1996-when the Colorado Welcome Center in Julesburg first opened its doors. Since then, almost five and a half million visitors have ventured in, many of them greeted by Hilleary. As a native, she is an expert in all things Colorado. Chatting about her favorite places to visitors, she has been responsible for extending many stays and driving economic development throughout the state.

Rockies Playground: Bill Kight
Bill Kight, executive director of the Glenwood Springs Historical Society, Frontier Museum and Doc Holliday Collection, is hands-on with Glenwood history. Bill is interactive with guests and impersonates 'Doc' during ghost walks that lead to the once-famous American gambler's gravesite. Kight has over 30 years of experience as a cultural resource manager, arcahaeologist, ranger, community liaison and public affairs officer for the BLM and USFS. As part of the recreation team on the White River National Forest, he helped lead cutting-edge practices for managing tourism on the most visited sit in the nation. Bill has earned his agencies the Stephen H. Hart Award and American Cultural Resource Association's National Award. He served on two Forest Service national teams: Tribal Implementation and Sacred Site Policy Development. Bill's passion for honoring America's native people has resulted in a reputation for unwavering suppter of an inclusive and holistic approach to indigenous resource management. For 20 years, his commitment to indigenous people and the public resulted in the Ute Trail Project.

2017 Top Frontline Worker Nominees

Each year, the Colorado tourism industry nominates tourism employees to be recognized as Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. These nominees are people who do an outstanding job of welcoming visitors to our state and providing them with the best experiences possible. The Colorado Tourism Office and tourism industry would like to thank and recognize these 2017 Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers for their dedication and hard work in attracting visitors to Colorado.

Mary "Maym" Cunningham
Trial Director for the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials
Maym has served as Trial Director for the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials since 2010, which culminates her life experience and passions. The Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials is in its 31st year, attracting more than 6,000 visitors and competitors worldwide. Backed by the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Board and a group of dedicated volunteers, Maym uses her talents to intertwine visitors, competitors and volunteers, making the trials a unique experience for not only the ones involved but for the Meeker community. Her lens is personal, her perspective authentic, which make Maym an advocate and champion for promoting cultural tourism and life in the west. After all, it’s who she is.

Anne Genson
Director of Community Building and Farm Operations, Jessup Farms, Fort Collins
An average week for Anne includes multiple tours showcasing all Jessup Farms has to offer, managing all operational aspects of the farm and hosting events focused on agriculture and community interest. Her enthusiasm shines through as she shares details and answers questions, often gaining a new volunteer or organizational partner in the process. Her ability to welcome and educate is extraordinary. Ann is also Executive Director for Sproutin’ Up, which creates community gardens and provides fresh produce to under-resourced families in Fort Collins. She weaves agriculture and hospitality together seamlessly.

Emma Hicks
Colorado Welcome Center Travel Counselor (Volunteer)
Emma Hicks has volunteered for the CWC since before its doors even opened. She was volunteering while the WC was operating out of the Old Town Barn, prior to receiving its official designation and opening in 1988. She greets every person with kindness and enthusiasm. She has a tremendous amount of Colorado knowledge and is dedicated to helping visitors have a wonderful experience. It is hard to imagine a better suited recipient of “frontline” work than a woman who has dedicated 30 years of time to Colorado tourism.

Marilee Johnson
Coordinator for the Logan County Visitor Center, Secretary/Treasurer for Northeast Colorado Travel Region & Entertainment Coordinator Logan County Fair
Marilee has hosted several FAM tours from welcome centers all over the state; welcomed an average of 80,000 annual visitors; given more than 500 hours of service to NCTR in meetings and represented the region at tradeshows, expos and festivals; and has spent countless hours working with the fair board. She understands the benefits of promoting the entire northeast region and was instrumental in partnering with Colorado Life magazine to have the brand-new travel guide “Venture to Northeast Colorado” published. She continually has wonderful ideas on how to better market Logan County and the region.

Gary Light
Visitors Center Manager, City of Loveland
Gary treats each person that walks through the Loveland Visitors Center as if they are the most important person to have walked through the door, whether it’s a guest, volunteer or delivery person. He asks people what their names are and where they are from, inquires about their plans in Loveland so he can gather information for them, makes phone calls to help them book a stay or find hours for a restaurant, and so much more. He takes pride in his role and goes beyond his duties to make each person leave Loveland with wonderful memories. Visitors frequently send emails with their stories and gratitude for Gary making their visit so wonderful and memorable.

