The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

The Bernalillo Chamber of Commerce proudly announces its ANNUAL AWARD RECIPIENTS

The following businesses and individuals were recognized with the following speech by outgoing Chamber President Fawn Dolan at the Bernalillo Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet held November 1, 2002, at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa. Please join us in recognizing and celebrating their accomplishments.

    The first award is for:

This award goes to a company that has just celebrated its first year anniversary. The company has seven people actively promoting the area, the culture, the traditions, the heritage of Bernalillo and the surrounding area. They bring in interested parties from across the nation and educate them about the shops, galleries, restaurants, entertainment and recreational opportunities in the area. Whether they are selling a vacant lot, a single-wide mobile home, a custom built home in Placitas, acreage in Llanito or a million-dollar home in Bosque Encantado, they are promoting the lifestyle unique to the greater Bernalillo area—a quality of life that can’t be found in Rio Rancho, Albuquerque, or Santa Fe. This company has opened the first real estate office ever located on Main Street in the Town of Bernalillo. 

The “Award for New Business of the Year” goes to: RE/MAX ELITE NORTH!


    Our second award goes to the

The winner of this award is a neighborhood-based community health center that has been the sole health care provider in the area for over twenty-five years. The staff are dedicated individuals committed to maintaining this primary care clinic as community-based operation, serving the residents in a manner that acknowledges their culture and traditions. They have four doctors on staff, a nurse practitioner, and a physician’s assistant. They have a volunteer board of directors comprised of community members and long-time patients. They’ve just recently built a new facility that better meets the diverse needs of its clients and reinforces its commitment to community. This health center provides quality care to Sandoval County residents and turns no one away regardless of their ability to pay. 

The “Business Making the Greatest Contribution to the Community” goes to:


    The next award goes to the

Individual businesses owners are responsible for the success of their businesses. They need to have certain pieces of their puzzle already put together before venturing into the business world; but they have to have support—and a climate that promotes business—one that courts new businesses to the area and one that nurtures and appreciates existing ones. We found that support when the Chamber asked for funding from the Lodger’s Tax Fund to do joint, collaborative advertising for the chamber pages that run monthly in the Sandoval Signpost and on occasion in the Albuquerque Journal West Side. Our request for funding resulted in a unanimous "YES" from the Town Council who is overseeing the Lodger’s Tax Fund. The funding for those pages gave the chamber direct access to the community letting them know that the chamber was a viable and visible organization.

The Lodger’s Tax also funded the creation and  placement of two billboards on I-25 directing traffic to Bernalillo in order the avoid the construction delays and to help minimize the loss of revenue to local businesses during the closure of Exit 240. 

They also supported and helped fund the 17th Annual Bernalillo Arts Trail and other events that keep Bernalillo on the map and on the minds of travelers and residents. 

The “Entity Providing the Greatest Support to the Business Community” goes to:


    The fourth award goes to:

The winner of this award goes to a majestic place that celebrates our rich heritage, traditions and culture. This corporate business embraced and enhanced the best in New Mexico hospitality. It brings in conferences and conventions drawing people from across the country. It is a destination point for many world travelers. This company sends its guests into the unique specialty shops, restaurants and galleries in the area. They have contacted local B& B’s when they’ve had overflow and needed accommodations. They advertise many cultural events and activities and build upon our tourist attractions creating an even bigger draw which results in greater revenue being pumped into local coffers. 

I’m not exactly sure how it came to fruition but rumor has it a handful of locals with a vision reached out to a large corporation who saw the potential and together they made the dream become a reality. It is a classic example of how entrepreneurs and corporate powers can work together for the benefit of all.

The “Corporate Business of the Year” goes to:



    The next award goes to the

This business has become a landmark and a meeting place for the community in a mere 10 years. It draws people from all over the country having been written up in ZAGAT’S GUIDE, SUNSET Magazine, and other national publications. These guys are astute businessmen and give much credit to the community for their success. They know that giving back to the community is good for business and they generously support the arts and local fund raisers. They have yet to turn down a request for a donation. 

