Daniel Bierschwale accepts his award as the Nonprofit Person of the Year. PHOTO COURTESY BIG SKY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Awards ceremony brings community back together

Big Sky Chamber of Commerce hosts awards dinner back in person

What a year it has been. Over one hundred businessmen and women gathered to reflect on the year 2020 and looked forward to the future with great enthusiasm. The 24th annual Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Black Diamond Business Awards dinner took place on Tuesday, June 22. One hundred twenty people were permitted to attend the event in person at the Talus Room in Summit Hotel at Big Sky Resort. Tickets to the event were sold out before the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce was able to advertise the event. “The feeling for the event was electric, even before when we were gearing up to be in person,” Programming and Community Manager Caitlin Quisenberry said.

The dinner's purpose was threefold, to overview the Chamber of Commerce’s business functions for the year, announce the five award winners and motivate the audience going forward with a keynote speaker. The five awards announced were the Emerging Entrepreneur award, the Nonprofit Person of the Year, Business Person of the Year, the Chet Huntley Lifetime Achievement Award and the Business of the Year.

After the five awards were announced, there was a special keynote speaker to end the evening. Chantel Schieffer, the President and CEO of Leadership Montana gave her speech titled “Life After COVID: The Lessons We Can Take With Us”. The speech was clearly impactful to the audience according to Quisenberry, “It was silent in there. You could tell people were really listening to her speech.” Scheiffer spoke on how all of our lives have changed because of Covid-19 and what we can learn from it, so that we can recognize some positive takeaways from the experience. “We’ve all been through so much over the past year, and it is so exciting to be able to link arms and take this community to the next level,” Sheiffer said.

Sheiffer spoke for about 45 minutes to the captivated audience before the night came to a close.

Here are the 2021 Black Diamond Business Award winners:

Emerging Entrepreneur – 2021 Winner Bill Frye, Encore Electric for his boots on the ground approach to increasing his business by increasing his presence in the community for offering his electrical services to some of Big Sky’s largest projects including the new Swift Current 6 Chairlift Storage Building.

Nonprofit Person of the Year – 2021 Winner Daniel Bierschwale, Big Sky Relief and Big Sky Resort Tax for working tirelessly to lead our community’s COVID response by coordinating the operational partners and leaders, initiating and running the free community wide surveillance testing, and other communications to Big Sky regarding the pandemic.

Business Person of the Year – 2021 Winner Kevin Germain, Lone Mountain Land Company and Chair of the Resort Tax Board for putting the long hours in to put Big Sky first by sharing information and keeping this town moving forward. His continual calm and displays of integrity were instrumental in some of the biggest projects launched for our community this year.

Chet Huntley Lifetime Achievement Award – 2021 Winners Dave and Kathy House, The Corral Bar and the Big Sky Community Library Kathy and Dave House have been a part of the fabric of Big Sky for several decades now offering a place for our kids to learn in the library and for the adults to unwind and gather at the Corral. Big Sky has greatly benefitted from all of their contributions and will continue to do so for years to come.

Business of the Year – 2021 Winner The Outlaw Partners for keeping us connected and informed this last year with their weekly Town Hall series, their Friday Afternoon Clubs and community reporting on all issues.

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