Annual Success Awards to become spring fling | VailDaily.com

Annual Success Awards to become spring fling

Group970 Restaurants was honored in early 2014 as the Vail Valley Partnership's Business of the Year. The Partnership's Success Awards celebration for 2015 has been moved from the winter to the spring and from evening to mid-day. This year's event is Friday at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion.
Special to the Daily |

if you go

What: Vail Valley Partnership 12th Annual Success Awards.

Where: Eagle-Vail Pavilion.

When: Friday, noon.

Categories: There are 10 this year, including: Business of the Year; Nonprofit of the Year; Tourism Professional of the Year.

Tickets: Call Maren Cerimele 970-477-4001, or email maren@visitvailvalley.com.

EAGLE COUNTY — The Eagle River Watershed Council is nearly 30 years old. But an honor the group received last year has helped expand its reach.

Last year, the council was given the Small Nonprofit of the Year award at the Vail Valley Partnership’s annual Success Awards. Council Executive Director Holly Loff said the group put that award logo on virtually everything it sent out. The results, while not scientific, seem to support Loff’s claim that more people now know about the watershed council’s work.

One of the council’s programs — which helps river guides better inform their clients about life on the river and the dangers that aquatic life faces — has grown 240 percent from 2014, Loff said.

“I think the award helped those who weren’t as aware of our work,” Loff said.

Megan Gilman, co-owner of Active Energies, a Minturn-based solar and alternative energy company, echoed Loff’s belief in the benefits of an award from the Partnership — a regional business-advocacy group.

“It’s a great way, especially for small businesses, to get the word out about … achievements,” Gilman said. “It’s helped us to have more visibility, and not just in our community.”

“Winning an award, especially for a small business, can help build credibility among potential clients as well as other companies in the area,” Gilman said.

MIXING IT UP

This year’s success awards continue the Partnership’s practice of honoring local businesses and nonprofits, but there have been a number of changes to the format.

The awards started as an evening gala at one of the valley’s premier hotels. It was an event that included dinner, dancing and, of course, a silent auction. For the past couple of years, the awards were presented at the Vilar Performing Arts Center. And, for the first 11 years, the awards were held in late January or early February.

This year’s event is Friday at Eagle-Vail Pavilion and will be the first time the event is held midday.

Vail Valley Partnership President Chris Romer said the change was due to the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. But, he added, it’s likely that from now on the event will be in the spring.

“We’ve been hearing for a number of years that late January or early February isn’t a great time,” Romer said. “There’s also a lot of demand for venues at that time.”

Romer said this year’s event should be far less formal than previous events. (“I don’t think you’ll see nearly as many guys in suits,” he said.) But ticket sales so far indicate attendance should be about the same as in past years.

Having a luncheon instead of a dinner also allowed the Partnership to reduce ticket prices, Romer said. And changing the date of the Success Awards allows the Partnership to move its popular Blue Jeans and Lobster event from May to November.

What hasn’t changed, Romer said, is the Partnership’s dedication to celebrating businesses and nonprofit groups. The awards to be announced Friday can be a validation of success for larger businesses and a great boost for smaller organizations, he said. For nonprofits, Romer echoed Loff’s belief that recognition can help with fundraising and community awareness.

Previous winners also participate on the next year’s nomination and selection committees. Loff said that experience gave her new insight into the valley’s business community. The committees are diverse groups, as are the nominees and winners, Loff said.

“With the Tourism Professional award, I had no idea there are people who travel all over the world just to tell people about Vail,” Loff said.

Another revelation for Loff is the breadth and quality of the nominees.

“There wasn’t a single application where we (on the committee) said, ‘uh, no,’” Loff said. “It’s shocking what a small valley we have and how much talent there is here, on both an organization and individual level. I really feel honored to have participated.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com or @scottnmiller.