One story shared by a staunch supporter of this business relayed how they catered a very important luncheon for the National Scenic ByWays Tour which was held at the Coronado State Monument. That evening, having been unable to find another restaurant who would wine and dine these very influential tourism promoters, the Range agreed to feed these people dinner that same evening for a very reduced price. Talk about good PR! 

They have recently expanded their business to include a lounge using local craftsmen and women to create a unique place to meet and greet your neighbors. If you haven‘t wet your whistle at the Lizard Rodeo Lounge, you are depriving your senses. 

This award for “Small Business of the Year” goes to: THE RANGE CAFÉ


    The next award goes to:

In these uncertain times, everybody is looking for a hero and its reassuring to know that sometimes we have a hero in our very mist—we don’t have to look up to an overpaid sports figure or a politician or a movie star that is far removed. Such is the case with the winner of this award. This individual is a Youth Leader in the Baptist Church. He has volunteered to help children in the Assemble of God Church.  He has driven buses to transport children from Bernalillo Housing Authority to Albuquerque for special events. In September, he held a camp out at Coronado State Park for these same kids and took them fishing until midnight. He is loved and respected by the students at Bernalillo High School. He has spent many hours counseling and just being a friend to these students.

Chief Reylea writes "I recently promoted Officer Garcia to the rank of Lieutenant. This decision was made only after careful thought and consideration. The rank of Lieutenant in our Police Department holds special responsibilities. One such responsibility is that of our youth.

As you know, the youth are our future. I regret that I am not here tonight to see my friend get this award." Lieutenant Joe Garcia devotes his personal time to making a difference in the lives of children in our community. 

It is with great honor we recognize:
LIEUTENANT JOE GARCIA as “Citizen of the Year”


    The next four awards go to
    individuals or businesses who have demonstrated
    leadership qualities. 

Leaders set the pace—the tone. They pave the way for others to follow and provide support for them to excel and achieve and to reach their full potential. We’re honored to recognize the leaders in our community. 


      The first award in our Leadership category is for:

This individual has forded streams, blazed trails, and has been very instrumental in helping Bernalillo and the surrounding area become a Mecca for artists. We recently celebrated the 17th ANNUAL BERNALILLO ARTS TRAIL that this individual helped create—14 artists/studios and galleries now exist on a two-mile stretch along Main Street. One of the gallery owners said she is planning to expand her studio. 

Another gallery owner said he couldn’t be happier with the way things were going for his studio and fellow artists. This is great news and reason to celebrate. It is also important that we recognize the vision, energy, determination and leadership that was required to get the first Arts Trail off the ground! 

This individual is a renowned artist with several commissioned Public Art Pieces to his credit including the Holocaust Memorial in downtown Albuquerque, the huge stallion at the Bernalillo High School and the whimsical ‘66 Cadillac on Main Street. Not only is he talented but he has a big heart too. He is very active in his church with the youth ministry and has been digging latrines in Mexico for indigenous people for the past several summers. 

This award for “Outstanding Performance in the Arts” goes to:  JAKE LOVATO



goes to another individual who is a hero among kids. This individual has, on his own time and with his own money, developed the "KASEY says" program, which is an outgrowth of the K-NINE outreach program. Dean and Kasey would go to Placitas Elementary School and visit and read books with kids. Kids were going home and saying "KASEY SAYS "Better Buckle UP!" Well, parents wanted to know just who this Officer Kasey was that was having such a positive impact on their children. Kasey is a two year old golden retriever who likes to be read to! Dean would bring Kasey to the library twice a month on his own time and children would be so excited. As a result of their involvement, attendance and grades went up. Tardies and absenteeism went down. 

Dean has received National Recognition for his efforts and the program and many libraries are interested in starting a similar program to entice and encourage kids to read.

