Chamber recognizes businesses and individuals for community service

An office furniture, installation and design company and wholesale dairy products distributor were among the winners of annual awards presented by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

ProSpace Interiors was named Small Business of the Year, while Meadow Gold Dairy was named Business of the Year.

Mike Berry, a financial advisor who launched a program to help feed school students, was named Citizen of the Year. Tim Foster, president of Mesa State College, received the Making a Difference Award.

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

ProSpace Interiors was founded more than 40 years ago. Today, the firm serves Western Colorado and Eastern Utah with  locations in Grand Junction and Delta and employs a total of 16 people.

ProSpace Interiors sells commercial office furnishings, but also offers custom installations as well as space planning and workspace configuration services.

Even as the company has substantially expanded its operation over the years, founder Tom Huerkamp has expanded the philanthropic support offered by the firm. In recent years, ProSpace Interiors and Huerkamp have donated a total of more than $1 million to more than 40 different organizations in Western Colorado.

In addition, Huerkamp and other executives with the company serve on a variety of boards and commissions. They also host youth hunting trips on their properties in cooperation with the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Meadow Gold Dairy employs 160 people and constitutes not only a major employer in the Grand Valley, but also a long-time supporter of community causes.

Meadow Gold Dairy has sponsored the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department youth basketball program for more than 30 years.

Meadow Gold Dairy also offers the services of its truck fleet and employees to transport kitchen cabinets from a prison workshop in Canon City to homes under construction in the Grand Valley by Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County, help move food to Food Bank of the Rockies branches in emergency situations, and store turkeys for the Thanksgiving and Christmas food packages assembled by Salvation Army.

Meadow Gold Dairy also donates products and money to the Food Bank of the Rockies and Salvation Army.

Berry was recognized for his role in Kids Aid, a program he founded two years ago to help feed hungry students.

With the help of various church organizations, more than 1,600 area children receive  backpacks filled with easy to prepare meals and snacks to help feed them and their families over the weekends. Berry hopes to expand the program beyond Mesa County School District 51 to neighboring school districts.

Under Foster’s tenure at Mesa State College over the past six years, student enrollment has increased 40 percent to top 8,000. Mesa State also completed a

$188 million construction and infrastructure improvement plan over the past five years that’s transformed the Grand Junction campus. Moreover, Mesa State has expanded the number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs it offers.

According to an analysis for the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years, the combined direct and indirect economic effects of Mesa State College in Western Colorado topped $317 million.