Vail Valley Foundation honors Ann Smead |

Vail Valley Foundation honors Ann Smead

VAIL — Every community is defined by its citizens, and some individuals help shape the nature of their community through who and how they are, day in and day out.

“Ann Smead is without question one of the driving forces in this community,” said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation. “Ever since she moved to Vail full time in 1999, she has naturally taken on a leadership role in helping to promote the educational and overall wellness for all the citizens of our valley. We are pleased to honor her numerous accomplishments as the 2013 Vail Valley Citizen of the Year.”

The award will be presented Dec. 6 at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa during the Vail Valley Foundation’s annual Black Diamond Ball, held in conjunction with the Audi FIS Birds of Prey Men’s World Cup Race Week in Beaver Creek.

Smead began her career with IBM as a systems engineer and product educator. She then moved to real estate and became partner in an Oregon-based commercial real estate and development company. During that time, she also taught real estate development and financial analysis classes throughout the U.S. and Eastern Europe. She subsequently joined Kaiser Aerospace & Electronics, consulting and managing that company’s diverse real estate portfolio. Today, Smead continues her work in financial and asset management, leading several privately held companies.

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Contributions to Eagle county

Her major contributions to our community began in 2004, when Dr. Patti Hardenbergh identified a need for housing for patients from outside Eagle County who were undergoing cancer treatment at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center. Smead and several other committed Vail Valley women founded the Shaw Outreach Team.

What started out as a fundraising effort for a small condominium turned into a larger capital campaign, resulting in the construction of the 10,000-square foot, 16-suite cancer care lodge known as Jack’s Place, located adjacent to the Shaw Regional Cancer Center. She also served on the board of directors for the Vail Valley Medical Center where, according to Dr. Jack Eck, the namesake of Jack’s Place, she provided “good business sense, creative ideas, stability and, most importantly, a woman’s perspective.”

Most recently, Smead has devoted her time and energy to children’s education throughout Eagle County. In 2012, she was tasked with bringing the merger between the Vail Valley Foundation and The Youth Foundation into a cohesive union.

A Youth Foundation student Smead mentors summed up her impact by saying, “Ann saved me and helped me know that I matter. For that, I know I must contribute to making this world a better place.”

Smead currently serves on the governing boards of the Vail Valley Foundation and Vail Mountain School, while also chairing of the foundation’s education committee.

Smead’s commitment to education

Her commitment to education also extends outside the Vail Valley. She and her husband, Michael Byram, reated the Smead Fellows at the University of Colorado, honoring her late husband, Joe Smead. The Smead Fellows supports Ph.D. students in the aerospace engineering department. Additionally, she supports the quest of quality education at Gonzaga Prep High School and Stanford University.

Smead will join an outstanding list of past recipients of the Vail Valley Citizen of the Year Award, including President Gerald R. Ford (1996), Pepi Gramshammer (1997), Pete Seibert (1998), Dr. Richard Steadman (1999), Gilbert Giordano (2000), Judy Alexander (2001), Gerald Gallegos (2002), Howard and Cathy Stone (2003), Oscar Tang (2004), Diana Donovan (2005), R.A. “Chupa” Nelson (2006), Erik and Kathy Borgen (2007), Dr. Jack Eck (2008), Beth Slifer (2009) and Martha Head (2010). The foundation did not present the award in 2011 or 2012.

Tickets for the Black Diamond Ball are currently on sale and priced at $350 each. To purchase tickets, go to

The Vail Valley Citizen of the Year Award is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation. For additional information on the Foundation or the Black Diamond Ball, call 970-949-1999 or visit

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