Holly Piatek is clear about the focus of the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce as the new year approaches with a new executive director at the helm.
"I'm here to build business," she said. "What's going to help grow our community and bring our economy back?"
She's educating herself about resources already available to local business owners, and exploring wants and desires through a short questionnaire she takes along as she introduces herself to chamber members. She's making 50 to 60 calls a week, so members can put a face to her name. "I want to let them know I'm open to suggestions, to criticism. It's all about communication."
Piatek is very familiar with chamber activities, having recently served on the chamber board. She's also knowledgeable about the business community -- her most recent job was with Wells Fargo, as a personal banker. She previously worked at Verizon and 94 KIX/KUBC.
She and her husband Mike are the owners of PTK Ranch LLC, which offers riding lessons and training for horse lovers. Piatek also provides carriage services for special occasions, including last summer's Downtown Delta-Fests. She is an animal lover who has eight horses of her own, as well as five dogs. She does some dog breeding and grooming.
With all those animals, as well as a 16-acre ranch, it's clear Piatek isn't afraid of hard work. She believes her strong sales background will also be an asset in her new position.
Organizational abilities are equally critical, as evidenced by the white board outlining 2016 chamber events, beginning with the Small Business Resource Expo on Feb. 23. The chamber's annual meeting is set for March 12, and the Spring Expo (formerly known as the Home and Garden Show) takes place April 15 and 16. Piatek and the chamber board are exploring ideas to enhance those events, as well as the Downtown DeltaFest. "I'm not sure we need additional events," Piatek said. "We just need more participation in the events we offer."
She's excited about some of the changes made in 2015, including the return of the Deltarado Days rodeo, Downtown DeltaFest and the chamber's Facebook page. "Those were great additions," she said.
In addition to event planning and business support, the chamber is a primary contact for visitors to Delta and the surrounding area. Folks will notice the fish display has been removed, but there are still lots of maps and brochures highlighting places of interest on the Western Slope. Piatek said she would like to see more focus on local attractions, again with the intent of supporting local businesses first and foremost.
"That's my focus," she said. "It's not about me; it's about helping your business grow."
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.