The award for “Oustanding Performance in Community Action goes to: DEAN ALEXANDER, an officer with the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department.


      The next Leadership award is for “OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE IN EDUCATION”

The recipient of this award is a recognizable figure in the community. He has provided continuous and consistent leadership in the Bernalillo Public Schools District since June 1996. 

A few of his accomplishments according to his staff are:

He has provided strong educational leadership in helping schools to improve; he is dedicated to improving student achievement and has implemented many programs towards that goal including choices program enhancement, technical professional developmental partnerships with the business community, such as INTEL; enhanced music program; a successful football program at the high school level and a German Foreign Student Exchange Program.

He is instrumental in securing the funds for the renovation of the Santo Domingo Elementary School Cafeteria, the renovations and construction of the Bernalillo Middle school (which is currently in progress); renovation and construction of Cochiti Elementary School (currently in progress) and acquisition of land for expansions of Bernalillo High school complete with a performing arts center; AND the development of a COMPUTER CLUB HOUSE in collaboration with YDI and Intel! Education of our youth impacts all of us as we look for skilled employees knowing that a successful education helps kids reach their full potential. Bernalillo and the surrounding area is fortunate to have such a strong, dedicated leader at the helm. 

The award for “Outstanding Performace in Education goes to:
DR. GARY DWYER, Superintendent of the Bernalillo Public Schools



goes to an agency that has daily contact with tourist inquiring about places to go, things to do, shops and restaurants, and  room accommodations. Tourism development is essential for our state and for local businesses. Every state is eager to have tourism dollars flow through their state and it takes a concentrated multi-media advertising campaign to keep New Mexico and Sandoval County, in particular, in the public eye. Bernalillo is the gateway to Sandoval County, so any and all advertising for the county benefits our local businesses at some point in time. Sandoval County is rich in its cultural diversity and its history. It contains seven Native American Pueblos and a portion of the Navajo Nation. It has four National scenic by ways, 4 wineries, two State Monuments and two National Monuments. Its 3,700 square miles of terrain stretch from the forests of Jemez Valley to the desert mountain riverbanks. 

By having a county entity poised to greet walk in tourist on a daily basis, responding to inquiries on the Web site, email and snail mail, business benefit greatly from their efforts, visibility and dedication. They are constantly seeking funding to do collaborative advertising and more. 

They have a dedicated and knowledgeable staff that, to date, has greeted over 5000 walk-ins, and responded to over 15 thousand web site inquiries! Since January of 2002, they have averaged 557 combined inquiries PER DAY! 

It is with great pleasure that we present this award to the:
SANDOVAL COUNTY TOURISM CENTER for their outstanding performance in Tourism Development.


      The next award goes to the

This organization has become a "Friend of Youth" of our community. It has purchased an $800.00 Science Program, "Crash," which teaches safe driving through science. The organization has conducted Bike Safety Rodeos, to fix bikes and teach bicycle safety.  It has held Voter Registration drives at Bernalillo High School, sponsored Candidate Forums and conducted a youth Oratorical Contest. It is presently conducting an Essay Contest for 10th-12th grade students which could lead to a $2000.00 college scholarship or higher. It has instituted a Junior Optimist Club at Placitas Elementary School to teach and involve the children with their community. There are currently 40 members! 

The Optimists Club sponsored a SUMMER FUN CAMP for youngsters this past summer taking them to Explora Science Center, Alpaca Farm and Coronado State Monument, combining learning and fun!

For their efforts to involve youth in positive activities, the award for the “Nonprofit Business of the Year” goes to: OPTIMIST CLUB DE SANDOVAL


      The next award is for “EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR”

The winner of this award is no longer employed.....but in the past year of his employment, he impressed many of us with his professionalism, his eagerness to accommodate and his willingness to go the extra mile. The tasks put before him were accomplished in record time and done to the greatest extent of his ability. 

