Idaho Business Review‘s CEOs of Influence awards event felt like a high-energy party May 11, with movers and shakers from yesterday, today and tomorrow on the guest list.
It was the sixth gathering for the event. With the latest group of awardees, 39 Idaho leaders have been saluted for their vision and accomplishments.
Podium remarks were lighthearted, reflecting a spirit of friendliness and comaraderie at the event. Steve Hardesty of Perkins Coie got the evening started with jokes about listening to the honorees’
speeches raptly as his firm, as presenting sponsor, paid “about $800 per word.”
But the true highlights of the evening were the acceptance speeches made by the nine awarded CEOs. Each honoree was introduced by videos from Peppershock Media, which presented the CEO to the audience in a sort of visual shorthand.
Idaho Power’s Darrel Anderson spoke of family, including the 2,000 employees he leads and his own family at home who make him laugh: his wife, “who I would never be here without her support,” and his two grown children. He also brought up two nonprofit efforts near his heart: the Women’s and Children’s Alliance devoted to eradicating domestic violence, which, Anderson said, strikes one in three women at some time in their life, and also the Just Drive campaign he spearheaded in 2015 to prevent accidents caused by distracted driving.
Jack Gustavel, a CEO from Coeur d’Alene, could not attend. His son Kurt, who helms Idaho Independent Bank in Boise, spoke about his father’s founding legacy, the community bank he built. It’s now 11 branches strong.
Don Kemper, Healthwise founder, retiring this summer after 40 years, invited everyone to hike Kemper’s Ridge, a trail named after him in the Boise Foothills. And Maureen O’Toole, girl scout turned Girl Scout Leader, asked members of the audience to choose three words that defined them and that could describe them to others on their tombstone. Hers – chosen by her mother, husband and sons – were “enthusiastic, driven and selfless.”
Portneuf Health Trust’s Shaun Menchaca called himself “a scrapper,” and talked about ways he’s strengthening his community, such as the Portneuf Wellness Complex, and other projects he’d like to undertake. He predicted he has 20, 30 or 40 years left – who knows what could happen?
Rev. Bill Roscoe beamed, talking about his family that includes four children, the efforts that truly make a difference at the Boise Rescue Mission, and most of all, about the Boise community of caring leaders, partners, and people – “the most generous community on the face of the earth. I’ve said that since I got here and I’ll say it when they plant me up in Veteran’s Cemetery.”
Twin Falls City Manager Travis Rothweiler relayed to the audience that his 90-year-old grandmother, who had just had a stroke, was in attendance as were both of his parents – strong Montanans, he said.
Kount CEO Brad Wiskirchen also became emotional as he talked about his work family and his home family – after joking that, after watching his introductory video, one of the three words he was prompted by O’Toole to come up with was “tieless.” The crowd burst into laughter.
And finally Ken Wyatt spoke about his tough New York upbringing. That, along with his father’s leadership, helped mold him to become the leader he is today. And, Wyatt said, while he is from New York, he carries the message of the great state of Idaho throughout the world.
Read the in-depth feature articles about the nine 2016 CEO of Influence honorees published along with the May 13 Idaho Business Review.