Business leaders urged to rediscover childhood |

Business leaders urged to rediscover childhood

Kerst, F.M. Light & Sons honored with Navigator Awards

Adults who want to succeed in business might consider spending more time doing childish things.

That was the message given by Craig Zablocki, keynote speaker at the 98th annual meeting of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association on Friday.

“Studies show 93 percent of 5-year-olds test as creative geniuses,” Zablocki said. “We all had it once, and then we lost it.”

Zablocki spoke at Three Peaks Grill, which hosted the event. He is eight parts stand-up comedian and two parts business consultant, and he has had a diverse career as a motivational speaker, sharing platforms with past presidents and giving presentations to numerous Fortune 500 companies. He was the first outside speaker to address the students of Columbine High School after two students shot and killed a teacher and 12 of their peers.

On Friday, Zablocki frequently pulled people, such as Tom Ptach and Joe Kboudi, out of the audience to use them as foils in his brand of comedy with a message.

Zablocki urged the audience of business leaders to reflect on the desirable qualities exhibited by children. Their fearlessness, he said, gives them the courage to say, “I don’t know,” and then pursue knowledge with uncommon zeal. Four-year-olds typically indulge in therapeutic laughter 400 times a day, compared to seven times a day for the average adult, Zablocki said. They know how to engage in creative play, and they don’t stress about situations that are beyond their control.

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All of those qualities would serve adults in business well, he said.

Zablocki told attendees about a turbulent airplane ride he took with his 4-year-old son. When the plane began to buck up and down, the businesswoman across the aisle gripped the armrests tightly and her face contorted into a grim mask. At the same time, his son threw his hands in the air and whooped as if he were on a ride at an amusement park. Zablocki joined in the fun with his son.

The point, Zablocki said, is that when faced with unpleasant or challenging situations that are beyond our control, we can choose to relish them or stress about them.

Navigator Awards

Among the highlights of the annual meeting was the presentation of the annual Navigator Awards, presented by the Chamber and the Steamboat Pilot & Today to the businessperson and business of the year. Pilot & Today Publisher Suzanne Schlicht presented the award for businessperson of the year to John Kerst, president of First National Bank of Steamboat Springs. Del and Ty Lockhart of F.M. Light & Sons accepted the award for business of the year.

F.M. Light & Sons celebrated its 100th anniversary and its pioneer heritage this year with a series of community events.

“For five generations of Light and Lockhart family members, the recipe for success has been their integrity and hard work,” Schlicht said. “This year, they sponsored a Wild West Show, hosted a downtown hoedown and produced a video. They even produced an old-time newspaper. If Main Street Steamboat has an anchor tenant, it’s F.M. Light & Sons.”

Schlicht also celebrated Kerst’s record of community service. A former Chamber board president, he also has served the Community Agriculture Alliance, Strings in the Mountains, Northwest Col–orado Visiting Nurse As–sociation, Yampa Valley Healthcare Association and the 4-H Junior Livestock Sale.

“He embodies what it means to be a business and civic leader,” Schlicht said.
Chamber business
Chamber Executive Vice President Sandy Evans Hall introduced incoming board President Kathy Stokes to the membership. Stokes owns the Steamboat PostNet with her husband, Terry.
She emphasized the importance to the business community of working with other community groups.
“I would like to see us foster good community and regional relationships,” Stokes said. “I want us to continue to work with (Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent) Donna Howell and our school officials on school needs and field usage.
“I want us to continue to partner with (county manager) Tom Sullivan and the county commissioners on our regional airport and year-round air service. I want us to be at the table with our City Council to ensure we maintain a strong economy so that together we meet the needs of our community. And I want to continue to reach out to our regional neighbors in order to work together on workforce housing and economic development solutions that are mutually beneficial.”
— Pilot & Today Staff