Truckee Chamber Awards Event Brings Community Together

Truckee Chamber Awards Event Brings Community Together

September 28, 2021

The Truckee Chamber of Commerce presented awards to seven winners at its 68th Annual Awards Event, “Come Together,” held September 24th at the Truckee Tahoe Airport at Hangar N-01.

“The event exceeded our expectations,” said Chamber Board Chair Aimee Schaller. “When we started planning we were unsure where we would be with COVID. We know how much people miss seeing each other and how important it is to come together as a community. We were hoping this might be one of the first events to bring people back together to celebrate Truckee and that’s exactly what it was.”

The event was held outdoors to ensure the safest environment possible. “This is the one time each year that the business community gets together to recognize and honor innovation, entrepreneurs, creativity, resilience, stewardship, rising stars and the special Chairman’s Award given to an individual, business or organization that stands out,” explained Lynn Saunders, President and CEO of the Truckee Chamber. “These awards strengthen and build a sense of community, and allow the Chamber to give back and reward excellence.”

Many examples of community were on display throughout the night. Some special moments included:

  • Ten members of the Parrish family, owners of Grocery Outlet, coming up to accept their Rising Star Award. 
  • Mountain Hardware and Sports, celebrating 44 years of managing a successful business, while advancing the economic and social conditions of the community.
  • Harry Weis, President & CEO and Board Chair Alyce Wong of the Tahoe Forest Health System accepting the Resilience Award on behalf of the entire health practitioner and support team that have worked tirelessly for over 19 months in the fight against COVID.
  • John Svahn of Truckee Donner Land Trust accepting the Innovation Award and announcing their new efforts to protect Canyon Springs.
  • Greg Zirbel, long-time Truckee resident, historian and master creative artist accepting the Creative Award.
  • Patty Baird of the Cedar House Sport Hotel accepting the Chairman’s Award for her vision, innovation, collaboration and belief that the hospitality industry as well as other partners together can be a force for good.

Nominees are submitted by Chamber members. The Chamber Board of Directors reviews all the nominations and through thoughtful and deliberate discussions, selects three finalists and a winner in each category.

The 2021 winners in each category, as well as their award presentation, are listed below:

Entrepreneur Award: Landing Locals

Savvy entrepreneurs look to fill a void, need or gap in the market that current businesses aren’t serving. They use their acumen to develop their business model while building strategic alliances, collaborate, and surround themselves with talented people. When this company started — and sadly even more so today — it was very apparent that there was a huge need in this community. The housing crisis is an extreme situation that is affecting our community character, people who live here, and businesses who are challenged with finding people to fill job openings. Their venture takes an innovative approach and has created an online platform to connect homeowners and renters with the goal of finding ALL people stable housing. They’ve continued to innovate since their start in 2018 and are partnering with many organizations in the region to work collaboratively toward solutions

Business Stewardship: Mountain Hardware and Sports

This award recognizes an individual, business or organization that conducts business in a way that creates “shared value.” Their values and operating practices enhance the long-term success of their business, while also advancing the economic and social conditions in their communities. This business is authentic — they’re strong supporters of the community — often without people even knowing it. They support MANY nonprofits and causes because it’s the right thing to do. Their legacy of great customer service, a wide variety of quality products and supporting the communities in which they live and work in is longstanding — in fact they just celebrated 44 years. Their unique business model has not only created a successful business but also provides a bright future for its 115 employee-owners.

Resilience Award: Tahoe Forest Health System

Resilience is adapting well in the face of adversity… again and again. Tonight’s winner has played a huge, critical role in our community during this pandemic. They’ve responded quickly, sometimes taking on roles outside their usual purview. None have been taxed as much as our health care system– and this community is proud and profoundly grateful for everything they’ve done.

  • They set up the first COVID testing center
  • They took quick action with the creation of a COVID unit, anticipating a potential surge
  • They purchased refrigeration equipment for the County’s supply of vaccines
  • They built and operated the first, and initially only, vaccine clinic in eastern Nevada and Placer Counties
  • They set up a clinic and vaccinated over 650 TTUSD employees in ONE DAY
  • They’ve had rapid communication to the community
  • They’ve provided strong leadership to ensure the health practitioner team is supported and the institution is able to provide all aspects of health care to our community. 

