The Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 115th Annual Celebration Wednesday evening at the Hilton Fort Collins. More than 650 Chamber members and others from the area came together to celebrate the success of the Fort Collins Chamber and the business community.

This year’s theme incorporated how the Chamber is a Catalyst for business growth, a Convener of leaders and influencers, and a Champion for stronger communities.

Throughout the evening, several business leaders were recognized with Chamber honors, including:

2019 Collins Award Winner: Lucia Liley, Liley Law Office The Collins Award, established in 1977, recognizes individuals with a long-standing contribution to the community. As a principal with Liley Law, Lucia is a highly regarded land use, real estate and business attorney in Northern Colorado. After graduating from Colorado State University with high distinction, Lucia obtained her law degree from the University of Colorado and began practicing in Fort Collins.

Among others, past recipients of the Collins Award include: David Wood, Larry Kendall, Tom Gleason, Bohemian Companies, Curt and Nancy Richardson, Mark Driscoll, Gordan Thibedeau and last year’s winner, Dr. Tony Frank.

2019 Volunteers of the Year: Deb Kelly, Independent Financial and Mat Dinsmore, Wilbur’s Total Beverage

Deb Kelly and Mat Dinsmore have been instrumental leaders for the past two years during the Chamber’s annual Moving Fort Collins Forward! Campaign. In 2019, while serving as co-chairs again, the two led 50 volunteers on 11 teams, raising $585,000 and 122 new members for the Chamber organization. Without these volunteers, the Chamber would not have the means to impact the big issues.

2019 Chair: Pete Gazlay, Total Facility Care

Immediate Past Chair of the Board, Pete Gazlay, was honored for his service leading the Chamber in 2019. During his remarks, Pete commented on how the Chamber has worked hard on a variety of things to improve the livability and vitality of Northern Colorado including: shorter commutes, safer roads; continuing to fight for reliable, affordable electricity; supporting workers to develop skills and help employers find talent; advocating for more affordable housing and childcare from a business perspective; and focusing on creating high-quality, high-paying jobs.

Retiring Chamber Board Members: Connie Dohn, Ethan Gannett, Todd Headley, Kathleen Henry and Chris Otto

2019 Local Legislative Affairs Committee (LLAC) Chair: Mike Brown, Western States Bank

The Chamber was also honored to have Colorado State University President Joyce McConnell join on stage. President McConnell gave an update on the happenings within the university, including highlighting the university’s sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary.

Also, during the evening Sandra Hagen Solin of Capitol Solutions and the Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance’s lobbyist, was recognized for her leadership on I-25 and efforts securing the funds for the additional lanes.

“Sandra has been a major strategist and connector on transportation for Larimer and Weld Counties and has been voice for transportation funding in Colorado through Fix Colorado Roads. Because of her work, a billion dollars has been committed by the Legislature over the past four years for transportation statewide that may not have been,” said May.

Nick Haws, current Chamber Board Chairman and President & CEO of Northern Engineering expressed how the Livability Agenda from 2019 remains a great focus and gave the audience an overview of the Chamber’s 2020 priorities.

The Annual Celebration would not have been possible without the generous support of the 2019 sponsors.