The South Metro Denver Chamber held their 100th anniversary gala at Wings Over the Rockies museum Friday evening Sept. 24. Chamber CEO Jeff Keener and wife Mary, and staff, including Footers catering know how to throw a party. An enthusiastic crowd of 300 free enterprisers joined by supportive business elected officials saluted Brian Vogt as the honoree. Brian was Chamber CEO for 14 years, following in the footsteps of iconic leader Richard Harrison, who’s widow Carolyn was in the audience.
Brian, who grew up in Englewood, related how his dad, who was the sheriff, would race south down unpaved Broadway with his young son bouncing over the ruts and hills on the unpaved road.
Vogt is the CEO of the Denver Botanic Gardens where he has done a spectacular job since leaving the chamber. He is a founding father of the city of Centennial that is currently celebrating their 20th anniversary since being founded by Vogt, Randy Pye, who became the cities first mayor, John Brackney, and South Suburban CEO David Lorenz and others. It has always been my thought that Vogt could, and should seek higher office such as governor or U.S. senator.
Centennial leaders, led by Mayor Stephanie Piko, turned out in force for the gala purchasing two tables and the council showing up in tuxedoes. A class act from this growing and influential city of 130,000 proud residents. They respect and realize that sales tax collected by local business firms is the lifeline for metro and suburban cities. Absent from the event were Greenwood Village and Cherry Hills officials. If not for sales tax from our business community and resident shopping dollars, schools and police could not and would not be able to function, and residential and commercial property taxes would skyrocket. Chambers, all of them in Englewood, Lone Tree, Aurora, Denver, South Metro, and smaller business groups such as Littleton, all work to support local business and bring events, commerce and industry to their cities. They do more, they welcome these business firms and employees to the area with seminars, job training, and networking. They work to support legislation that eases creeping government control of the free enterprise system, realizing that freedom to own and operate a business is the foundation of our American way of life. Immigrants arriving in America legally found a land where they could own land, open stores, and do the heavy lifting of mining gold and laying railroad ties. The success stories have been staggering and still exist today because of the freedom of people to create jobs, to work hard, and to be successful raising families, buying homes and cars.
Those in the business world as employees and owners realize that customer service is the key to success. It takes a total team to survive in today’s business world and we salute all the business firms represented at the gala in supporting the role that chamber of commerce organizations provide to make our cities better.