Wirth, SmartWool among honorees at Navigator Awards
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. executive Andy Wirth and sock-maker SmartWool received Navigator Awards Saturday night at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s 2002 Gala Evening.
Wirth was recognized as the 2002 Business Leader of the Year while SmartWool was named the 2002 Business of the Year.
Also on Saturday night, Debbie Curd was named the Businesswoman of the Year.
The Navigator Awards are presented annually by the Chamber resort Association and Steamboat Pilot & Today. The Businesswoman of the Year is presented by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Routt County.
Wirth, vice president of marketing for the Steamboat Ski Area, was recognized for helping the ski area and thus the community enjoy a healthy ski season despite trying economic times.
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Wirth was selected from a field of nominees that included Rob Dick, executive director of the Regional Affordable Living Foundation; Scott Ford, director of the Small Business Development Center at Colorado Mountain College; and Jeff Little of the Ore House at the Pine Grove.
Wirth was responsible for altering the ski area’s marketing plan to fit new travel trends in the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedy. Despite the financial troubles that plagued American Skiing Co., Ski Corp. enjoyed one of the best winters of any ski industry resort.
Wirth is largely responsible for the success of Steamboat’s successful jet program, which ensures direct flights into Yampa Valley Regional from major markets around the country. And he helped put together the community sendoff for Steamboat Springs’ Olympic athletes.
Wirth coaches youth baseball and is active in the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club and his church.
“It is truly an honor to lead the marketing team (of the ski area),” Wirth said. “I’d be proud to go into battle with any of them. This is our award for overcoming the challenges of the last year.”
In addition to a plaque, Wirth received a year’s subscription to the Pilot & Today and a Swiss Army watch courtesy of the Pilot & Today and Hofmeister Personal Jewelers.
SmartWool was selected from a pool of nominees that included Steamboat Motors and B.A.P.
SmartWool, a nationwide manufacturer and distributor of wool socks, is headquartered in Steamboat Springs. Earlier this year, the company moved its headquarters into the Steamboat Springs Airport terminal, helping the city offset costs associated with the general aviation airport.
The company was recognized for its commitment and support of community programs.
SmartWool is involved in and provides support for Horizons, the Lowell Whiteman School, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Christian Heritage School, the Steamboat Springs Running Series, the Pentathlon, the Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series and the Steamboat Marathon.
“This town has given a lot to us,” co-owner Patty Duke said. “We’ve lived here for 15 years, raised our kids here, and this (business) is a great way for us to give back.”
In addition to a plaque, SmartWool received a one-year subscription and a classified and display advertising package from the Pilot & Today.
Jeanne Whiddon, last year’s Businesswoman of the Year winner, passed the title to Curd at the end of the evening.
“I’m more excited this year giving the award than I was last year getting it,” she said. “I’m about to introduce you to an amazing woman.”
Curd, who works in a management position for AT&T, is the mother of two daughters, a wife, a businesswoman and also volunteers at numerous organizations around Steamboat.
Curd organized the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project, a fund-raising group that provides financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured women with breast cancer. She organized “Coats for the Cold” through LIFT-UP of Routt County. For the past four years, she has helped to put out the “Sober Prom” video and talks her whole family every year into ringing bells for the Salvation Army at Christmas.
“I’m the one standing up here,” Curd said, “but there’s a great team and family behind me. This should be the family of the year award.”
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The iconic cone-shaped building on the corner of Yampa and 11th streets in downtown Steamboat Springs was once a wood-waste burner before being moved to become the home for Sore Saddle Cyclery and Moots Bicycles.