Businessman And Woman Of The Year Awarded

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Cari Day, Chris Wolf and Kaibab Industries were named Payson's Businesswoman, Businessman and Business of the Year.

The 2007 Business Awards ceremony -- the first of its kind -- was hosted by the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation to honor the businesses and individuals who have played key roles in the economic development of Northern Gila County.

The awards are designed to honor and recognize those who have contributed to Payson and the surrounding communities, by providing employment, critical services and products.

Each business or individual being recognized was nominated on the basis of three or more distinguishing attributes.

The criteria: Consideration of each candidate's contributions that positively impact or stimulate the economy of Northern Gila County; contributions made by businesses or individuals to the area's economic vitality, either through the production of its goods/services or the impact to the economy by such things as creating or retaining jobs in Northern Gila County or bringing a significant investment from outside the area or helping to develop the work force; community involvement, which included trade or business associations, as well as support of local community-based associations.

With each of these criteria in mind, the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation reviewed the nominees. As a result of this review, the most outstanding among the outstanding were determined.

Cari Day has been a restaurateur in Payson for the last eight years, opening one of Payson's most prized gems, Macky's Grill. Through the operation of this fine restaurant, Day employs about 37 individuals, provides great food and service that attracts visitors as they drive into town.

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Cari Day

Macky's also provides a place for locals to meet and eat.

Day has also played an active role in the community through the School Beautification program, which is an event that rounds up other local businesses to help donate funds or materials to beautify Payson schools.

Day said she would not have been named Businesswoman of the Year if it weren't for the management team at Macky's, which includes her husband, Greg Day and their manager, Kristy Ulmer, along with herself.

Chris Wolf, the CEO of Payson Regional Medical Center, was unable to be at the May 8 awards luncheon because he was accepting an award naming PRMC as one of the top 100 small hospitals in the United States. That award, in part, is due to the efforts of all the PRMC staff and in part, to the efforts and abilities of Wolf.

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Chris Wolf

He has been very effective in recruiting medical professionals to the region. Good medical services translate to solid economic development, as well as providing a better quality of life for residents.

Payson Regional Medical Center has chosen to invest millions into the community and into the equipment and education that provides better diagnostics and care to residents of the Payson region, now and in the future.

"Receiving the Businessman of the Year award is an amazing and very humbling recognition for our team at Payson Regional Medical Center, and I accept this award on behalf of nearly 300 teammates that make my job a delight," Wolf said.

"When you do work that has a clear purpose and is worthwhile, you can make a positive impact on the people you love and serve.

"The opportunity to live life to the fullest is wonderful, and to do it in a community like Payson is an extra blessing."

Kaibab Industries has been a business icon in rural Arizona for many generations, operating originally in the forest production industry and harvesting timber.

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The Whiting gasoline station owned by Kaibab Industries.

Kaibab Industries has maintained and sustained employment in Payson for nearly 50 years. It was the primary employer in Payson when the sawmill was operating.

Kaibab Industries has maintained a significant presence in Payson not only through the operation of its sawmill from 1958 to 1992, but also through the development of the Sawmill Crossing retail area, the Sawmill Theatres, and the Whiting Brothers gasoline station.

The economic impact of Kaibab Industries on Northern Gila County is significant, though impossible to calculate.

Kaibab Industries currently employs 42 individuals in its various business operations in the Payson area alone. It has also been a member of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce ever since its inception. It contributes greatly to help nonprofit organizations achieve their goals and benefit the people of Payson.

"It is the people who run our businesses here that have made them a success," Gordon Whiting, vice president of Kaibab Industries, said. "We really appreciate the award and are honored by it.

"From the time we bought the sawmill from the Owens brothers, until the early 1990s, we were a forest products company. When the mill closed, we were faced with a challenge, deciding what to do with this property in the middle of town.

"After talking with people and the town leaders, we learned a theater is what everyone wanted. We could not find anyone willing to come here, so we built and run the theater ourselves and added retail and rental space to go with it."

In addition to owning and operating the Sawmill Theatres, Kaibab Industries carries on the family gas station business with its Whiting Station and has also taken over Club U.S.A.

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