Award winners named for ‘Best of Cedar City’ 2016

Stock photo | St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Names of 11 of the 12 winners of the 2016 Cedar City Chamber of Commerce “Best of Cedar City” awards were released Friday. The 12th award winner, Cedar City Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Award, will be announced at the 66th annual awards gala, Jan. 20.

The selection process began two months ago when the public was asked to nominate a person or business whom they believed impacted the community in extraordinary ways, Chartwells Marketing Director Natasha Green said.

The 11 categories the public was asked to consider included: Hospitality Business of the Year, Organization of the Year, Educator of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Employer of the Year, Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Innovative Business of the Year, Business of the Year, Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Once nominations were in, Cedar City Area Chamber of Commerce Office Manager Deniece Allred said, a survey was put together and sent to all of the chamber members for them to vote on.

“So the community at large nominates,” she said. “Then I create a survey and I send it to only Chamber members and we have about 380 of them.”

The awards are given to community members and businesses that encourage and promote “a positive and vital economy” and help preserve the unique qualities “that make the Cedar City area a very special place to live, work, and visit,” according to a news release issued Friday.

“A lot of the time, people do things to better our community without getting this recognition,” Gala Banquet Chairman Jory Corsi said in the release. “These awards give us a chance to identify those in the community who make Cedar City what it is today.”

The 11 winners of the 2016 “Best of Cedar City” awards are:

  • Hospitality Business of the Year | Cedar City Brian Head Tourism Bureau
    • For consistently providing guidance and momentum to the critical tourism portion of the community that helps to drive the Cedar City economy.
  • Organization of the Year | Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA)  
    • A motorcycle organization that exists to protect youth against abuse and empower them in the positive forward progression of their lives and future endeavors through physical and emotional support.
  • Educator of the Year | Mary Pearson
    • The Southern Utah University Assistant Professor of Accounting won because of her ability to make difficult accounting concepts understandable to her students and her willingness to work with them with full devotion to their learning.
  • Citizen of the Year | Ed Lamb
    • The Southern Utah University Thunderbirds’ Head Coach led the team to their first ever Big Sky Championship title in 2015.
  • Employer of the Year | GAF Commercial Roofing Systems
    • With an hourly workforce earning average of $21.86, GAF has proven their commitment to the community by maintaining higher wages and offering an exceptional benefit package to employees who qualify.
  • Man of the Year | Martin Tyner
    • Founder of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, Cedar City’s “Bird Man” has continued to give back to the community by educating young minds about birds of prey and their habitats. Tyner is a federally licensed falconer, wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife propagator, and wildlife and environmental educator who has traveled the U.S. educating the masses in schools, scouts and community groups for more than 40 years.
  • Woman of the Year | Terri Hartley
    • The newly elected Cedar City Councilwoman won the title of Woman of the year for being a pillar of strength in the community through her works with the Cedar City area Chamber of Commerce and youth groups.
  • Young Citizen of the Year | Kaleigh Bronson
    • A Cedar High School student in her senior year, Bronson has maintained a 3.6 grade point average while juggling numerous extra curricular activities. In addition to taking college courses while still in high school, Bronson also acts as Cedar City Youth Council mayor, French club secretary and is a Youth Leaders for Life ambassador; she is a state champion debate captain and a volunteer with the Iron County Youth Volunteer Corps.
  • Innovative Business of the Year | Rugged Materials
    • By raising more than $84,000 in startup funds through kickstarter, the owner of Rugged Materials has been able to provide quality, handmade leather products that are made in America to customers from all over the country.
  • Business of the Year | Cherry Creek Radio
    • Cherry Creek has become a “voice of Southern Utah” by connecting with the community through fierce support of school sports and discussing important local issues on their regular talk shows.
  • Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement | Dixie Leavitt
    • Leavitt has spent a lifetime devoted to Cedar City and helping the community to grow toward a vision of higher education and excellence. A graduate of Branch Agricultural College, before it became Southern Utah University,  Leavitt spent 18 years devoted to the Utah legislature where he worked to help obtain a 4-year degree status for the institution. The founder of Leavitt Group Enterprises began his insurance enterprise after spending a summer selling insurance and has grown his company to become the 12th-largest insurance group in the nation.

The Jan. 20, 2016 gala will include prime rib dinner and performances by the SUU Ballroom Dance team with music provided by the SUU Jazz Band. Everything will be decked out in a 1920s theme complete with feathers and beaded necklaces.


Date: Jan. 20, 2015
Location: Southern Utah University Sharwan Smith Student Center Ballroom
Tickets: $45 per person, available at, or by calling (435) 586 – 4484.
Seating: 10 guests per table

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Twitter: @STGnews


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