DENVER — Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017 — Gov. Hickenlooper today announced the recipients of the 2017 Colorado Governor’s Citizenship Medals. Inaugurated by Executive Order and supported by all living Colorado Governors, the Medal is one of the highest honors bestowed upon citizens and organizations of Colorado for their meritorious contributions to the strength and vitality of the state. Gov. Hickenlooper and Quarterly Forum (QF) will present the Medals at the Governor’s Leadership Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at the History Colorado Center.

“The Governor’s Citizenship Medal is a tribute to the idea that each of us, no matter our path, has the opportunity to make a significant impact on our state,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “These individuals and companies have helped push Colorado forward, inspiring others along the way.”

The 2017 Medal categories and recipients are:

1. Emerging Community Leader Taylor Phinney, American Cyclist, Boulder - This award recognizes a young community leader who has demonstrated professional excellence and positive impact on the community and serves as an example for future generations. Taylor Phinney is renowned for his laid back persona, tenacity on the bike and leadership among his international teammates.

The Colorado native is the son of two Olympians. His father Davis Phinney was the first American to win a road stage at the Tour de France. His mother Connie Carpenter won the first Olympic women's road race in 1984. Phinney followed in his family footsteps early in his career, making his Olympic debut at the age of 18 in Beijing. Four years later, Phinney won the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia, Italy's biggest race, and wore the coveted maglia rosa donned by the Giro's race leader. He's raced in the stars and stripes of the US national time trial champion. He's won bike races in Poland, Holland and UAE, Colorado, California and Utah.

A crash at 60 miles an hour during the U.S. National Road Championships left Phinney with a potentially career-ending fractured leg. Phinney was told by doctors he might never ride again. He rode. And he raced.

He finished his first Tour de France with Cannondale-Drapac, Colorado's WorldTour cycling team, this past July, where he spent a day atop the King of the Mountains classification, supported teammate Rigoberto Uran to second place and produced daily video diaries for NBC. Three years after Phinney missed out on his planned Tour debut, he climbed onto the podium to claim the coveted polka-dotted mountains classification jersey. Phinney's comeback showed the world what the Colorado pioneer spirit is all about.

2. Growth & Innovation, Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group, Boulder - This award is given to an entrepreneur or business leader who has led with exceptional ingenuity and growth while inspiring and creating new possibilities for others.

Brad Feld is a managing director at Foundry Group, a venture capital firm focused on investing in early-stage information technology companies. He also co-founded Techstars, Mobius Venture Capital, and Intensity Ventures. Brad is a nationally-recognized writer and speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship.   

In addition to his investing efforts, Feld has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is the chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, co-chair of Startup Colorado and the Global EIR Coalition, and on the boards of Path Forward, the Kauffman Fellows, and Defy Ventures. He put Colorado on the map in the international venture community and has inspired countless Colorado entrepreneurs to take risk, create companies and use innovation as a catalyst for job creation and economic growth in our region.

3. Public and Community Service, Christine Benero, United Way, Denver - This award is given to a government or community leader who serves the public with innovation, operational excellence and progressive vision.

Christine Benero is President and Chief Executive Officer of Mile High United Way, the first United Way in the world. For 130 years, Mile High United Way has fought for the education, health and financial stability for everyone in Metro Denver. She has spent her career serving others. Prior to Mile High United Way, she was President and CEO of the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter and was the Director of the Office of Public Liaison for the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Benero has served in two presidential administrations working for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Benero continues to serve on many Colorado boards including HealthONE, Denver Public Schools Foundation, and Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC).  She is a true Colorado public servant, focused on giving to others and inspiring our entire state to lean into social causes that span the political spectrum.

4. Corporate Citizenship, Otter Products & OtterCares, Fort Collins - This award recognizes a Colorado based company that has made a significant positive impact in the community. Otter Product’s mission is “We Grow to Give”. Founded in Fort Collins in 1998, Otter Products has grown to become a global innovator of premium protective products for smartphones and tablets. Their mission is executed through their popular OtterBox, LifeProof and OtterCares brands.  Curt Richardson created the first OtterBox waterproof case in his garage in the early ‘90s and in 1998, Otter Products was born. Since then, the company has grown and been recognized as a seven-time honoree on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the US.

The OtterCares Foundation was founded in 2010, by Curt’s wife, Nancy Richardson. As the charitable arm of the Otter Products family, the Foundation champions innovative education that inspires youth to become entrepreneurs and philanthropists who create lasting and impactful change in their communities. This year’s medal is being awarded in honor of both Curt and Nancy Richardson for creating and leading community citizenship in the state of Colorado.

5. Vanguard Legacy, William J. & Kathy Hybl, Colorado Springs - This award is given to a community leader who has made transformational contributions to the community throughout his or her career. Hybl has spent more than 40 years dedicated to promoting and enhancing the well-being of Coloradans through El Pomar Foundation. A nationally recognized leader in public service and the Olympic Movement as President Emeritus of the United States Olympic Committee, Hybl is steadfast in his commitment to Colorado and its citizens. The Hybls are philanthropic and community leaders for not only southern Colorado, but the entire Centennial State.

William J. Hybl is chairman and chief executive officer of El Pomar Foundation. Hybl also has been engaged in a variety of public service activities. He is a civilian aide to the secretary of the Army (Senior). In 2008, Hybl was confirmed by the United States Senate as chairman of the U.S. Commission on Public Diplomacy, a position he was appointed to by President George W. Bush. He was reappointed by President Barack Obama on June 1, 2011 and currently serves as vice chairman.

6. Colorado Mountain Leader, Emily Griffith – At the discretion of the sitting Governor, the Colorado Mountain Leader is awarded in honor of a deceased community leader or an enduring organization that has provided an innovative impact on the state of the Colorado while providing a role model for the nation. Emily Griffith founded the Opportunity School in 1916 as a school to provide vocational education to all people of all ages at no cost – with an emphasis on providing careers to graduates in addition to an education.

The Opportunity School enrolled nearly 1,400 people in its first year and has been a beacon for post-secondary education innovation for more than 100 years. Griffith was ahead of her time as many states, including Colorado, are investing in new educational pathways that strengthen workforce potential and opportunities for all aspiring citizens. Today, the school is known as the Emily Griffith Technical College and it continues to use the motto coined by Emily Griffith herself: For All Who Wish to Learn. We welcome all people, regardless of age, race or education level, who want to expand their horizons and chart their own course for success.

“These leaders represent the secret to Colorado’s success; they have created and built upon the foundation of Colorado’s pioneer spirit. Each of them is a relentless collaborator, innovator, and an inspiration to the next generation of leaders in our state.” says Ashley Buderus, CEO of QF. “QF is dedicated to developing community leaders in the state of Colorado. To promote and showcase these great leaders and their accomplishments, a natural partnership formed with the State, Governor Hickenlooper, and former Governors to establish the Governor’s Leadership Celebration.”

The inaugural Colorado Governor’s Leadership Celebration will be held on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at the History Colorado Center. Gov. Hickenlooper will co-host the celebration with Gov. Bill Owens. More than 400 of Colorado’s top community leaders are expected for this almost sold out, formal event. 9NEWS is the media partner for this celebration.

About Quarterly Forum

Quarterly Forum (QF) is a Colorado-based community leadership organization that connects, educates and inspires the state’s current and next generation of leaders. The organization has an 18-year history of providing a place for executives to dream more, learn more, do more and become more while fostering stronger ties among the business, government and nonprofit sectors in Colorado.