Sunday, December 11, 2016

News-Press 2016 People of the Year finalists include complete street champions

At this time each year, News-Press announces the finalists for its People of the Year awards, which honor "those who have made tremendous community impacts and changes lives along the way." There are eight award categories, including Person of the Year, Trailblazer of the Year, and Young Professionals of the Year. BikeWalkLee is thrilled that several finalists are community leaders who are part of the broad-based community efforts in support of complete streets and livable communities.

BikeWalkLee especially congratulates the founder and leader of the Cape Coral Bike-Peds (CCBP)group, Carolyn Conant, who is being honored as a finalist for Trailblazer of the Year. Not only has Carolyn and the CCCBP team made Cape Coral a better place to live, their partnership with the City is a model for others throughout SWFL.  In addition, Christin Collins, who leads LMHS's health and wellness/active lifestyles initiatives, as well as serving on the Board of Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, is a finalist for Person of the Year.  Barbara Manzo, the County's past longtime Parks and Rec Director, is also a Trailblazer finalist of the Year for her successful work on the Conservation 2020 ballot referendum.  Finally Jan-Erik Hustrulid is a finalist for the Young Professional of the Year award.  Jan-Erik works for Owens-Ames-Kimball Company, which was awarded the construction contract for the Lee MPO's TIGER Complete Streets Initiative project, and Jan-Erik has been part of that team. 

Thanks to the News-Press for continuing to highlight the importance of complete streets and livable communities through its ongoing recognition of the community leaders contributing to these efforts.  BikeWalkLee was a finalist for the News-Press Hero of the Year award in 201l.  This year's winners will be announced on Feb. 21 at the News-Press awards breakfast held at FGCU.  Congratulations to all the finalists for their incredible efforts to improve our community.
News-Press Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016: Our People of the Year finalists
Below are excerpt on these four highlighted finalists:

Trailblazer of the Year Finalist: Carolyn Conant

Carolyn Conant
A long-time volunteer, Conant had a vision to offer Cape Coral cyclists, runners and walkers safe and separate pathways near busy roads to enjoy the outdoors. Her efforts helped create 90 miles of wonderful pathways called Cape Coral Bike-Peds. Conant, along with many other volunteers and community leaders, and fueled by tremendous fund-raising efforts, created these nationally-recognized city jewels that wind through the city.

In her nomination letter, Dawn-Marie Driscoll, emeritus Executive Fellow for Business Ethics for Bentley University and a Cape Coral resident, said: "And in this post-election malaise, I think it would be well to honor someone who shows that people can come together outside of partisan politics, work on an important issue together to improve our communities and accomplish much."

Person of the Year Finalist: Christin Collins [no photo in News-Press]

We received over 25 nomination letters for Collins, who not only is an ambassador for health and wellness, but also active in raising funds for Golisano Children’s Hospital and also involved with Florida Greenways and Trails Foundation, the SWFL Wine & Food Festival, the Women’s Foundation, the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, the PACE Center for Girls and the American Heart Association.

But it’s her work at Lee Health, which is celebrating 100 years, that is truly a game changer. She is co-chairing the second Million Mile Movement, creating an awareness for health and wellness and the movement for community members to log 1 million miles over a three-month period. She was instrumental in creating the health system’s Healthy Lifestyle Approach to Wellness and Prevention, focusing on purpose-driven living, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, stress management, mental and behavioral health.

She created a national speaker series, bringing wellness leaders from around the world to Southwest Florida. Last month, she was part of a four-person team asked to present wellness initiatives at a national conference for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Her influence also resulted in the children’s hospital reaching its $100 million goal, with the final $1 million coming from the SWFL Wine & Food Festival, where she is the co-chair. Her work also has inspired raising funds for pediatric mental and behavioral health, a department which does not yet exist but is needed at Golisano.

In one of the nomination letters, Lee Health CEO Jim Nathan and Cape Coral Hospital CAO Scott Cashman said: "She has helped make an impact locally, spreading regionally and influencing nationally. She embraces and inspires so many community leaders."

Barbara Manzo
Trailblazer of the Year Finalist: Barbara Manzo

She led an effort to inform Lee County residents of saving the county’s most important environmental program, Conservation 20/20. She was chairwomen of the Yes on Conservation 20/20 group, driven by the purpose to make sure voters in the November election approved the referendum to continue the land buying, management and conservation program, which started in 1996.

The group organized in six months and implemented a plan that started a local political committee, raised funds, established a social media campaign and a Facebook page to inform the people of the importance of this referendum. They also created a speakers bureau to meet with various groups across the county.

Jan-Erik Hustrulid
Young Professional of the Year Finalist:  Jan-Erik Hustrulid

The Business Development and Community Outreach Coordinator with the Owen-Ames-Kimball Company, he keeps a hectic and productive pace as chairman of the board for the Heights Foundation and Heights Center, as a board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Lee County as a board trustee for The Cultural Center of Charlotte County, a board member for the Harry Chapin Food Bank and as a executive committee member and programming co-chair for the Southwest Florida Urban Land Institute.

His leadership efforts in various events have helped raise over $200,000 for various organizations and at-risk children. He also served on the first The News-Press Young Professionals Advisory Board this year.

As business development and outreach coordinator for the company, Hustrulid also develops new project opportunities.

He also helps mentor students at FGCU

In her nomination letter, Jeanette Baldwin of Owen-Ames-Kimball said: “He and his colleagues at Owen-Ames-Kimball Company actively support more than 50 local organizations each year by giving of their time, talents and resources.”

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