Woodland Park Chamber Announces Annual Award Winners

Annual Dinner Gala Set For March 17

The Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce announced last week the winners of the following awards for service the 2022 year: Volunteer, Non-Profit, and Business of the Year, along with naming the annual Wagon Boss title.


In addition, two Wagon Boss Scholarships totaling $10,000 will be awarded at the Chamber’s annual dinner in March. Nominations were opened in late December and closed on February 6. “Over the years we found sending the nominations to a group of judges residing out of state has proven the evaluations and subsequent awards are without prejudice,” said Chamber President Debbie Miller. “The nominations are based on the criteria sought and the judges mark their evaluations accordingly.”


Top Awards Named

The 2022 Volunteer was described as hitting the ground running getting to know the citizens of Woodland Park upon purchasing an existing business back in 1988. While initially the contacts were business-related, they soon grew into long time friendships. These friendships revealed to her the amount of volunteer opportunities open to her in Woodland Park and Teller County. Over the past 15 years she has been an active Board Member with the “Symphony Above the Clouds” July 5 event. This event has been around over 40 years. The 2022 Volunteer of the Year is Julie Matthews.


Julie has worked every aspect of the July 5th event from fundraising to set up and more. “In my capacity as President of the Guild, I have worked with Julie both in retail and the publicity arenas. She has met challenges with amazing enthusiasm, imagination and dedication.” noted Ellen Carrick, President of the Symphony Guild. “Last year the retail t-shirt sales due to her warmth and passion for the Symphony exceeded all expectations.” For the past 17 years and still currently active with the Chamber, Julie Matthews has served as an Ambassador assisting with Grand Openings, Ribbon Cuttings and Business After Hours.


“We know without question she will be there to organize and assist with our events.” said Steve Woolf, Chairman of the Chamber Board. Julie is an active member of the Mountain View United Methodist Church fulfilling needs like meal delivers and more. Julie is known to be dependable, loyal and on time. “Given a task or initiative there is complete confidence Julie will follow through for the organization she is volunteering for.” said Chamber President Debbie Miller.


Founded by Greg Schilling over 40 years ago, Non-Profit winner of the year is HtN – Hope Lives Here.


The foundation for beginning this Non-Profit was to assist those who were having a difficult time temporarily. The mission of offering a hand-up not a hand-out still holds true today. The last few years have proven to be challenging for so many which in turn has increased demand from HtN. The clients are interviewed and vetted by an amazing team headed up by HtN’s Director Vince Scarlata.


This team is trained to communicate effectively so those walking through their doors are able to receive services which are complemented from other resources as well. HtN maintains a policy of nondiscrimination providing assistance without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or bias of any kind. HtN desires to ensure clients can address their immediate needs then go on to be self-sustaining.


“Helping a hand up for many is the one step they need in a time of crisis. HtN has proven over and over they can be that resource. We are so delighted they are our Non-Profit of the Year,” declared Mark Maruszak Chair-elect of the Chamber.


The Business of the Year title goes to the Woodland Professional Building (WPB), a for-profit business that rents office space to 33 businesses, professionals and non-profits. During the recent challenges faced as a result of the pandemic, inflation and more, WPB has been able to maintain fully occupied spaces. The owners of WPB – Lee and Karin Taylor, constantly strive to reconfigure office space to meet the renters need including offering state of the art high bandwidth free Wi-Fi. When reconfiguration is needed they higher local contractors for the work. Keeping business local, management and maintenance are keys to keeping tenants in place long term.


“Lee, Karin and the rest of the team at Woodland Professional Building have been essential partners in starting and growing my business. WPB’s central location and standards of cleaning and sanitation allowed me to serve my clients during the COVID crisis,” said Jeri Yingling, Executive Director of Crystal Creek Counseling.


Annually the parking lot is resealed and striped, painting and ensuring the outside deck is stained and available for use by tenants, too. Over the years of ownership, Lee and Karin provide parking at their building for special events, serve as a check in venue for the Holiday Home Tour and help youth groups hold car washes to raise funds. “We are thrilled to have a long-term essential business like Woodland Professional Building be honored as our 2022 Business of the Year, said Chamber President Debbie Miller.


Chamber Wagon Boss Award

A Chamber Wagon Boss is a person of great ethical standards, integrity and a distinguished leader who has been actively involved in their community. This activity may be known by the community or it may be an act of service behind the scenes and not readily recognized in the Community. This year’s winner has made a positive and lasting impact on the region for many years. “The Chamber seeks to honor someone who gives so selflessly to our community,” declared Debbie Miller. “And the Wagon Boss of the year is Derrick “Dick” Carpenter, the quintessence of who the Chamber seeks to honor with this prestigious award.”


Mr. Carpenter moved to Teller County with his parents in 1968. His parents were caretakers of the John Wesley Methodist Ranch on Hwy. 67. Woodland Park is where he met his wife Connie and with the exception of the time spent at Colorado State University, the Carpenters have never left Woodland Park. Derrick was instrumental in lending his expertise in general contracting to an organization who has come to be an integral part of the region as well serving families throughout all of Teller County.


“Mr. Carpenter does not make decisions lightly, but is intentional and becomes a part of something he believes in and invests his whole heart to work on,” declared Jodie Mijares, President & CEO of Community Partnership. “Mr. Carpenter listened to understand the vision of the organization, the needs of staff, the client needs, what programs were offered and quickly adapted a plan that would fit their needs and got started.” Offering his services and his own financial support was key to renovating a commercial building during COVID. Because of his leadership, knowledge, compassion and more the building remodel came in under budget and finished on time. Coming in under budget allowed the organization to add additional improvements which were originally not affordable under their scope of work. The nomination noted over and over that Mr. Carpenter possessed a rare combination of understanding and developing team member motivation whether it was for a project or working with an organization.


“While building his own business, Mr. Carpenter found time to serve as an Elder for Woodland Park Community Church,” said Locke Pierce. “Dick led the critical process to craft new bylaws that were needed to help the church flourish.” Sam Gould who sits on the Community Partnership Board said, “His leadership expertise and deep connections in the community led to a successful conclusion for the Community Partnership project with substantial financial savings to the organization.” Wagon Boss of 2014 Tony Perry said, “There are many types of leaders. With Derrick, if we imagine a Wagon Boss leading us down the trail, he is the quiet, strong, and intense leader that everyone gets behind and respects as he is as true as the North Star.”


Over the past several years Dick has been the ministry director for the Woodland Park Community Church planting ministry and has been involved in planting/starting three new churches. Kirk Greenstreet, Pastor at Woodland Park Community Church said, “Through his leadership Community Church has started a church in St. Paul, MN (2017); Colorado Springs (2019); and in two months a new church will be started in Cripple Creek, Cripple Creek Community Church (2023).” “The 2022 Wagon Boss Derrick Carpenter is the epitome of who we want our young people in this community to grow up to be. A kind, caring, compassionate person who cares about their community and gives back in a myriad variety of different ways through getting involved,” declared Chamber Chairman of the Board Steve Woolf.


The awards will be officially presented at the Woodland Park Chamber’s  annual gala, scheduled for Friday, March 17, 2023 at Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs. Dinner tickets are available by contacting the Chamber office at 719-687-9885 or going to the website at www.woodlandparkchamber.com.