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The 2010 Roche Jaune Awards for Business Excellence will be given out Wednesday evening at the Alberta Bair Theater.

A cocktail hour begins at 6:30 and the award celebration, emceed by Rob Griggs begins at 7:30. Tickets are $25. Call 245-4111 or go to www.billingschamber.com.

The Billings Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau has named Ron Sexton, Montana State University Billings' former chancellor, as the 2010 Roche Jaune Awards for Business Excellence Lifetime Achievement recipient for his more than 30 years promoting higher education in Billings.

Sexton retired from MSUB in August.

The award is given annually to "residents, organizations and businesses that help improve the quality of life and business climate in Billings," according to a press release from the chamber.

According to the chamber's press release, here's a bit about the others who'll be honored on Wednesday:

Civic Leadership: Greg Krueger, Downtown Billings Alliance

Krueger is development director for the Downtown Billings Partnership. His efforts have been instrumental in creating a downtown district that has attracted new businesses, retailers, entertainment and customers. He's also worked to gain support for the east-end TIF district, in making downtown a whistle-free zone, and in collaborating with other area agencies and organizations in moving Billings forward.

Business Person of the Year: Lisa Wyss, Meridian

Wyss opened her downtown business in the 1990s on the platform of quality and service. When you walk into her store you feel special. In 2009, Wyss expanded her business to west Billings now operating a second Meridian on 24th Street West in the Plaza 24 shopping center. Wyss is a young Montana entrepreneur who wasn't afraid to take a chance... and then a second chance

Education Excellence: Peter Gesuale

For nearly a decade, Gesuale has worked to improve the public education system in Billings. He served as vice chair of the Billings School District 2 Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2004. Gesuale helped establish a SD2 audit committee which is modeled on corporate audit committees. He also wrote a charter that is still in use today and is almost unchanged. After taking a break from the SD2 Board, he was elected as a write-in candidate in 2004. During his second term of service, he has served on the Board of Directors for the Montana State School Board Association. That term concludes this month.

Healthcare Excellence: Karen Sanford Gall, Big Sky State Games

Sanford-Gall is committed to guiding Billings and area residents into leading healthier lives. Her work with the Big Sky State Games, the Montana Women's Run, Shape Up Montana and Big Sky Fit Kids proves she is committed to the community. Sanford-Gall recently was inducted into the University of Wyoming's Athletic Hall of Fame.

Salesperson Excellence: Damian Forrester, Century 21 Hometown Brokers

Forrester was nominated by his peers for his customer service excellence as a real estate agent with Century 21 Hometown Brokers. A colleague nominated him for his unparalleled service and practice of treating each client equally. Forrester serves as a past president and current board member on the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Yellowstone County Board of Directors, he is the vice president of the Premier Professionals Network and is active with the Home Builder's Association.

Supervisor of the Year: Chris Johnson, Crowne Plaza Hotel

Johnson's management has helped put the Crowne Plaza back on the hotel map as one of the finest hotels in the region. His management style has cultivated a staff that focuses its clients. Johnson is applauded for making the second highest building "The Place" you want your friends and family members to experience when they visit Billings. Johnson is committed to the property and staff. He's not afraid to get dirty, he's not afraid to work late or early and he does it all to make sure his staff knows how committed he is to them and the hotel.

Customer Service Excellence, Integra Telecom Customer Care Team

The core values and integrity of employees can be witnessed to the fullest extent in tough times or when corporate decisions threaten to erode morale and job security. However, for the Customer Care Team at Integra Telecom, nothing will stop them from serving their customers to the best of their abilities. This team was nominated by a superior who is so grateful for their loyalty and hard work. Integra Telecom is a successful business serving technology needs in Billings and beyond. Through mergers and acquisitions, the Integra Custer Care Team has been nothing but enthusiastic, innovative and resilient.

Youth Volunteer of the Year: Carrie Stiff, Western Heritage Center

Stiff is a senior in high school who is dedicated to introducing kids of all ages to the culture on display at the Western Heritage Center. From leading tours as a docent and helping plan critical events like 'Hollywood Montana Style' to updating databases and working the front desk, this Billings' teen has already figured out that investing in the community she calls home is very important.

Agriculture Excellence: Taylor Brown, Northern Broadcasting System, Inc.

Brown, owner and president of the regional radio and television network known as the Northern Broadcasting System, started as an on-air broadcaster in 1979. Throughout his 30-year career, Brown has been a tireless supporter of agriculture through an aggressive public speaking schedule. Taylor was elected as the Montana state senator for District 22 in 2008. In the Legislature he has served on the Senate Taxation, Education and Agriculture Committees.

Adult Volunteer of the Year: Chris Cook, YMCA, St. Vincent Healthcare, Billings Public Schools

Children in Billings can look up to Chris Cook as a role model. Women and men of all ages can look to him when they want to learn the importance of a healthy lifestyle. And, meantime, if you're an adult and you're not sure how to get active in your community, Cook can provide some suggestions. Just this year, you could have walked with him during he and his wife's successful "Walk and Talk with the Doc" program, you may have been in meetings he was charging as the top volunteer for St. Vincent Healthcare's "Heart and Sole Run," you may have seen him volunteering at the YMCA, you may have seen, heard and learned from him at Complete Streets meetings, Healthy Places Initiatives gatherings, bike races, sporting events, and community meetings.

Tourism Excellence: Metra Park Staff

Bill Dutcher: General Manager

Sandra Hawke: Marketing Manager

Sue Devries: Assistant General Manager

Jodi Henke: Comptroller

Jessica Baldwin: Marketing Coordinator

The staff of MetraPark, led by its management team listed above, performed miracles in the days following a tornado on Father's Day. The damage to the Rimrock Arena at MetraPark and the grounds surrounding it were obvious, but it took the community time to realize that the dedicated management staff had no office. Additionally, most of their resource materials were spread over many acres. Antiques Roadshow was the first big challenge just a few days after the tornado, and the grounds were cleaned, the Expo Center made ready, and the Antiques Roadshow went off without any problems. Later, MontanaFair was another challenge. Acts that had been scheduled for the Rimrock Arena were moved to the Grandstand, the Grandstand was cleaned, painted, and made ready for numerous events. The grounds were reconfigured to get the vendors that would have been in the lower level of the Rimrock Arena in and around the other buildings and grounds.

Employer of the Year: Bresnan Communications

Here are some excerpts pulled from employee statements regarding Bresnan: Great benefits, great coworkers; This is the first company that I truly feel provides a quality product; I am proud to be part of the team; The reasons I heard it was good to work here were because everybody is like a family; The bosses are great; The company really cares about its employees.

Bresnan Communications is a broadband telecommunications provider founded in 1984 with the goal of providing leading-edge technology, entertainment and advanced services supported by outstanding customer service to small and medium-sized markets. It has more than 320,000 customers in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah. Since entering the Billings market in 2003, jobs have been created, livelihoods have been enhanced, amazing benefits are offered and the motto of keeping it personal has radiated from its employees throughout the community. The company continues to be committed to the well-being if its employees and the communities it serves.

 

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