Chamber awards recognize community service

In addition to operating a museum housing a large collection of rare, vintage and unusual automobiles, Allen Unique Autos offers limousine services with some unusual vehicles of its own — including a stretch Mini Cooper with a hot tub in the back. Allen Unique Autos was among the latest winners of awards presented by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)

An automotive museum, accounting firm, attorney and public relations officer are the latest winners of annual awards presented by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

Allen Unique Autos was honored as Small Business of the Year. Dalby, Wendland & Co. was named Business of the Year. Betty Bechtel, a lawyer who’s worked with a variety of business and community organizations, was selected Citizen of the Year. Joe Burtard, public relations officer for the Ute Water Conservancy District, was chosen Young Professional of the Year.

The chamber presented the awards at its annual banquet at Two Rivers Convention Center to recognize the roles of businesses and individuals in community service.

Allen Unique Autos runs a combination museum and events center in a 27,000 square foot warehouse renovated for the operation. The museum houses the collection of rare, vintage and unique automobiles assembled by Tammy Allen.

Allen Unique Autos also operates a limousine service featuring not only traditional vehicles, but also unusual cars.

Since opening two years ago, the staff has grown to 13 full-time and 19 part-time employees.

Allen Unique Autos has supported a range of local organizations, among them the Girl Scouts, Mesa County United Way and Salvation Army. The owners also have advocated for  breast and testicular cancer awareness and offered the use of their airplane to veterans organizations.

Dalby, Wendland & Co., one of the oldest and largest public accounting firms in Western Colorado, traces its origins 65 years. The firm has operated offices in downtown Grand Junction since 1948.

Dalby, Wendland & Co. also operates offices in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Montrose, Rifle, Telluride and Vail and employs 95 people.  The firm offers a wide range of accounting, auditing, consulting and tax services to small and large businesses in more than 15 industry sectors.

Over the years, Dalby, Wendland & Co., has been involved in efforts to develop the downtown shopping park and earn Grand Junction designation as an All-American City. The firm contributes a total of more than $100,000 annually in community support, donations and scholarships.

Bechtel practiced employment law for 30 years before recently retiring from full-time work with the Grand Junction firm she founded with Michael Santo.

Bechtel has served as chairwoman of the boards overseeing the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand Junction Economic Partnership and Business Incubator Center. She’s also served on the boards overseeing the Arts Center, Cinema at the Avalon, Hilltop Community Resources and Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado. She currently serves on the Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees.

In addition to his other duties as public relations officer for the Ute Water Conservancy District in Grand Junction, Burtard coordinates the Western Colorado Children’s Water Festival. He’s also a certified auctioneer and volunteer.

A self-taught entrepreneur, Burtard launched a business called JR’s Carriage Service at age 14. The business offers horse-drawn carriage rides for weddings, winery tours and special events.