SILVERTHORNE — Angelique Lochridge of the Summit Chamber of Commerce can’t think of a single time the chamber asked for volunteers and Lori Gleason didn’t step forward.
“She’s always available,” Lochridge said.
Which made it all the more ironic that Gleason happened to plan a midsummer getaway to the north rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park when it was announced by the chamber late last week that she had won the revered Ben Fogle Award. Named after the chamber’s founder, the award annually recognizes someone who the Chamber deems has been the most ardent supporter of the chamber’s mission over the previous year.
Since moving to Summit County from Avon in 2014, Gleason has been involved in the local community. Along with her chamber contributions and time running her businesses — Green Leaf Design and Window Trends — Gleason is also a substitute teacher for Summit School District.
About 30 times each school year, she enters classrooms to teach local schoolchildren, mostly in elementary schools. Gleason said she enjoys logging into the district’s substitute teacher portal to see where she’s needed to help kids receive some extra love and attention from a fresh face.
“It kind of just makes me happy,” Gleason said.
It’s that love for teaching and connection to education that helps Gleason, a Summit Chamber board member, in her role leading the Chamber’s Exit 205 initiative. Through the group, Gleason has led the fundraising effort in recent years to help finance the cost of school lunch for students who qualify for the district program. The program previously was limited to elementary schools, and Gleason helped it grow to include students at the middle and high schools.
“We’ve doubled the amount donated each year,” Gleason said. “We don’t want students and families to be punished if they can’t cant pay for it, and we also want to educate families on how to get out of lunch debt.”
- Ben Fogle Award: Lori Gleason
- Best Place to Work: SummitCove Lodging
- Best New Business: The Frosted Flamingo
- Large Business of Year: Summit Express
- Medium Business of Year: Krystal Media
- Small Business of Year: Blue River Vision
- Team of the Year: town of Frisco
- Customer Service Champion: Lenka’s Loving Care
- Environmental Champion: Innovative Family Dental
- Workplace Wellness Champion: Mountain Comfort Furnishings & Design
- Marketing Champion: Building Hope Summit County
Gleason is also lauded in the county business community for being the leader of the Chamber’s Leads Group, business representatives from various companies across the county who meet once a month to share business leads with one another.
After relocating from Eagle County, Gleason said she’s learned to appreciate how Summit County feels like a community with more of a year-round feel.
“And I think it’s just a lot more friendly, outreaching,” Gleason said. “I feel like immediately I felt like I was part of the community. … As well as business, personal relationships are also important in this community, and that’s different than other places I’ve lived.”
Gleason is also a major contributor to the chamber’s events. Looking ahead to fall, Gleason is helping plan the chamber’s annual Ski Area Chief Operating Officers Breakfast, an unofficial kickoff to the winter ski and snowboard season for the business community.
In a COVID-19 world, whatever the next few months have in store, Gleason has proven she’s ready to be one of the community members leading the chamber in whatever ways she can.
“She’s a game-changer,” Lochridge said. “She has substantially grown that Exit 205 effort and recruited a lot of people to that group.”