El Paso County Board of County Commissioners Chair Amy Lathen
themed this year's State of the Region address around the now 30-year-old Michael J. Fox
film, Back to the Future
Past leaders, she said, beginning with the Colorado Springs' founders, were always looking toward the future, whether by building the Broadmoor Hotel or the World Arena. Lathen said we must also look toward the future, now that the economy is showing signs of recovery, City for Champions is beginning to take shape, and the county has addressed many of the most urgent flood-control projects following the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest Fires.
Lathen called for a federal courthouse to be located in El Paso County, given the area's large case load. She also called on citizens to be kind to one another in the wake of two recent mass shootings. Lathen addressed other future-oriented projects by naming a number of award recipients who are contributing to major change in the area. Among them:
• Jackie Gonzalez
was named "Ambassador of the Year." Gonzalez works for U.S. Bank and is an Ambassador for the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.
• Jay Cimino
was named "Person of Influence." Cimino is the President and CEO of the Phil Long family of car dealerships and Founder & Chairman of the Board of Mt. Carmel Health, Wellness and Community Center
• Rebecca Jacobs
, the county's employment and family support director, was named County Employee of the Year. Jacobs was recognized for her collaborative efforts in the community, including getting help for flood and fire victims and supporting the Feed the Children
• Larry Yonker
was given the "Making a Difference" award. Yonker is the President and CEO of the Springs Rescue Mission
, which begins construction next year on a major expansion that will allow it to serve more homeless and addicted individuals.
• Gary Henry
was given the "Economic Project of the Year" award. Henry is the executive director of Colorado PTAC, which helps Colorado companies procure government contracts.