Pioneer Awards Honor Excellence in a 5-County Region

Last Week Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA) hosted the 2016 Pioneer Awards, an annual dinner event celebrating those in the Lyon, Storey, Carson, Douglas, and Churchill region who have made outstanding contributions to the economy and a sustainable future.

The NNDA presented 13 awards to groups and individuals from the Sierra Region, including:

pioneer awards program and cake

The Kit Carson Award- Entrepreneur of the Year: Basin and Range Organics – For obtaining the credentials to begin certifying organic producers and handlers after the State program ended. Basin and Range Organics provides a Nevada based organics certification that reduces costs incurred from out-of-state certifiers and inspectors.

Marcia Litsinger, advisory board member with Basin and Range, commented, “We at Basin and Range Organics thank the whole crew at Healthy Community Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties, Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, USDA Rural Development, Great Basin Community Food Co- Op, Washoe County Commissioners, and Reno City Council, for all the help and encouragment on this project.

When the Nevada Department of Agriculture announced its organic certification program would phase out by March of 2015, Nevada farmers decided to form “Basin and Range Organics.” It soon materialized as a nonprofit, temporarily housed under Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties.

Nevada farmers, such as Marcia Litsinger of Stagecoach and Rob Holley of Dayton, both on the advisory board for Basin and Range, have “consistently helped with our school gardens, composts and hoop houses and helped the kids learn where their food comes from. We’re very thankful to them, and this is our small way that we could help out,” said Healthy Communities director Christy McGill, who wrote a successful federal grant application for Basin and Range.

The Silver Spur Award- Employee of the Year: Kathy McIntosh, Silver Stage Food Pantry – For engaging and training volunteers and managing the considerable logistical tasks and responsibilities associated with managing Healthy Communities Coalition’s food pantry in Silver Springs.

With Kathy’s guidance, the Pantry serves many roles in addition to supplying food to those in need, including serving as a work site for vocational rehabilitation. The Pantry also provides a work place for senior citizens through an AARP program and for young adult interns through a Community Chest Inc program. The Pantry is also a place where locals of all ages can find meaningful volunteer work and demonstrate work ethics of punctuality, reliability, customer service, etc. Kathy also trains any volunteer who would like to learn the basics of book keeping and computer data entry.

Healthy Communities director Christy McGill explained, “Kathy has engaged community volunteers from all walks of life, ranging in age from 4 to 88. She assists the volunteers in finding the tasks at the Pantry that give them the most joy, from greeting visitors, to watering the adjacent community garden, to packing weekend food backpacks for local students, to being part of a team that unloads between 2,000 and 29,000 pounds of food per week (highs are during USDA commodities deliveries). The volunteers and the pantry visitors all report a warm sense of extended family at the Pantry. Kathy sets the standard of compassion and treats each visitor with dignity.” 

Kathy noted, “This was such an honor, but this award is shared with all of the wonderful volunteers that have helped make my job easier; they are so loved by me. It is also shared with Healthy Communities Coalition, who stand beside me. There are so many people who help. My husband is one who is always there for me along with my daughter Tammy Watts, who always has an ear to listen. My sincere thank you to everyone who made this possible…”

The Silver State Award- Most Outstanding Student: Caleb Holley – For developing and leading a garden club at Sutro Elementary school where students learn about organic gardening and hoop house agriculture. Caleb provides many hours of volunteer work to support Healthy Communities’ healthy food hub programs in Dayton. Christy McGill, director of Healthy Communities, explained that “Caleb has a tremendous knowledge of agriculture for someone so young and students love learning from him.”

The Pony Express Award- Best Community Involvement: Dr. Cary Jaques, DDS – for volunteering with Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties’ regional Health and Wellness Hub initiative and volunteering to help bring basic dental care to the elderly, veterans, and young children and families across Northern Nevada.

Wendy Madson, dental services coordinator with Healthy Communities Coalition explains, “Dr. Jaques volunteered for Healthy Communities’ first free Medical Outreach Response Event (MORE) for Lyon, Churchill, and Mineral regions in 2012 and for each one after that. Not only was he the first to say yes, he was our “go to” guy for everything and was always there with an answer and follow up. This year Dr. Jaques and his team provided hundreds of dental services through Dental Days at Silver Springs schools, and they volunteered with the Remote Area Medical pop-up clinics that reached hundreds of people from Lyon, Douglas, Mineral, etc.”

The Silver Apple Award- Educator of the Year: Western Nevada College, Jump Start College – The Jump Start program provides the life changing opportunity for teens to earn an associate of arts college degree AND a high school diploma at the same time. This allows the region’s brightest and most motivated students to succeed, whether or not they have family resources. The program gives college access to high achieving, yet underserved students, and helps communities create a “culture of college attendance.” Jump Start is serving 16 high schools, charter schools, and the Nevada Home School Network. The program serves Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, and Storey counties, as well as i-School, Nevada Virtual Academy, Oasis Academy, Silver State Charter School, and Pyramid Lake High School.

The Battle Born Award: Full Circle Soils and Compost – For their dedication to Recycling, Sustainable Agriculture and green education. Full Circle Helps the community recycle approximately 25,000 cubic yards of organic material.

The Boundary Peak Award: Capital City CIRCLES Initiative – For their commitment to breaking the poverty cycle by giving people the tools they need to raise themselves, and their families, out of poverty and to become economically self-sufficient.

The Comstock Award – Innovator of the Year: Server Technology – In 2015 Server Technologies was awarded 8 patents for technologies dealing with data center configuration and power management, data center monitoring technologies, advanced manufacturing and modular design, and equipment cooling technologies for data center efficiencies.

The Doc Holliday Award: Nevada Rural Hospital Partners- For their work to facilitate the passage of Assembly Bill 292 which allows licensed health care workers to provide services via telehealth to patients in Nevada through the use of technology.

The Homestead Award- Best Agriculture Initiative: Bently Heritage- For growing all of the grains and botanicals for the new Bently Heritage Distillery project.
The Mark Twain Award- Best Marketing Campaign: Greater Nevada Credit Union – For developing their “Next Steps” campaign, a marketing and advertising campaign with a focus on increasing awareness in Northern Nevada markets.

The Wagon Wheel Award- Best New Technology, Product or Patent: Server Technology Inc.- For obtaining 8 patents for technologies dealing with data center configuration and power management, data center monitoring technologies, advanced manufacturing and modular design, and equipment cooling technologies for data center efficiencies.

The Golden Hammer Award (in partnership with the Nevada Builders Alliance) – Construction Team with the Greatest Impact : Miles Construction for the Carson City MAC Facility

Special Honoree Bill Miles, President of Miles Construction was named Pioneer of the Year due to his ongoing work to make the Sierra Region the best it can be.

Recognition for New and Expanded Businesses: NNDA also recognized the 12 new or expanded companies that they worked with in 2015, including AZZ Galvanizing, Bently Heritage Estate Distillery, BI Nutraceuticals, BistroMD, GreeNu Commodities, Helicopter Parts International, Just Refiners, New Millennium, Peterson Products, SunOpta, VIP Rubber, and Western American Foods.

nnda winners

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