Brandon Marr
Front Office Associate, Holiday Inn Steamboat Springs
In spite of his young age, Brandon is well traveled and always improves his education, he is currently finishing his Associate Degree in Business at CMC, Alpine Campus. His enthusiasm for the outdoors and fly-fishing, in particular, allow him to entertain guests with anecdotes and appreciation for their life stories. Nothing is too much trouble for Brandon when it comes to guests and their special needs, even after a long day at the front desk, he always goes the extra mile and volunteers for any special requests placed on him by guests, his peers and management. Brandon gets mentioned the most often in guest reviews and is utmost deserving of the recognition to be an exemplary hospitality frontline member.

Nick Myers
Lead Park Ranger, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Nick has helped establish an exceptional visitor experience at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. He played a key role in achieving the Black Canyon’s designation as an International Dark Sky Park and enhancing the annual Black Canyon Astronomy Festival — two developments that entice people from around the world to experience the astronomical crown over the canyon. Nick hires, trains, leads and coaches the frontline staff of park rangers at Black Canyon, helping them be at the top of their game for assisting visitors and always seeks to find a message for visitors that will help them discover their own deep relationship with Black Canyon and the surrounding region. Nick brings his other park experiences, from Everglades to Yellowstone, into play to be a leader in the service to people who travel through Colorado and across the globe to get here.

Ted Nading
Driver, GO Alpine, Steamboat Springs
GO Alpine believes their service makes a large impression on visitors during the arrival and departure of their vacation experiences. Ted is an airport-shuttle driver during the winter season and has been a valued employee of the company for 11 years. Once customers have been dropped off at their destination, they receive a text that allows them to rate their ride. Ted receives the greatest amount of “Excellent” driver ratings and the most comments. GO Alpine is truly honored to have an employee like Ted representing their company, providing exceptional customer service to all of his passengers.

Trish Pickett
Lead Cashier, Glenwood Hot Springs
Trish is the friendly face that greets guests and is a role model for the employees she oversees. Her positive attitude and solution-oriented style make her indispensable — a team player in every sense. She has cross-trained in nearly every department. She is a first point of contact with guests. Her personal motto is to provide the best customer service in the Roaring Fork Valley. Trish was recently honored with the Devereux Award by demonstrating exceptional skills that align with the resort’s mission “To make people feel better.”

Pikes Peak – America's Mountain Rangers
Cherese Bennett, Laraine Bennett, Milinda Carnahan, Kent Chaney, Dave Dillard, Bill Duck, Nancy Foran, Rick Johnson, Grant Kaske, Betty Kuhlman, Erin Kunitz, Connor Maloney, Wayne Martin, Mike Muoio, John O’Brien, Caroline Ogdahl, Ramsey Ross, Al Schlafli, Duane Schormann, Stan Stevens, Chuck Struck, Tom Tillman, Brenda Wilson, Linder Winter
Since 1948, rangers have welcomed guests to Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain. In 2016, these dedicated men and women welcomed more than 480,000 visitors at the Gateway, patrolled and safeguarded the 19-mile highway, assisted with more than 22,000 hot brakes and 800 calls for assistance. They work hard supporting famed events such as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. They conduct “Meet the Ranger” interpretive presentations on a wide variety of topics and provide inspiration to children though the Junior Ranger program. Their commitment to excellence and visitor experience make them as much of a treasure as the mountain itself.

Mary Schurwonn-Dell
Training Coordinator, MillerCoors-Coors Brewery Tours
When Mary started as a tour rep seven years ago, her passion and hard work made her a clear leader on the team and her commitment to giving guests the best experience has only been emboldened by her promotion to the training coordinator role. Mary now uses her experience and passion to train new employees, and a better example couldn’t be set for them. With Mary showing them the ropes, her commitment is translated through them and the reason why MillerCoors receives  98% positive feedback on their tour experiences. She embodies what you picture in a frontline employee. She spreads positivity to everyone around her, is a great resource for staff and guests, and has a commitment to quality and the guest experience. She knows the company's success lies with visitors, and she goes above and beyond every day to put them first.

