Chamber honors businesses and individuals for community service

A call center and caterer are among the latest winners of annual awards presented by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce in recognition of their community service.

StarTek was honored as the business of the year, while The Cowboy and The Rose was named small business of the year.

The chamber also honored Tim Carlson as its citizen of the year and presented its lifetime achievement award to Lena Elliott.

The chamber announced the Young Professionals Network of Mesa County selected Brian Watson as its young professional of the year.

StarTek employs more than 700 people at its Grand Junction call center, making the facility one of the largest operated by the company and among the biggest private employers in Mesa County.

A publicly traded company headquartered in Colorado, Startek provides sales and technical support for clients in the education, health care, retail and telecommunications sectors. Startek operates facilities in seven states and four other countries.

The Grand Junction center provides services to clients in the education, financial services and telecommunications industries. The center recently expanded and diversified its operations in providing services to  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

StarTek supports more than 30 local community organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Homeward Bound, HopeWest, Kid’s Aid, United Way and Veterans Art Center.

Zane and MaryLou Lawson have operated The Cowboy and The Rose in Grand Junction for 22 years, providing a range of catering and event planning services for everything from backyard barbecues to black tie galas.

The Lawsons support a range of nonprofit organizations, among them 4-H, the American Cancer Society, Girl Scouts, Grand Valley Catholic Outreach, HopeWest and Strive. The Cowboy and The Rose also serves samples of its fare at the annual Home Loan Taste of the Grand Valley fund-raiser for United Way.

An environmental engineer with more than 40 yesrs of experience, Carlson founded the Tamarisk Coalition to restore river habitats affected by tamarisk and other invasive plants. Carlson also is involved in Many Rivers Brewing, a craft beer brewing company that donates profits to efforts to preserve and enhance river habitats.

Elliott was honored for more than 60 years of volunteer service that’s included efforts to promote tennis and her roles as chairwoman of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Mesa University Board of Trustees. She’s also served on the Holy Family School board and Grand Junction parks and recreation advisory board and been involved in a variety of fund-raising efforts.

Watson joined with Josh Hudnall to found Launch West CO to bring together software developers, designers and other entrepreneurs in a group that now includes more than 500 members from across Western Colorado. Launch West CO in turn joined in a collaboration to open the Factory, a coworking space in downtown Grand Junction.