Christy, SmartWool win big |

Christy, SmartWool win big

Local restaurateur also honored at annual Navigator Awards

Blythe Terrell

Local restaurateur Rex Brice, pictured Friday on a balcony at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel, was named the Business Person of the Year on Friday during the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association's Navigator Awards.

— Christy Sports, Rex Brice and SmartWool took top honors at Friday’s Navigator Awards.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and the Steamboat Pilot & Today select the business and business leader of the year winners at the annual event. Christy Sports won Business of the Year; Brice won Business Leader of the Year; and SmartWool won Sustainable Business of the Year.

Pilot & Today Publisher Suzanne Schlicht presented the first two awards.

Christy Sports was honored for helping with events including the Steamboat Marathon and for its work with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Keith Liefer and Bob Dapper accepted the award.

“I was told early on in my career that in order to be successful, you have to surround yourself with great people,” Liefer said. “There’s no better example of that than this award.”

Dapper said he was honored to be part of Christy Sports and the Steamboat business community.

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“In the greatest of years and the most challenging of years, there’s no place I’d rather be than here in Steamboat Springs, Colo.,” he said.

Holiday Inn, Wells Fargo, Fox Construction and BAP also were nominated for Business of the Year. Holiday Inn and Wells Fargo were nominated for their civic and community contributions. BAP and Fox were nominated for their efforts toward environmental sustainability.

Brice took the top individual honor for work with his restaurants, Big House Burgers, Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant and Rex’s American Grill & Bar. He was honored for helping revive the local chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, for his service with the Chamber, for his efforts at work force training and retention and for his push for environmental sustainability.

Brice received a standing ovation from a couple of tables when he rose to receive his award.

“I’m actually a little bit embarrassed to win Business Leader of the Year,” he said, “primarily because I feel like no one can do this alone. I’m surrounded by a lot of great people, and this is a result of their work as well as mine.”

Kristi Brown, of Cantina, Roger Good, Laurie Good, of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and Ernest Richardson, of Steamboat Springs Orchestra, also were nominated.

Brown was nominated for working with the Education Fund Board and fighting underage alcohol abuse. Roger Good was nominated for his leadership on the Routt County Livability Index and his work with SCORE. Laurie Good was nominated for her volunteer efforts with the Arts Council, Routt County United Way and other groups. Richardson was nominated for leading the orchestra through expansion and for his work with the Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory.

Lyn Halliday, who runs Environmental Solutions Unlimited, presented the sustainability award. She works as a consultant with businesses that participate in the Chamber’s Sustainable Business Program. SmartWool won the honor. The company was the first to enroll in the business program’s highest level, platinum, she said.

“SmartWool has really raised the bar, and they have a total commitment to sustainability,” Halliday said.

At a glance

Past Navigator Award winners

– Business of the Year

1999: TIC

2000: Native Excavating

2001: Ore House at the Pine Grove

2002: SmartWool

2003: Ski Haus

2004: PostNet

2005: F.M. Light & Sons

2006: Off the Beaten Path

2007: Prudential Steamboat Realty

– Business Leader of the Year

1999: Julie Green

2000: Rod Hanna

2001: Mike Lomas

2002: Andy Wirth

2003: Scott Ford

2004: Steve Dawes

2005: John Kerst

2006: Chris Diamond

2007: David Baldinger Jr.