He took on other requests for his assistance that weren’t in his "job description." He took initiative to improve and expand upon those tasks. He greeted strangers and familiar faces with enthusiasm and a smile. He is very knowledgeable but when he didn’t know the answer, he took it upon himself to find out! He painstakingly went through the yellow pages and generated a list of all the businesses listed in the greater Bernalillo area. He created maps to help people navigate in and around town. He retrieved Chamber mail, delivered it when necessary, answered our phone, checked the e-mail and web sites, responded to inquiries that were chamber related but also tourism related. This individual was a joy to work with and has been greatly missed since his way too early retirement. 

“Employee of the Year” award goes to: JIM FESSENDEN, formerly with the Sandoval County Tourism Center


We’ve added a new category to the awards banquet, which I call "Presidential Prerogative." As you’ve noticed, there was a focus on our youth both tonight and during this past year. We hear it often enough that our children are our future, but sometimes it seems like we don’t do enough to enrich their lives and enhance their opportunities. Knowing that we have such strong role models and leaders in our community who are putting kids first, is a benefit to all. Sometimes kids themselves become the role models and make things happen in their community. We know of Cody Unser’s gallant efforts and other kids who have made national news with their desire to make the world a better place. But not everyone gets their 15 minutes of glory. Like all of us unsung heroes, there are kids who choose daily to make their world a little better by helping someone else. 

      The recipient of “OUR JUNIOR VOLUNTEER of THE YEAR AWARD”

goes to a young lady who has volunteered at NEARLY NEW—A Repeat Boutique, since she was 9. She is now 11. Almost every Friday these past two summers, and several times a month on Saturdays during the school year, she greets customers, writes up receipts, prices donated clothing, sorts and arranges items, models articles of clothing much to the delight of customers and uses her sales skills to help increase the customers purchases by selecting just the right blouse to go with their outfit! She has spent her own money at garage sales buying toys to give to the children who come in with their moms—keeping them occupied and entertained while their moms focus on themselves for a few precious moments. She even gives the toys away knowing that there are kids who are less fortunate.! 

The award for the “Junior Volunteer of the Year” goes to: K’DAWN BUTLER



goes to a business who has just recently changed their name in order to better serve their customers and to reflect where their interests and concerns lay.  This business does a great job of informing the community about events, news worthy items and controversial matters that they are willing to address head on. They cover stories that impact all residents and businesses in the greater Bernalillo area such as closure of exit 240 and its potential impact on the businesses. They even sent forth a plea to residents to Support their local merchants! 

They run "Business of the Month" features acting as a welcoming committee and helping small businesses get the word out about their new shops, upcoming sales, expansions, changes of ownership, etc. 

They cover local political issues giving equal time to both parties. They seem to offer something for everyone including animal lovers, advocates of open space, controlled growth proponents and everything in between. No news item is too trivial for them to at least consider.

  Their help in creating the Greater Bernalillo Chamber of Commerce Pages has brought instant recognition and visibility to the Chamber and our efforts.  They attend as many special functions as possible and still lead very active and adventuresome lives (which we get to read about in their follow-up stories)! They have turned their local newspaper into a must-read for residents, businesses and newcomers. It gets referred to time and time again, is usually no longer available on the shelves towards the middle of the month, and is a great resource and vehicle for communication. 

For these reasons and many more, the “Community Focus Award” goes to:


This is my last event as the President of the Greater Bernalillo Chamber of Commerce and I urge and encourage you all to keep the momentum. To coin a few words from the President of the Grants Chamber of Commerce, who coined a few words from John F. Kennedy, "ASK NOT WHAT YOUR CHAMBER CAN DO FOR YOU, RATHER, ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR CHAMBER!”

Thank You. 

—Spoken by Fawn Dolan, outgoing Bernalillo Chamber of Commerce President, at the Annual Bernalillo Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet on November 1, 2002, at the Hyatt Tamaya Resort and Spa in Bernalillo.




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