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Beth Kremer, the Executive Director of the San Juan Development Association, was named “Rookie of the Year” at last week’s Economic Development Council of Colorado’s Drive Lead Succeed Annual Conference in Grand Junction.

The criteria for the award that Beth was nominated by her SJDA board stated, “Rookie of the Year: This award is designed to encourage new professionals who have demonstrated exceptional ability and performance in the field of economic development; To qualify for the nomination, either the individual or their organization they represent, is an EDCC member in good standing. Less than three years in the profession but at least one year in Colorado. Recommended by their supervisor for exceptional work on a project, issue, or problem. Demonstration of ability or leadership is usually limited to a veteran economic development practitioner. Some evidence of professional development or support for professional development in Colorado.”

The San Juan Development Association Board of Directors (Willy Tookey, Gloria Kaasch-Buerger, Laura Lewis, Kim White, and DeAnne Gallegos) submitted the nomination. Still, no one knew who the award would go to until Laura Lewis (Executive Director of Region 9), Beth Kremer, and Sara Moore (staffer of SJDA) attended the annual EDC Conference, and Beth was the clear winner.

Beth Kremer has taken a dormant/semi-active organization over the last decade to a thriving local non-profit that recently has added a full-time staff member and a part-time staff member who are under her supervision. Beth Kremer said, “I would be remiss not to first recognize that my success was founded on the foresight and leadership of several key persons in the community. Having board members who welcomed me into this role and have constantly provided me guidance, support, and their belief has allowed me to grow professionally, learn deeper, and have a fundamental understanding of how to identify and secure funding and programs that are aligned to SJDA’s mission.”

Beth has taken SJDA to the level that reflects the mission statement of the organization, which is, “Enhancing economic diversification in Silverton and San Juan County, CO by promoting collaboration, partnerships, and trust between businesses, non-profits, and local governments through community priority projects.” Beth then continued with, “When SJDA first hired me, the priorities given to me were to support affordable housing development, extend and enhance broadband services to the community, and help our community’s economic development and diversification grow. Now, almost three years later, it is very rewarding to see some key projects that are taking shape to help these priorities. SJDA has begun building affordable single-family housing in Anvil, we’re working closely with Region 9 on securing funding for a redundant fiber line into Silverton, and we’ve been awarded into programs like the Main Street Open for Business grant and Colorado’s Main Street Program that will bring support and funding to enhance our downtown businesses and experience. SJDA also had a huge milestone this year where we were able to hire two positions to the organization that are working on our priority projects and funding opportunities.”

Gloria Kaasch-Buerger, the Town of Silverton Administrator and a current board member of SJDA, said, “Beth’s dedication to her position and to Silverton has been instrumental in the recent success of San Juan Development Association. Beth has added to the Town’s capacity through grant writing, affordable housing assistance, broadband redundancy, and economic development. She deserves this award!” Willy Tookey, the San Juan County Administrator and current President of the SJDA board, said, “Beth has done an amazing job for SJDA. We are very fortunate to have her leading our economic development efforts.” Small rural non-profits struggle to find funding, staffing, and a sustainable model.

Still, this current board and the current director, Kremer, have made the sustainability of SJDA a priority, and her hard work over the almost three years in the position has paid off. “Beth continues to positively impact her community, which faces more than the standard challenges found in most communities. The amount of work that she gets done in this parttime position is extraordinary,” said Laura Lewis Marchino, Executive Director of Region 9 EDD and SJDA Board member. Beth Kremer finished with, “As usual in Silverton, and really any small town, people have to ‘wear many hats.’ I am no exception, and when people ask me what I do and I get to this role, I usually describe it as my ‘heart job’ – it’s one that I have a lot of passion for and also get a lot of energy out of it. I’m very honored to be recognized by my peers for this award, and hope that I am able to continue contributing to our Silverton and San Juan County residents.” To check out all the projects that SJDA is currently working on, go to

Article by Silverton Standard & the Miner