Monica Wainwright
Front Office Supervisor, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel
Monica has the exceptional ability to make each guest’s interaction experience extraordinary! Monica has worked in the hospitality industry for 20-plus years. From cruise ships to hotels, she has found her love for her work in providing customer service that cannot be taught — it is from the heart. Monica has done tremendous work to welcome and delight guests of the hotel. “Monica was extremely nice and helpful,” said one guest. “She went above and beyond to help us out. We needed a ride to the rental car location and she went out of her way to get a van and take us directly there. You have a wonderful employee in Monica.” “Front desk staff are all friendly and efficient, Monica Wainwright was especially helpful,” states another. She has also been awarded the 1st Quarter 2017 “Far From Ordinary” Award of Excellence, where she was recognized for her accomplishments and dedication to her job and the City of Aurora.

2016 Exceptional Frontline Worker Nominees

Each year, the Colorado tourism industry nominates tourism employees to be recognized as Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. These nominees are people who do an outstanding job of welcoming visitors to our state and providing them with the best experiences possible. The Colorado Tourism Office and tourism industry would like to thank and recognize these 2016 Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers for their dedication and hard work in attracting visitors to Colorado.

Gary and Ming Adams
Owners of Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch, McElmo Canyon/Cortez
History abounds in every nook and corner of the ranch. Gary and Ming lovingly continue to offer a farm/ranch aspect to the property. This attention to detail displays the passion Gary and Ming have for the land and its history, and the surrounding archaeology. The homestead was a working ranch for decades, owned by legendary cowboy, Elden Zwicker. The road that leads to the Ranch has been called “Mormon Road” when early Mormons used it to migrate to Utah. The road is also nicknamed “Robber’s Path”, as Butch Cassidy is rumored to have hid his fortune in the Canyon. There are also over 5000 documented archeological sites to explore in the area.

Mary C. Bollinger
Visitor Information Specialist, Forest Service Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests & Pawnee National Grassland, Fort Collins
Mary Bollinger has worked for the Forest Service for almost 20 years as a volunteer and permanent employee, and she has made significant tourism contributions during her long-standing career. She was a key contributor to curriculum developed for VFC’s Certified Tourism Ambassador program, which debuted in 2014. She annually trains and works with more than 125 travel advisors for the Colorado Welcome Center and the Fort Collins Downtown Visitor Center. Mary directs the USDA Forest Service’s Visitor Information Center inclusive of interactive features and a variety of information. We applaud her extraordinary passion and dedication for the forest service, tourism, hospitality and the State of Colorado.

Will Colon
Owner of Colorado Jeep Tours and Raft Masters, Cañon City
Will Colon is the owner of Colorado Jeep Tours and Raft Masters. Will spear-headed the effort to raise funds for Cañon City’s whitewater park, starting the Whitewater Kayak and Recreation Park committee. WKRP has been hosting the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival since 2010. Will collaborates with the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Captain Zipline, the Bar Double R Ranch, the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey and more, to promote tourism in the Royal Gorge Region. Will is a fourth generation Colorado native who is passionate about and believes in Colorado. He has served as the Cañon City Chamber of Commerce chair on the tourism committee. Will promotes Colorado 365 days a year.

Mark Davison
Chief Ranger, Colorado National Monument, Fruita
This is Mark’s third Chief Ranger position; he previously served in that capacity at Scotts Bluff National Monument (Nebraska) and Capulin Volcano National Monument (New Mexico). In each position, Mark has gone beyond the requirements of his position, reaching out to the tourism community in many ways. Since 2012 at Colorado National Monument, Mark has been especially active with the bicycling community: helping organize and facilitate non-competitive “tour” events - events that are open to all cyclists regardless of age and capabilities, thus drawing visitors to the valley who want to experience the scenery. Mark engages with tourism partners in other ways, notably: seeking ways to welcome visitors to the Monument and its campground; and promoting a wide range of permits for special uses such as rock climbing and family events.

Jennifer Loshaw
Guest Services Coordinator, Montrose
Jennifer Loshaw has worked at the City's Office of Business and Tourism (OBT) since 2013. She brings more than ten years of travel marketing, publication development, and volunteer management experience to the OBT. As an integral member of the team, her position has evolved as the OBT has grown. Currently she is serving as the guest services coordinator. Holding a master of fine arts in photography, Jennifer takes great pride in connecting photographers to businesses that have a mutual interest and need for one another's services. Her photo editing skills and extensive knowledge of regional tourism and recreational opportunities have helped create an inspirational and educational visitor center and beautiful, informative, and memorable Montrose Official Visitor Guides.

