Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach announced the five winners of his Mayor’s Young Leader Awards Wednesday evening during an event at the Pinery on the Hill, recognizing successful entrepreneurs, educators and nonprofit leaders.
One winner was chosen for each of five categories — future industries, innovation in education, creative industry, innovation in sports and wellness, and economic impact — in which the nominated individuals reflected “extraordinary efforts in their field while making a positive impact in our community,” according to city spokesperson Krithika Prashant.
The recipients included:
• Conor McCluskey, 37-year-old founder and CEO of BombBomb, received the award for Future Industries.
He shares the honor with the rest of his team. McCluskey founded the interactive email service provider in 2006 and has since grown it to nearly 30 employees. He is also an owner of Proper Wines, a boutique winery based in Walla Walla, Wash.
“We’re really committed to Colorado Springs,” McCluskey told the Business Journal earlier this month. “We might not be able to do all our growing here, but build the coolest place to work in Colorado Springs and you’ll get the top talent.”
• Wendy Birhanzel, who serves as curriculum, instruction and assessment officer for Harrison School District 2, received the award for Innovation in Education. The 38-year-old recently assumed that role after serving as a principal at Patriot Elementary School in Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8.
• Jorden Smith, 27-year-old creative director of A Professional Note, received the award for Creative Industry. Smith started the Colorado Springs Conservatory program to help young adults with disabilities learn about music after he suffered a traumatic brain injury seven years ago.
“I believe A Positive Note can help young adults with disabilities to develop a sense of camaraderie, self-worth and accomplishment while learning the fundamentals of music,” Smith wrote on the program’s web page. “When times got tough, I always knew I could play my guitar, my piano or my trumpet and it would make me feel better. It is my biggest honor to present this program.”
• Nikki McComsey, 33-year-old executive director of Kids on Bikes, received the award for Innovation in Sports and Wellness. McComsey has been in that position since 2011 and is a road cyclist who helps kids and families gain health and wellness through bike-riding.
• Yemi Mobolade, co-owner and manager of the Wild Goose Meeting House in downtown Colorado Springs, received the award for Economic Impact. The 35-year-old Mobolade also is founder and manager of the Movement Church in Colorado Springs, where he serves as a life coach and pastor.
“There is no place I’d rather be than here in the Springs,” Mobolade told the Business Journal last month.
“I don’t feel like a business owner, I feel like a community developer. In terms of building and developing community in Colorado Springs, this city is in its prime.”
Nominees for each of those five categories included:
Innovation in Education: Ian Ferguson, music educator at the Colorado Springs Conservatory; Julissa Vega, elementary science teacher for Harrison School District 2; Wendy Birhanzel, curriculum, instruction and assessment officer at Harrison School District 2 (winner); Maria Feekes, vice president of operations for See the Change USA; and Joseph Laliberte, middle school social studies teacher at Mountain Vista Community School.
Creative Industry: Amber Merek, teacher at Colorado Springs Conservatory; Sean Holveck, owner of Holveck Designs; Leah Von Fange, art and graphic design coordinator at Pikes Peak Community College; and Jorden Smith, creative director at A Positive Note (winner).
Economic Impact: Jeff Mohrmann, principal attorney at Rogue Mountain Law; Darsey Nicklasson, partner at BDP (Blue Dot Place) Development; Rio Porter, sales manager at Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Yemi Mobolade, co-owner of the Wild Goose Meeting House (winner).
Innovation in Sports and Wellness: Aubrey Day, strategy coordinator at LiveWell Colorado Springs; Luke Farkas, professional triathlete and founder of Double Distance Bicycle Service; Nikki McComsey, executive director of Kids on Bikes (winner); Megan Leatham, executive director of Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb; and Matt Simpson, membership and outreach coordinator at the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.
Future Industries: Joe Lavorini, program coordinator at the Rocky Mountain Field Institute; Savannah Mondragon, assistant manager at the Security Service Federal Credit Union; and CEO Conor McCluskey and the BombBomb team (winner).