2015 Winners

    2015 Special Award Winners:

    2015 Swede Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award

    Pete Webb | Webb Strategic Communications

    An integral part of the Denver PR landscape, Pete and his team have executed public awareness campaigns that have become ubiquitous in Colorado, including the launch of Denver International Airport and the Colorado Lottery, creating the state’s DUI enforcement program “The Heat Is On”, and more. Beyond his client work, Pete has mentored and fostered “Webb alumni” who can be found in communications roles in all aspects of the city. Before establishing his company 26 years ago, Pete was aacoloradoeamice Awardardline at  online at n award-winning investigative television reporter and former FBI agent. He is described as “a smart and savvy leader and the true definition of a counselor” and his contributions to the public relations profession are “unparalleled.”

    2015 PR Person of the Year Award

    Michelle Ellis | Orapin Marketing & Public Relations

    A public relations professional with more than 15 years of experience, Michelle brings a "Can do" attitude to her clients' goals, interactions with colleagues and pro bono endeavors. In 2014, she earned partnership with Orapin Marketing + Public Relations by driving the company on an interim basis for agency founder and bringing in seven new clients and growing new business revenue. Clients describe her as "opening [their] eyes to the possibilities of growing business through PR." Michelle recently joined the PRSA Colorado Chapter, immediately embracing a committee leadership role and becoming a dedicated, valued member of the chapter.

    2015 Joe Fuentes Rookie of the Year Award

    Amber DiGiallonardo | Linhart Public Relations

    Even before graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Colorado, Amber had an internship with JKD & Company, Inc. and a PRSA Gold Pick Award under her belt. She joined Linhart PR in mid-2014 and was quickly promoted to account associate. She has become a go-to team member serving clients including Black Hills Energy, MWH Global, Snagajob, United Healthcare and others. Her commitment extends to involvement in PRSA Colorado as PR Boost committee member and also as a weekly volunteer at Children's Hospital of Colorado in The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

    2015 PR Team of the Year Award

    Denver Union Station

    The comprehensive public relations expertise of Sage Hospitality, Dunn Communications, Larimer Associates, Dovetail Solutions and Aiello Public Relations led one of the most successful campaigns of the year - the grand opening of Denver Union Station. The completion of this highly-anticipated $54 million renovated Denver landmark was phased throughout 2014 to achieve maximum publicity and included multiple press conferences, media round-tables, a fundraising gala and a free public "street party" grand opening. Editorial news coverage included features in 65 publications with a combined circulation of 116 million readers extending even beyond the Front Range to include NPR's All Things Considered, Conde Nast Traveler, The New York Times and USA Today.

    2015 Chapter Service Award

    Margaret Fogarty | Farm Credit

    As national communications director at Farm Credit, Margaret Fogarty is described as an exceptional team leader with the “keen ability to build a team, tackle large projects and deliver great work.” Her leadership and business acumen has contributed to the growth and awareness of PRSA Colorado. She recently completed a two-year term on the chapter’s Board of Directors, liaising with the membership recruitment and retention committee and leading the redesign of the chapter website. In prior years, Margaret served on the media relations and programs committees, and as chapter editor, program panelist and frequent blog contributor.

    2015 Mentor of the Year Award

    Kristin Yantis | Malen Yantis PR

    As agency principal for Malen Yantis PR, Kristen Yantis knows the success of her company comes from collaborating with and investing in people. She has made it a priority to create a growth path for young professionals that both inspires and challenges. Among her colleagues, she is a frequent collaborator on business opportunities and professional development. She is described as a “professional, kind, thoughtful leader who sets an excellent example for her team.”

    2015 Business Person of the Year Award

    Meg VanderLaan | MWH Global

    As chief communications officer for MWH Global, Meg VanderLaan is tasked with helping maintain the reputation of a company with highly visible global projects and nearly 8,000 employees. In fostering the field of public relations, Meg implemented the firm’s first-ever crisis communications plan uniting contacts at each project and office site around the world. Further, to tell the story of the company’s work on the $5.2 billion Third Set of Locks of the Panama Canal Expansion project, Meg partnered with the History Channel’s “Modern Marvels” series to chronicle the design and construction of this important project. Her commitment to the profession extends to serving on the boards of the Downtown Denver Partnership Management Group, the Foundation for Global Scholars and Gannon University. She is described by her colleagues as “accomplished, talented and respected…and a credit to [the] profession.”