Carson City Chamber of Commerce honors Best of the Best, Leadership graduates |

Carson City Chamber of Commerce honors Best of the Best, Leadership graduates

Nevada Appeal staff report
Chamber members gather in the Carson Mall for the 2017 Carson City Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala and Awards Celebration on Tuesday.
Jim Grant | Nevada Appeal

Carson City Mall turned into a botanical habitat Tuesday night for the Chamber of Commerce’s annual gala, in observance of the Carson City Chamber Leadership Institute graduates and Best of Best award recipients.

The Chamber’s Annual Leadership Institute is a nine-month program for local professionals to prepare for future leadership roles, such as learning how Carson City operates from local and state government, to education and community services. Overall, 23 participants graduated form the program.

Year after year, the Chamber highlights local community members who made a difference in Carson City with their contributions and commitment, and award them with Best of the Best.

Among the community members deemed Best of the Best were Government Employee of the Year, Curtis Horton, of the Carson City Public Works.

“It felt like we died and went to heaven. It’s beautiful here and we love the community.”Robert Ash

Horton has lived in Carson City for 47 years and began his career with public works in 1985, leading up to Public Works Operations Manager to this day. He also is a two-time winner of the city’s award.

Horton worked closely with FEMA during the winter flooding and will oversee the Kit Carson Blue Line Trail this summer.

He also develops cross training programs with local authorities and public works.

“It’s always exciting to be recognized for the work you do,” he said. “But I wouldn’t have received it without my team. Our goal is to keep enhancing our mission and efficiencies. It’s what we do and we accomplish together, and it’s my job to build great crews as a service to the community.”

Volunteers of the Year were awarded to Robert Ash, a retired professor from Southern California, who volunteers to host Chamber Professional Development Workshops; and Kellie George of United Federal Credit Union, whom role plays The Grinch every Christmas at Telegraph Square.

Ash has lived in Carson City for a year and a half with his wife.

“It felt like we died and went to heaven,” he said. “It’s beautiful here and we love the community in Carson City. I am thankful to have met Ronni and the Chamber to further promote my teaching programs.”

When it came to the Best Annual Event, the Carson City Symphony Annual Pops Party Concert received the title. For 33 years, the chorus has provided the community free afternoon concerts in the backyard of Governor’s Mansion.

The concert was founded by David and Ellie Bugli in 1984 and both oversee the Mile High Jazz Band, along with coordination of the August Annual Jazz & Music Beyond Festival.

“We just had our 33rd annual concert and it’s an honor,” Ellie said. “We had to move it indoors because of the cold weather that day, but it was a success.”

Among the inspirational award winners also were Mayor Bob Crowell for the Dream Big Award, for achieving his dream of renovating downtown.

Dick Campagni Auto Group and fifth graders of the Carson City School District both received the Community Spirit Award. The auto group was recognized for achieving Carson’s first Shine Blue Lights event in May.

The fifth grade students were praised for their choral performances at the steps of the Capital during Silver & Snowflakes Festival of Lights event downtown.

As a whole, Western Nevada College received the Economic Development Award, for partnering with local construction, manufacturing, and nursing programs to help high school and college-level students network through industries, in order to reach their goals.

Last but not least, Non-Profit of the Year was presented to the Carson City Elks Lodge No. 2177, for its events benefiting the community. Located downtown, the group hosted the U.S. Air Force Band and the U.S. Navy sailors as they spent a weekend doing community service last year.

During the event, the Chamber also announced the new Board of Directors for the 2017-18 year.

Outgoing Chamber Chairman Joyce Whitney-Silva, also vice president and CFO of Greater Nevada Credit Union, passed the torch to incoming Chair Peter Fishburn of Brown & Bigelow.

Joining Fishburn is Robert Fredlund of Coldwell Banker Select, serving as first vice chair; Lisa Lee, Advocates to End Domestic Violence, to serve as second vice chair; and Lisa-Gabel Schmid, of Harley Davidson Financial, now serving as executive committee as secretary and treasurer.

This year’s Garden Gala theme was created by Greenhouse Garden Center, with a family style picnic prepared by Chef Justin Scott of Westside Pourhouse, and beer served from Shoe Tree Brewing Company.