Double winner Alison Weaver flanked by Publisher Tom Field (left) and Editor Dan Smith. Right is Susan Ayers. Below are Janeson Keeley and David Perry.^
Alison Weaver became the first double winner in the annual Valley Business FRONT Writers Awards Tuesday at the Hunting Hills Country Club. Alison's distinction does not just cover the two-year history of the FRONT, either. It goes back to the Blue Ridge Business Journal, where the awards began more than 15 years ago.
She was named both the Contributor of the Year and finished first in an extremely strong field for Story of the Year for her piece "Frat Boys of ITT," the story of a group of fired fiber optics division professionals who went on to great success in other careers. Several of her cover stories were in the final mix of the competition, but runners up were Susan Ayers ("Real Estate") and Rob Johnson ("Betrayed").
Alison was an assistant editor with the Blue Ridge Business Journal about 15 years ago and later became a copy editor at the local daily paper. She has worked with FRONT virtually from the start.
Susan was selected as the Editor's Choice award winner by Editor Dan Smith who chooses his own criteria each year. This year, he said, "the award goes from Susan's terrific grit. She is a bulldog who won't let go of a story until it's right--in much the same vein as Alison. But she's a newbie, working at this level for less than a year. She has been truly impressive."
David Perry, last year's Contributor of the Year, took the Photograph of the year, a shot of a local banker riding a bicycle that was filled with motion. Janeson Keeley, another rookie who has written 12 columns for FRONT on the Internet, was the Columnist of the Year. Said Smith, "Janeson works this beat like nobody else. She only gets about 500 words an issue, but often interviews as many as six people for a column."
Office Manager and bookkeeper Emily Field was named the Staffer of the Year for her overall contributions to the business--which are enormous--and Jane Dalier, an advertising executive who has taken over social media marketing--won the Marketing Guru Award, as selected by Publisher Tom Field.