Youth leader

Six people honored at the Mayor’s Young Leader Awards

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – During the 8th annual Mayor’s Young Leader Awards, Mayor John Suthers recognized six people for their extraordinary efforts in the Colorado Springs community.

Launched in 2015 to celebrate young professionals aged 40 and under, the 2021 winners were selected from 27 finalists in five categories, including the “Military Young Leader Community Impact Award”.

“The quality of the work presented by this year’s Mayor’s Young Leaders Award finalists was exceptional,” said Mayor Suthers. “I am always satisfied with the young professionals who serve Colorado Springs in all sectors and I am grateful for their contributions to strengthening our community.”

The 2021 winners are:

Young Military Leaders Community Impact Award: Cpt. Ethan Heckmann | UCCS

Captain Heckmann, a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and the Ranger School, is an assistant professor of military science at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in support of their Reserve Officer Training Corps program, where he serves as the primary instructor for junior cadets. Cpt. Heckmann was instrumental in the graduation of 31 cadets in the United States Army and serves as the operations officer for UCCS ROTC Mountain Ranger Battalion S3. He also volunteers at the Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center on a weekly basis, is a cellist in the volunteer band of the UCCS Symphony Orchestra, and supports The Success Collective, a professional group of women small business owners.

Community and economic impact: AJ Frasca IV | Panino’s restaurants
Frasca is a third generation restaurateur for Panino’s Restaurants, carrying on the 47-year legacy of his grandparents who began making the one-of-a-kind panino on North Tejon Street in the 1970s. COVID-19, Frasca has led the local food industry by pivoting business models towards gift baskets, take-out and giveaways. He has received recognition and funding from the BarStool Sports National Fund for these efforts and volunteers for several Western heritage organizations and events.

Creative Industry: Frère Chance | Four by Brother Luck and Lucky Dumpling

As the award-winning chef and owner of the Four by Brother Luck and Lucky Dumpling, Luck is a top chef in Colorado Springs’ food scene. His knowledge of global cuisine has earned him several accolades and television appearances, including appearances on Food Network’s “Chopped” and winning his episode of “Beat Bobby Flay”. Luck advocates for mental health awareness through his social media campaign #NoLucksGiven and has launched his “No Lucks Given Podcast” which focuses on entrepreneurship and self-improvement. He also supervises military cooks.

Education: Corey Williams | Harrison School District 2

As chairman of the Harrison School District 2 Education Council, Williams works with the council to ensure equitable outcomes and access to learning for all in the Southeast Colorado Springs School District. Under Williams’ leadership during the pandemic, he continued to distribute food, set up free before and after school child care, started adult learning programs, and helped provide laptops. and Internet access for distance learning. He regularly volunteers at food distribution and back-to-school events, advocates for the rights of community members in Southeast Colorado Springs through legislation, and has helped promote and implement the ” District Dakota ‘Promise.

Sports, health and wellness: Dayton Romero | Senior services Silver key

Romero is the Director of Senior Health and Wellness Services at Silver Key Senior Services, where he leads the organization’s efforts to care for seniors in El Paso County through the management of cases, senior housing, mental and behavioral health and nutrition. He helped launch new companionship and guardianship programs and helped run the comprehensive elder care program. Romero is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Innovations in Aging Collaborative, Chairs the Colorado Coalition for Elder Rights and Abuse Prevention and Pikes Peak Elder Abuse Coalition, and is a member of the El Paso County Adult Protection Team. , Community Ethics Advisory Committee, Age-Friendly Committee of Colorado Springs, Elder Abuse Research Team, and Community Advisory Committee for a Single Point of Entry.

Technology and sustainability: Natasha Principal | Exponential impact

As Executive Director of Exponential Impact, Main helps grow tech startups in Colorado Springs, providing them with the resources and expertise to succeed. As part of her job, she launched the Survive and Thrive program a few weeks after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program provided more than $ 2.3 million in direct emergency support to struggling businesses and saved more than 1,000 jobs and $ 156 million in economic spinoffs in its first year. She is also a member of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC Economic Development Advisory Committee and provides volunteer mentorship to small business owners.

More information on the Mayor’s Young Leader Awards, including a list of all 2021 finalists and alumni, can be found at

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