Rising Star: Grocery Outlet

It can be hard to start a new business in a new community. It takes time to build connections, relationships, and establish yourself as someone who is dedicated to the good of the community as well as growing their business. This business started under challenging circumstances — with some strong resistance to the business and its location. They knew their value though and knew what they could bring to this community and were committed to being here and proving they could fill a void, offer reasonably priced merchandise and be a good community member. This family-owned business has embedded itself in the community — immediately donating to nonprofits and sports teams. They’re the first to say “what can we do to help” such as for the recent Caldore fire evacuee shelter. They brought several employees from their previous hometown to work here — all of which are 100% committed to the business and their community.

Creative Award: Greg Zirbel

Truckee is home to a creative culture that is unique to our mountain town, inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds us. When the Truckee Cultural District was formed, it recognized that our culture was defined not only by creatives such as artists, writers, and musicians but also by the significant role history plays in our culture. As the world, and Truckee, constantly change, it’s important to remember our historic roots, the thousands of stories about our rich history, and what separates our area from other places. A small group of volunteers have put in countless hours to preserve this rich history. However, this individual persevered during the shutdown and almost single-handedly did the renovation and installation of displays for the Museum of Truckee History. He’s a master creative artist, photographer, and maker of unique, historic birdhouses…… and he does all this with graciousness, cooperation and volunteerism.

Innovation Award: Truckee Donner Land Trust

How do you define innovation?

  • an idea transformed into reality.
  • having a view of the future and what consumers want and need.
  • using capabilities strengthened by strategic alliances.

Simply put…. doing something that makes you say “wow” and makes Truckee a cool place to live, work and play. So… how about acquiring property that was closed to the public for nearly a century? That’s Frog Lake backcountry huts. Or acquiring land “on the wild side” of Truckee that will create more river access from our downtown. That’s Truckee Springs. Or purchasing meadows and valleys that’ve been called “The Secret Garden” — hidden from sight for more than a century. That’s Lower Carpenter Valley. All of these required a vision of what “could be;” the ability to turn an idea into a reality; partnerships and collaborations  — and many have been called … “nothing short of a total game-changer for Truckee.” For more than 30 years, this organization’s been getting stronger and accomplishing more to create “win-win” situations — and the community and region are better for it.

Chairman’s Award: Patty Baird, Cedar House Sport Hotel

This award doesn’t have specific criteria but recognizes an individual, business or organization that stands out. It exemplifies entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, commitment to our economy and what is best for Truckee’s long-term success. This individual spends countless hours researching the latest trends — worldwide — in order to bring “the best of the best” ideas to her business. She has been “sounding the trumpet” for a long time — visitors need experiences…. they need reasons to come to Truckee other than weather… they want to come to places that are authentic, caring of their environment, and each other. In her own little corner of Truckee, she’s had tremendous success doing just this and being a catalyst for positive change. From the natural allure of its surroundings, this business combines innovative architecture with the symbiotic relationship between mind, body and soul. Offering cohesive guest experiences that inspire. She is now actively expanding her vision, philosophy, and “finger on the pulse of tourism trends” to work collaboratively in the region because she believes the hospitality industry, as well as, other partners together can be a force for good.

The Truckee Chamber of Commerce is grateful for all the sponsors and everyone who helped make the event special. Live music was provided by The Band Apothic. The Old Fashioned, a vintage trailer mobile bar, served drinks. Personal boxed charcuterie apps were provided by The Board. Crux Events assisted with logistics and decor. Rob Retting was the photographer for the event.

Gold Sponsors: 

Aegis/Interwest Insurance Services; Corcoran Global Living, Elder Group Tahoe Real Estate; Dickson Realty Truckee Tahoe; Martis Camp Club; Mountain Hardware & Sports; Northstar California; Porter Simon; Pamela Hurt Associates; Palisades Tahoe; Tahoe Forest Health System; Town of Truckee; Truckee Donner Public Utility District; Truckee Tahoe Airport District; Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company.

Silver Sponsors:

Martis Camp Realty; Plumas Bank; Supporting Strategies; Sierra Sun; Tahoe Donner Association; Tahoe Mountain Realty.

Bronze Sponsors:

Cedar House Sport Hotel; Chris Fajkos Tahoe Luxury Real Estate; Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe; Grocery Outlet; Lahontan Golf Club; Landing Locals; Moody’s Bistro, Bar + Beats; Pacific Crest Wealth Planning; Placer Title Company; Quality Automotive Servicing; Safeway; Tahoe Getaways; W&T Graphix.

In-Kind Sponsors:

Crux Events; Kelly Wallis, Graphic Designer; Port of Subs; Revelshine Wine; Rob Retting Photography; Sierra Nevada Brewing Company; Ski California; South Fork Vodka; The Good Wolf Brewing Company; Verdi Local Distillery.

Venue Sponsor:

Truckee Tahoe Airport District