Each year, the Colorado tourism industry nominates tourism employees to be recognized as Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. These nominees are people who do an outstanding job of welcoming visitors to our state and providing them with the best experiences possible. The Colorado Tourism Office and tourism industry would like to thank and recognize these 2016 Outstanding Frontline Tourism Workers for their dedication and hard work in attracting visitors to Colorado.
Gary and Ming Adams
Owners of Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch, McElmo Canyon/Cortez
History abounds in every nook and corner of the ranch. Gary and Ming lovingly continue to offer a farm/ranch aspect to the property. This attention to detail displays the passion Gary and Ming have for the land and its history, and the surrounding archaeology. The homestead was a working ranch for decades, owned by legendary cowboy, Elden Zwicker. The road that leads to the Ranch has been called “Mormon Road” when early Mormons used it to migrate to Utah. The road is also nicknamed “Robber’s Path”, as Butch Cassidy is rumored to have hid his fortune in the Canyon. There are also over 5000 documented archeological sites to explore in the area.
Mary C. Bollinger
Visitor Information Specialist, Forest Service Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests & Pawnee National Grassland, Fort Collins
Mary Bollinger has worked for the Forest Service for almost 20 years as a volunteer and permanent employee, and she has made significant tourism contributions during her long-standing career. She was a key contributor to curriculum developed for VFC’s Certified Tourism Ambassador program, which debuted in 2014. She annually trains and works with more than 125 travel advisors for the Colorado Welcome Center and the Fort Collins Downtown Visitor Center. Mary directs the USDA Forest Service’s Visitor Information Center inclusive of interactive features and a variety of information. We applaud her extraordinary passion and dedication for the forest service, tourism, hospitality and the State of Colorado.
Owner of Colorado Jeep Tours and Raft Masters, Cañon City
Will Colon is the owner of Colorado Jeep Tours and Raft Masters. Will spear-headed the effort to raise funds for Cañon City’s whitewater park, starting the Whitewater Kayak and Recreation Park committee. WKRP has been hosting the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival since 2010. Will collaborates with the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Captain Zipline, the Bar Double R Ranch, the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey and more, to promote tourism in the Royal Gorge Region. Will is a fourth generation Colorado native who is passionate about and believes in Colorado. He has served as the Cañon City Chamber of Commerce chair on the tourism committee. Will promotes Colorado 365 days a year.
Chief Ranger, Colorado National Monument, Fruita
This is Mark’s third Chief Ranger position; he previously served in that capacity at Scotts Bluff National Monument (Nebraska) and Capulin Volcano National Monument (New Mexico). In each position, Mark has gone beyond the requirements of his position, reaching out to the tourism community in many ways. Since 2012 at Colorado National Monument, Mark has been especially active with the bicycling community: helping organize and facilitate non-competitive “tour” events - events that are open to all cyclists regardless of age and capabilities, thus drawing visitors to the valley who want to experience the scenery. Mark engages with tourism partners in other ways, notably: seeking ways to welcome visitors to the Monument and its campground; and promoting a wide range of permits for special uses such as rock climbing and family events.
Guest Services Coordinator, Montrose
Jennifer Loshaw has worked at the City's Office of Business and Tourism (OBT) since 2013. She brings more than ten years of travel marketing, publication development, and volunteer management experience to the OBT. As an integral member of the team, her position has evolved as the OBT has grown. Currently she is serving as the guest services coordinator. Holding a master of fine arts in photography, Jennifer takes great pride in connecting photographers to businesses that have a mutual interest and need for one another's services. Her photo editing skills and extensive knowledge of regional tourism and recreational opportunities have helped create an inspirational and educational visitor center and beautiful, informative, and memorable Montrose Official Visitor Guides.
Breakfast Attendant at the Fairfield Marriott, Alamosa
Joe has lived in Alamosa for about 17 years after moving from Pueblo. He loves the friendly small-town atmosphere of Alamosa as well as all of the outdoor recreation such as fishing, hunting, and camping. The Alamosa CVB staff has received numerous compliments about Joe who goes out of his way to provide excellent service to the guests at the Fairfield. He has worked at the Fairfield since it opened in 2014 and especially loves meeting new people and visiting with the travelers. Joe’s good-nature and infectious smile make all the guests at the Fairfield feel welcomed.
Volunteer Coordinator, Pueblo Visitor’s Center and Scenic Byways Office and the El Pueblo History Museum and Gift Shop, Pueblo
Although Ralph is legally blind, he and his service dog, Roberto walk to work every day. Ralph is incredible at coordinating volunteer efforts and is highly respected and loved by the community and visitors. Ralph also serves on numerous boards and committees and is always willing to help wherever needed.
Banquet Captain, Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs
Anthony is the face of tourism in Colorado Springs. His quick smile, attention to detail and friendly personality make all feel welcome and at home. Anthony moved to Colorado Springs in 2003 and joined the Broadmoor’s F&B team, where over the course of 6 years he worked his way up from a cook in the employee cafeteria to Banquet Captain of the Broadmoor’s west building. In 2009 he took his talents to Cheyenne Mountain Resort, where he currently works today. In 2011 he and his son volunteered as models for the CVB annual photo shoot. The result was a set of enduring, captivating images that are still in use to invite people to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region.
Group Sales and Catering for The Strater Hotel, Durango
Emily Spencer joined the Strater Hotel’s Sales and Catering team in 2005 bringing with her over 20 years of hotel sales and catering experience. An "unsung hero” Emily works behind the scenes to bring tours, weddings and other groups to southwestern Colorado and the entire region benefits from her hard work. When a group visits Durango other businesses, besides the Strater Hotel, enjoy the effects of an influx of visitors to the area. Emily is a hard worker who makes groups visit to Colorado memorable and she deserves plenty of thanks! Emily plays mandolin and violin, and sings in her church’s praise team band and with a women’s barbershop quartet. Emily is an active member of the Durango High Noon Rotary Club and also is a two striped blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Proprietor/Owner Wood’s High Mountain Distillery, Salida
Wood’s High Mountain Distillery creates handcrafted spirits in historic Salida. Brothers, PT and Lee Wood, opened their distillery to bottle their passion for the outdoors into spirits that shine with the essence of the mountains of Colorado. PT and his staff of ten now handle production soaring to over 200 distributors in Colorado, Italy and across Europe. With the overhead door rolled back to invite everyone on the sidewalk in, they have created a favorite gathering place in the Arkansas Valley. PT’s dedication, partnerships, and donations to local events and causes truly represents – and creates – the “spirits” of Salida!
Interpretive Specialist, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Montrose
Referred to by many locals as, “The face of the Black Canyon,” Paul Zaenger has been an interpretive specialist at Black Canyon since 1993 and currently serves as the supervisory park ranger. He holds Bachelor of Science in Biology and is a contributing writer to numerous media organizations and the author of “Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Curecanti National Recreation Area.” Producer/Director of the recently premiered PBS Series, “Heart of the World,” Chris Wheeler described Paul as, “…a treasure to the NPS and this community because of his passion and knowledge of the Black Canyon. I don’t think there is a person alive who knows more about the story of this magnificent place…he was an inspiration for me to go out and try to tell this story.” Other park assignments he has had include Death Valley National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial.