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Young Professional of the Year


Young Professional of the Year  is an award that honors outstanding young professionals who are making an impact in Mesa County. 

The YP of the Year is announced every year at the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce's Annual Banquet. 

Check out some of the previous honorees below!

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Emma Leenerman
2020 YP of the Year

Coordinator of Alumni and Campus Engagement

Colorado Mesa University

Emma was born and raised in Broomfield, Colorado. She graduated from Colorado Mesa University with a BA in Exercise Science. She has been the Coordinator of Alumni and Campus Engagement at CMU since 2017.

At the beginning of the global pandemic, Emma volunteered to be uprooted from her normal duties as Colorado Mesa University’s Coordinator of Alumni Engagement and tackle the university’s COVID-19 testing efforts for the entire CMU Campus. CMU heavily depended on the accuracy and efficiency of this testing center to minimize the interruption for in-person learning and to ultimately lighten the burden of Mesa County’s testing center. Using her wise decision-making skills, quick learning nature, and keen coordination skills, Emma was able to lead a COVID testing site that administered over 80,000, tests; most of which were given voluntarily, at random, and in response to different triggers, but all of them collectively keeping CMU open and operating in a normal manner. The same could be said in our community, in which thanks to the success of the CMU testing center, our community has been lucky to maintain normal life thanks to the 200,000 tests Emma, and many key players, work to keep our family, neighbors and friends safe and in a good frame of mind.

Emma is described by her coworkers as a key asset that enabled CMU to thrive and become a community pillar in a turbulent time. Today, Emma’s focus has shifted to leading a vaccine distribution process, all of this while keeping a smile, looking for ways to improve, and most importantly, being a new mom.

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Brian Watson

2017 YP of the Year 

Co-Founder of Proximity Space

Brian founded LAUNCHWestCO with partner Josh Hudnall in 2015. In just two years the nonprofit network of entrepreneurs and small business professionals has grown to over 500 members across Western Colorado. In December 2016, Brian and Josh opened the doors to Grand Junction’s first ever coworking space, FACTORY. Brian sits on the Mesa County Workforce Board representing the technology sector and works tirelessly to promote that industry.
Tamara Krizman
2019 YP of the Year

Director of Career Services at Colorado Mesa University 

Tamara was born and raised in Grand Junction and graduated from Colorado Mesa University’s mass communication program. She has been the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Mesa Mall for over five years.

Before her current role at Mesa Mall, Tamara worked in local government for the Mesa County Health Department as a Communication Specialist, and for the non-profit Mosaic as a Community Outreach Manager.  She currently volunteers with Mosaic, the CMU Alumni Association, and the Initiate Conference.  She was awarded the CMU Alumni Association President's Award in 2018 for her outstanding commitment to CMU.


As one of the youngest CMU Alumni Board Presidents, Tamara also sits on various boards across the community and has a passion and desire to see a connected community thriving in every area.

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Anna Stout 
2018 YP of the Year

Executive Director of Roice-Hurst Humane Society

Born and raised in Grand Junction, and a graduate of Grand Junction High School, Anna founded an organization at the age of 19 called the Foundation for Cultural Exchange. This local nonprofit promotes meaningful partnerships with the people of El Espino, El Salvador, working toward lasting economic and social development. After graduating from Mesa State College in 2009 and receiving her Master’s in Global Affairs from the University of Denver, Anna was named the Executive Director of Roice-Hurst Humane Society in 2015. Since then, she has grown that organization’s endowment from 50,000 to almost 800,000. Anna has served on several boards including the Latino Chamber of Commerce, KAFM Community Radio Advisory Board, The World Affairs Council, CASA of Mesa County, GJ Rockies host families, Riverside Education Center, and many others.

Young Professional of the Quarter


Young Professional of the Quarter is an award that honors Mesa County young professionals within YPNMC who have done an exceptional job representing young professionals or have made great achievements while being a member. Check out the previous YP of the Quarter honorees below!


The Board of Directors is always seeking nominations for the next Young Professional of the Quarter! 

Adam Cesmat
Air Freshener Marketing

YP of the Quarter (Q2 2022)
Darah Galvin
Development Coordinator
Bray Commercial Real Estate

 YP of the Quarter (Q2 2021)
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Derek Irick 
Bray Real Estate

 YP of the Quarter (Q3 2020)
Kayley Vogel 
Workforce Development Liaison
Colorado Mesa University 

 YP of the Quarter (Q2 2020)
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Travor Daggers 
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
 YP of the Quarter (Q2 2019)
Colter Lovette
Co-Founder & CEO
32 Waves

 YP of the Quarter (Q1 2019)
Michael Brooks 
Dalby, Wendland & Co., PC

YP of the Quarter (Q3 2018)
Dr. William "Bill" Berguin


Western Slope Dental Center

YP of the Quarter (Q2 2018)

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Leslie Eslava

Program Coordinator 

Riverside Education Center 

YP of the Quarter (Q1 2018)

Taryn Andrey

Designer/Space Planner

ProSpace Interiors

Mallory Reams

Associate Landscape Architect

Ciavonne, Roberts & Associates, Inc.

Bryan Baughman


FCI Constructors

Brittany Ray


Younge & Hockensmith, P.C.

Michael Brooks

Staff Accountant
Dalby, Wendland & Co., P.C.

Rommel McClaney Jr.

Benefits Coordinator/HR Generalist
Critical Nurse Staffing

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Peter Bacich

 Business Analyst- Healthcare Economics

 Rocky Mountain Health Plans

Dan Collins


Red Wing Shoes

Matt Martinez

Staff Accountant

Dalby, Wendland & Co., P.C.

Molly Sweet

Universal Banker

Community Banks of Colorado

Jenn Pottorf

Asst. Controller
RP Services, LLC

Heather Lambeth

Managing Broker/Owner

New Image Realty

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