Recipients recognized for outstanding leadership and dedication to the organization
SCOTTSDALE, AZ – The Fiesta Bowl selected its Volunteer of the Year award winners for the 2018-19 season, honoring six outstanding individuals for their service and dedication to the organization and the community. The recipients awarded from the Fiesta Bowl volunteer base of over 3,000 general volunteers, Yellow Jacket Committee, Ambassadors and Board of Directors.
Last week, Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona joined the organization as presenting partner for the Fiesta Bowl’s extensive volunteer program.
“All of our volunteers are dedicated workers and outstanding people who give so much to our organization and the community. These honorees go the extra mile to ensure the Fiesta Bowl achieves success and is a leader in our industry,” said Steve Leach, Chair of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. “I am proud to work with these individuals to make a difference in hundreds of thousands of lives.”
Each year the Fiesta Bowl honors six volunteers who have enhanced the organization through their commitment, dedication and extraordinary efforts in a variety of areas. Each award is selected based on evaluations and nominations from Fiesta Bowl volunteers, board members and staff.
“The Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors, Yellow Jacket Committee, Ambassadors and Volunteers are the foundation for our organization and are the reason we are able to do all that we do,” said Mike Nealy, Executive Director of the Fiesta Bowl. “We are fortunate to have a volunteer base filled with hard-working people who dedicate their time and effort to serving the community with us.”
The George Leonard Rookie of the Year is presented to a Yellow Jacket Committee member in the first or second year who made an immediate impact on the Fiesta Bowl through volunteering and fundraising. As a first-year committee member, Sean Ward volunteered at nearly every Fiesta Bowl event while serving in leadership roles for the Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, Honeywell Aerospace Challenge and on the media operations committee. Outside of the Fiesta Bowl, Ward is the Vice President of Business Banking for BNC National Bank and resides in Phoenix with his family.
The Fiesta Bowl Chair of the Year Award goes to the event chair who provides significant leadership and exemplary effort. As chair of the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl pregame parties, Walker Crowson was critical in the execution of this year’s Fan Fest and APS Stadium Club. A Yellow Jacket since 2016, Crowson is a Phoenix resident and Partner at Snell & Wilmer and served as president of the Sun Bowl.
The Outstanding Fiesta Bowl Committee Member of the Year is awarded to an active Yellow Jacket Committee member who served on multiple committees and provided support and dedication to several events. Kirk McClure was instrumental in the success of many Fiesta Bowl events this season, chairing the Wells Fargo Fiesta Bowl Par 3 Challenge, serving as officials’ liaison during the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl and was a VIP Host during game week. Additionally, McClure, a director at Kitchell, served as a sales coach to the committee to help the committee exceed its fundraising goals. McClure resides in Scottsdale.
The Randi Knappenberger Ambassador of the Year Award is given to a dedicated ambassador who embodies the Fiesta Bowl spirit in her dedication to the organization. As the ambassador chair for the Wells Fargo Fiesta Bowl Par 3 Challenge and Youth Football Clinic, Nicole Barrington impacted the Fiesta Bowl in many ways. Barrington is the Director of Events for Yello and lives in Peoria.
Named after one of the nine founders of the Fiesta Bowl, the Glenn Hawkins Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes a volunteer who demonstrates the same characteristics on which the Fiesta Bowl was founded – dedication, enthusiasm and the desire to create an unmatched experience. A volunteer since 2009, Anthony Jefferson has dedicated himself to the Fiesta Bowl organization for the last 10 years. Jefferson, who has volunteered at almost every event, lives in Mesa and is known for his contagious smile and unbridled enthusiasm.
The Frank Snell Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is chosen by the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors and Life Directors to honor a member of the Fiesta Bowl family who has served the organization for more than 12 years. Having attended every Fiesta Bowl game since 1973, Rob Drake is a three-time chair of the Alumni Hospitality Committee, served two terms on Executive Council, was chair of the Life Member Committee and a two-time Media Operations Committee Chair. A current member of the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl field patrol team and captain of postgame locker rooms, Drake’s deepest impact is on the Media Operations Committee, sharing the experience with his two daughters. While Drake joined the Yellow Jacket Committee in 1998, the Drake family’s association with the Fiesta Bowl dates back to the early 1980s. Drake resides in Phoenix with his wife.
With a base of over 3,000 dedicated individuals, the Fiesta Bowl volunteers help to put on the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, the Cheez-It Bowl and the many community events that the Fiesta Bowl puts on throughout the year. Through the season’s events, the Fiesta Bowl has contributed more than $12.5 million back to the Arizona community in the last eight years, including $2.5 million in each of the 2018-19 and 2017-18 seasons.
ABOUT THE FIESTA BOWL ORGANIZATION
The Fiesta Bowl is a world-class community organization that executes innovative experiences, drives economic growth and champions charitable causes, inspiring pride in all Arizonans. As a nonprofit organization, it believes in the importance of community outreach and service. Through charitable giving, the organization strives to enhance Arizona nonprofit organizations that contribute to the success of communities through youth, sports and education. Since 1971, the Fiesta Bowl has worked to increase its footprint across the state and work to benefit Arizonans year round, during and outside of bowl season.