Joe Madrid
Breakfast Attendant at the Fairfield Marriott, Alamosa
Joe has lived in Alamosa for about 17 years after moving from Pueblo. He loves the friendly small-town atmosphere of Alamosa as well as all of the outdoor recreation such as fishing, hunting, and camping. The Alamosa CVB staff has received numerous compliments about Joe who goes out of his way to provide excellent service to the guests at the Fairfield. He has worked at the Fairfield since it opened in 2014 and especially loves meeting new people and visiting with the travelers. Joe’s good-nature and infectious smile make all the guests at the Fairfield feel welcomed.

Ralph McPherson
Volunteer Coordinator, Pueblo Visitor’s Center and Scenic Byways Office and the El Pueblo History Museum and Gift Shop, Pueblo
Although Ralph is legally blind, he and his service dog, Roberto walk to work every day. Ralph is incredible at coordinating volunteer efforts and is highly respected and loved by the community and visitors. Ralph also serves on numerous boards and committees and is always willing to help wherever needed.

Anthony Smith
Banquet Captain, Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs
Anthony is the face of tourism in Colorado Springs. His quick smile, attention to detail and friendly personality make all feel welcome and at home. Anthony moved to Colorado Springs in 2003 and joined the Broadmoor’s F&B team, where over the course of 6 years he worked his way up from a cook in the employee cafeteria to Banquet Captain of the Broadmoor’s west building. In 2009 he took his talents to Cheyenne Mountain Resort, where he currently works today. In 2011 he and his son volunteered as models for the CVB annual photo shoot. The result was a set of enduring, captivating images that are still in use to invite people to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region.

Emily Spencer
Group Sales and Catering for The Strater Hotel, Durango
Emily Spencer joined the Strater Hotel’s Sales and Catering team in 2005 bringing with her over 20 years of hotel sales and catering experience. An "unsung hero” Emily works behind the scenes to bring tours, weddings and other groups to southwestern Colorado and the entire region benefits from her hard work. When a group visits Durango other businesses, besides the Strater Hotel, enjoy the effects of an influx of visitors to the area. Emily is a hard worker who makes groups visit to Colorado memorable and she deserves plenty of thanks! Emily plays mandolin and violin, and sings in her church’s praise team band and with a women’s barbershop quartet. Emily is an active member of the Durango High Noon Rotary Club and also is a two striped blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

PT Wood
Proprietor/Owner Wood’s High Mountain Distillery, Salida
Wood’s High Mountain Distillery creates handcrafted spirits in historic Salida. Brothers, PT and Lee Wood, opened their distillery to bottle their passion for the outdoors into spirits that shine with the essence of the mountains of Colorado. PT and his staff of ten now handle production soaring to over 200 distributors in Colorado, Italy and across Europe. With the overhead door rolled back to invite everyone on the sidewalk in, they have created a favorite gathering place in the Arkansas Valley. PT’s dedication, partnerships, and donations to local events and causes truly represents – and creates – the “spirits” of Salida!

Paul Zaenger
Interpretive Specialist, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Montrose
Referred to by many locals as, “The face of the Black Canyon,” Paul Zaenger has been an interpretive specialist at Black Canyon since 1993 and currently serves as the supervisory park ranger. He holds Bachelor of Science in Biology and is a contributing writer to numerous media organizations and the author of “Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Curecanti National Recreation Area.” Producer/Director of the recently premiered PBS Series, “Heart of the World,” Chris Wheeler described Paul as, “…a treasure to the NPS and this community because of his passion and knowledge of the Black Canyon. I don’t think there is a person alive who knows more about the story of this magnificent place…he was an inspiration for me to go out and try to tell this story.” Other park assignments he has had include: Death Valley National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

2015 Exceptional Frontline Worker Nominees

Each year, the Colorado tourism industry nominates tourism employees to be recognized as Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. These nominees are people who do an outstanding job of welcoming visitors to our state and providing them with the best experiences possible. This year, we received more nominees than ever before from a variety of industries who create unforgettable experiences for our visitors. The Colorado Tourism Office and tourism industry would like to thank and recognize these 2015 Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers for their dedication and hard work in attracting visitors to Colorado.

