Colorado Springs Mayor John Southers and his wife Janet are not known as businessmen. But they still play an important role in supporting the region’s business community.
On Saturday, Sutherses was honored with the 2022 Business Citizenship of the Year Award by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and EDC at the organization’s annual gala, held at the Broadmoor Hotel.
According to Chamber & EDC, the award is the business group’s highest honor and recognizes business people who have contributed to the region’s economic growth and prosperity. It also recognizes individuals who have attempted to improve their communities through civic engagement and have demonstrated a willingness to assist with business and community projects.
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“Mayors John and Janet Southers have made a huge impact in Colorado Springs, laying the groundwork for our community to thrive,” Chamber & EDC President and CEO Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer said in a news release said at the meeting. “Under the leadership of Mayor Suthers, our community has achieved tremendous economic development success, adding nearly 50,000 jobs, investment in infrastructure and a focus on public safety to ensure our future is safe and strong. “
According to the Chamber and EDC, John Southers “initiated historic infrastructural improvements to the city’s roads and stormwater systems, significantly improved the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government, and oversaw the Colorado Springs Airport and The Revival of Downtown Colorado Springs”.
The Chamber and EDC also praised him for overseeing the finalization of the “City of Champions” project launched in 2013, which the business group says has generated millions of dollars in local economic impact and tourism.
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Sutherses also helped launch and support a movement to shape the city — the headquarters of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee — as the “Olympic City of America,” according to the Chamber and EDC. Janet Southers raised nearly $1 million for the effort and helped thousands of children play free football through the Colorado Springs Athletic Office, the group said.
John Southers was elected mayor in 2015 and re-elected in 2019; his term is limited and will leave next year. He has also served as Colorado Attorney General, U.S. Attorney for Colorado and the Fourth Judicial District. Janet Suthers has worked for HP throughout her career and has served on several local boards and committees.
At Saturday’s evening, Chamber & EDC also presented Industry Excellence Awards to three businesses:
• Company of the Year: Bluestaq. Last year, the defense technology contractor won a $280 million contract to develop a database of space objects. This year, the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade awarded Bluestaq a $5.6 million Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit, which plans to add 585 high-skilled jobs.
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• New Growth Business of the Year: Beauty Bar. The hair, skin, nail and body care facility now has two locations, giving clients a space to network and cross-promote their business while using salon services. Beauty bar owner Uyen Le recently appeared on personal finance company Nerdwallet’s national podcast and offered advice on growing a brick-and-mortar business.
• Community Investment of the Year: Solid Rock Community Development Corp. Solid Rock, an affiliate of Solid Rock Christian Center, is investing in housing, small businesses and infrastructure, and working to address barriers to food access. This year, Solid Rock broke ground on a four-story, 77-unit condo project on the southeast side that will house tenants earning 30 to 60 percent of the area’s median income.