The winners of Butte Local Development Corporation's Business of the Year didn't have to go too far to pick up their award Thursday night.
The BLDC's annual dinner, at the Copper King Hotel and Convention Center, was capped with the award to The Copper King, and the owners who have given it elegant new life, Matt Nistler and Rex Leipheimer.
Maria Pochervina, the BLDC's incoming board chair, presented the award, remarking upon the partners' dedication and vision in taking on the incredibly challenging two-year renovation. And the building itself played a starring role, as the dinner took place in a sumptuously outfitted meeting room fitted with spectacular audiovisual equipment and lighting.
Other BLDC winners honored Thursday night:
Volunteer Organization of the Year: The Science Mine, the children's trove of exploration and discovery, at 32 E. Granite Street in the Sears Building. Longtime volunteers and organizers Doug Coe and Patrick Kujawa, along with several other volunteers, accepted the award.
Woman Entrepreneur of the Year: Cari Coe, who came home to Butte from Portland, Oregon and made a significant investment in the community, buying the building at 101 East Broadway. The building was vacant and in need of repairs when Coe purchased it, and it now houses Kinetic Fitness and residential tenants. "I love living in Butte," she said. "I'm so excited about what we are and what we are becoming."
Non-Profit of the Year: Career Futures, which has operated in Butte for 31 years providing training and counseling for job seekers and employers. Dr. John Garic, chairman of the board, and Executive Director Mary Berg accepted the award.
Educator of the Year: West Elementary Principal Pat Kissell. Kissell, in his 12th year as principal at West, thanked BLDC on "on behalf of everybody at our school, the students and the teachers and staff."
Entrepreneur of the Year: Tony Blacklock, owner of Blacklock Block Manufacturing, which opened in 2016 in the Montana Connections Business Development Park west of Butte. His company manufactured the distinctive pavers at the Original mineyard.
Young Professional of the Year: Mark Huntington, who operates Copper Tee, a screen printing business located in the Montana Broom and Brush building.
Winners of the annual "My Business My Future" essay contest were Butte High School students Taryn Stratton, third place; Declan McMahon, second place; and Abby Biastoch, first place.