Amy DeLuca
Events Coordinator and Artistic Director, Historic Paradise Theatre, Paonia
Amy DeLuca is the Artistic Director and General Manager of the Paradise Theatre in Paonia. For more than a year she has worked with the Friends of the Paradise Theatre nonprofit to lead the renovations, creative programming and general operations of the historic theater. Amy has built relationships with other local nonprofits and sought out first-rate entertainment to fill the seats. Many nights she can be found greeting patrons and working the busy concession area. Her wonderful smile and authentic enthusiasm for theatre, arts and entertainment welcomes locals and visitors and makes them want to return for the exciting and diverse programming.

Arlene Heinz
Lead Ambassador at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Center, Downtown Boulder Inc., Boulder
Arlene Heinz was an elementary school teacher in Boulder for years before she took on a role as an Ambassador for the Downtown Boulder Visitor Center. Now, in her role at the visitor center, she is doing a new kind of teaching; she imparts Boulder knowledge on locals and tourists alike. An operation of Downtown Boulder Inc., the Downtown Boulder Visitor Center serves to inform passersby of all they can see and do in Boulder. Arlene’s passion is infections, her knowledge staggering, and her warmth all-encompassing. This frontline employee is the perfect ambassador for Boulder, and Colorado tourism.

Carley Snider
Owner, Animas Chocolate Company, Durango
With a background steeped in tourism and hospitality, Carley Snider greets guests with decadent hand crafted chocolates. Carley founded the Animas Chocolate Company in Durango to bring the beauty, nature and history of the San Juan Mountains and the Animas River into simple but elegant delights. Carley has been generous with her time and talents to support tourism media outreach and captivate journalists with luxurious custom chocolates and chocolate tastings and pairings for the Durango Tourism Office and the Colorado Tourism Office.

Cathy Shull
Owner and Photographer, Discover Northeast Colorado, Sage Strategies, Mobile event guide for Northeast Colorado
Cathy is a big supporter of rural Colorado and in particular Northeast Colorado. She believes that the area has a lot to offer and is constantly promoting the region through her business and through social media. She believes that Northeast Colorado has a lot to offer in terms of scenery, history, people and activities. She has worked hard the last four years to bring the magic of the area to others outside the region and to re-inspire those who call Northeast Colorado home. Cathy never misses an opportunity to promote a festival, fundraiser, sports event or historical site as she collaborates with others throughout the state.

Chris Read
Program Director, Adaptive Sports Center, Crested Butte
Chris is the program director at the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte. Chris is a Colorado native and long-time Crested Butte resident with a passion for sharing outdoor adventures with people with disabilities. Chris grew up skiing and adventuring around Crested Butte and got his foot in the door at the Center as an Instructor and Equipment Manager in 1998. The Adaptive Sports Center strives to enhance the lives of those with disabilities through memorable outdoor activities, and Chris helps make these experiences happen. The center began its mission in 1987 with a ski program. In that inaugural year, they offered 37 lessons. This year saw nearly 3,000 ski lessons.

Dan Crean
Owner/Head Mechanic, Double Shot Cyclery, Gunnison
Dan Crean owns Double Shot Cyclery, a bicycle and coffee shop in downtown Gunnison. The business recently moved to its new location, a historic building built in the 1880's with a long history as a bike shop. The shop features a full service bike and service shop and a modern coffee bar with locally roasted coffee and fresh baked goods. Dan and his staff strive to create a community-oriented shop that hosts and supports local events and is welcoming to all. Dan and the Double Shot staff love living in the Gunnison Valley and enjoy sharing their passion for the community, cycling and coffee with their customers.

Dave & Dan James
James Ranch, Durango
James Ranch is a family farm and ranch that shares a philosophy of land stewardship, enterprise and community on a destination agritourism location in Southwestern Colorado. David and Kay James and their family maintain 400 acres of high altitude irrigated pastures home to 100 percent grass fed beef, Jersey milk cows, a spruce tree nursery, Harvest Grill and Greens, a farmers market, cheese making, pork, eggs, and an organic vegetable and flower garden. With passion for ethical ranching and sustainable farming, the community-minded ranch offers farm tours to learn about sustainability, agriculture, and ranching. Their son Dan James is the cheese maker, creating three styles of farmstead, hand crafted, raw cows milk cheese from 100 percent grass fed Jersey cows raised on the ranch. Dan’s cheese has been featured at numerous Colorado tasting events and as part of media gifts.

Delbert "Doc" Jones
Founder, Doc’s Chuckwagon Cook-off, Lamar
Dedicated for over 30 years to his heritage ranch days, Doc Jones is a pillar of the community in Southeastern Colorado. He is known for his craftsmanship creating custom leatherwork and silver smithing; and notorious for his chuckwagon cooking skills and creating events that bring together neighbors, community members and tourists. He has perfected Dutch oven cooking with meals like chicken fried steak, cowboy beans, country potatoes, biscuits and peach cobbler. Off the chuckwagon trail, Doc entertains visitors with a collection of bits, spurs, wagons, and vintage horse drawn farm equipment. Doc is a tourism pioneer with a deep love for the plains and their heritage making him an ambassador extraordinaire.

Fred & Norma Dorenkamp
Owners, Arena Dust Tours, Holly
What do the rodeo and conservation have in common? Fred Dorenkamp is a former pro-rodeo rider who also raised animals for the rodeo circuit, and together with his wife, Norma, they welcome guests in search of a rural getaway and birding with a stay in their home in Southeast Colorado. Aside from bird watching, wildlife viewing and chuckwagon dinners, guests are offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to see rare Lesser Prairie Chickens through a conservancy partnership with their neighbors. Fred and Norma provide western hospitality with home cooked meals sharing the art of award-winning Dutch oven cooking, cozy lodging and personal tours. Their longtime history and experiences in Colorado add to the uniqueness and authenticity of each individual stay.

Kathryn Perris
Banquet Captain, Two Rivers Convention Center, Grand Junction
Many local, regional, state and national events and conventions are held at Two Rivers Convention Center, and Kate is front and center of their event ready to make sure it is the most important event happening. She takes "Western Slope Hospitality" to a whole new level in how she greets the attendees, offers assistance and continues to present a controlled, calm presence for the organizer that instills confidence that everything is going to be taken care of. Kate goes above and beyond volunteering at events and projects outside her normal "call to duty" including dressing as a piece of bacon for a display at an event benefitting the local United Way. Kate works in many different aspects of tourism in her warm welcomes to visitors, her problem solving for out-of-town guests and her insight and knowledge of the area that she shares. Kate reaches beyond the front line to offer visitors that experience that makes them want to come back.

Kirk Komick
Owner, The Leland House and Rochester Hotel, Durango
A gregarious innkeeper with a flair for creating a unique personal experience for each guest, Kirk has been welcoming visitors to his family-owned historic hotel for over 20 years. Off the beaten path, the western-themed hotel attracts guests who search out unique lodging. Kirk empowers a passionate staff that offers exceptional customer service and ideas of things to do and ways to make each visit an incredible memory. Kirk generously supports local and state tourism efforts by hosting media and representing the tourism industry at events.

Marisa Selvy
Founder & VP of Marketing, Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, Vail Valley
Marisa is engaged in the community in numerous ways, including as a board member of the Vail Valley Partnership. More importantly, she is an advocate for destination tourism and the Vail Valley brand. Crazy Mountain Brewing Company hosts an annual destination music event, Edfest every summer, which has progressively grown into a signature event in the valley. Crazy Mountain Brewing Company also gives back to the nonprofit community in the Vail Valley with each beer having a portion of proceeds donated to a nonprofit organization. Marisa supports tourism and recognizes the impact of tourism on all business segments within her community.

Mary Tinkom & Bet Allen Tally
Farm Owners, Frederica Mesa Farm, Fall Festival, Avondale
Mary and Bet started with a centennial-slated farm in Avondale and made it into an agritourism experience that brings together veterans, creates jobs and brought a three-generation farm back to life. Filled with contagious “Pueblo Pride,” Mary and Bet left their corporate jobs to run the family farm and created a harvest festival to offset the costs of running the 75-acre farm. Their Fall Festival includes a 10-acre Colorado-inspired corn maze, pumpkin patches, a pumpkin trebuchet and more--all in celebration of the harvest season. These women have created a unique family-friendly atmosphere that entertains, informs people about farming and connects people to their roots.

Michael Murphy
Owner, Magic Bus Tours, Fort Collins
Two years ago, Michael took a leap of faith and began the Magic Bus Tours to fill a void of regularly scheduled tours in Fort Collins. The Magic Bus itself is a work of innovation, painted with representations of Fort Collins history and local icons. The tours align with the culture of the city: a brewery tour, local history tour and walking tours. Michael has researched the city in a great deal of depth, including the history and stories of Old Town and Colorado State University. His passion for the community and sharing stories with visitors makes him a standout tourism ambassador (and frontline employee) in Fort Collins.

Michelle Kempema
Executive Director, Colorado Model Railroad Museum, Greeley
Michelle oversees the number one model railroad museum in the United States and the volunteers who make it the number one model railroad museum. When guests leave the museum, in addition to the visual and sensory experience they leave with a great “how she made them feel” experience while learning about model trains and everything else Greeley has to offer. In addition to the CMRRM, Michelle serves on the Board for Tour Colorado, Visit Greeley and acts in the capacity of step-on guide for group tour guide operators. Her easy-going style, humor and great smile make every visitor feel they are her new best friend.

Sara Martinelli
Herbalist and Tour Guide, Three Leaf Farm, Boulder
Sara’s fascination with plants began in her childhood garden where she learned about the magic of the common violet. This humble little blossom inspired a lifetime of learning about plants and their medicinal, energetic and magical properties. Three Leaf Farm was named a Botanical Sanctuary by the United Plant Savers due to efforts to cultivate at-risk and endangered species of medicinal plants as well as offering education opportunities through workshops, internships and events. Sara has taught numerous workshops on both medicinal and spiritual uses of herbs, and has written articles for a variety of publications.

Solomon Liston
Senior whitewater rafting guide and owner of Best of Glenwood, Marketing & Business Development, Glenwood Springs
Solomon is a native of Glenwood Springs, who lives and breathes tourism. He has been a whitewater guide with Whitewater Rafting for over 15 years. As a guide and often trip leader, Solomon is a constant promoter of the great things to do, see and eat in Glenwood Springs. He uses his upbeat and quirky sense of humor to help guests enjoy their trip to the fullest. Besides his summer rafting gig, he runs his own tourism consulting business focused on helping hospitality businesses succeed in a technological world. He is an innovator too. This year, he developed a scavenger hunt as part of a community map geared toward visitors. Solomon is always positive and a natural tourism advocate.

Tom Temme
Paleontology Interpreter, Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center, Snowmass Village
Tom Temme is the Paleontology Interpreter at the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center in Snowmass Village. He does an amazing job interacting with visitors every day with a great deal of enthusiasm and passion about the science of the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery where in 2010 and 2011, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science conducted its largest-ever fossil excavation, uncovering more than 5,000 bones of ten large ice age mammals and over 26,000 small bones from 50 small vertebrate animals. 24,700 guests visited the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center in 2014. Tom is one of the best front-line employees in Snowmass Village.

Walter Becker
Events Specialist and Tour Guide, Avery Brewing Company, Boulder
Walt has been delighting beer nerds and beer novices, with his witty, jovial, informative tours. He teaches his tour groups about the ingredients of beer and how important Colorado's water is to making good beer. He’s also known as Avery's resident "Costume Manager" because he often dresses up like the characters from Avery's beer labels. His favorite beer is The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest, in part because he loves to drink steins of it, in part because he speaks German, and in part because it's such a great costume!

Wayne Johnson
Owner, Media Logic Radio Stations, Fort Morgan
Wayne Johnson is a Colorado native from the Eastern Plains. Look in his high school yearbook and discover that he aspired to be a radio DJ long before he became one. Wayne began his ownership career in 1996, when he moved his wife and girls to Fort Morgan. He now owns seven radio stations that he operates with both of his daughters. His big ideas have served him well in his business, and in the community. Some thought he was crazy when eight years ago he had the idea of throwing a music festival in Fort Morgan, his only stipulation was that it be free to the community. Now in its eighth year, “Bobstock” will welcome 15 bands, two of which are nationally recognized acts to the stage...all for free. His efforts and his ideas are helping to drive tourism throughout Northeast Colorado.