Riverton City Announces 2023 Business and Community Award Recipients

Riverton City and the South Valley Chamber announced the recipients of the following awards on Wednesday, February 8, 2023: The Apex Award, Business Woman of the Year, Business Man of the Year, Business of the Year, Excellence in Public Safety Award, Outstanding City Employee Award and the Mayor's Service Award.

The Apex Award
Michelle Zarlengo
Cookie Advantage Utah
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Michelle Zarlengo is the owner of Cookie Advantage, a company that helps businesses show their appreciation to clients and employees by creating custom branded gift boxes. Not only has this helped the businesses they work with, but it has allowed her the opportunity to meet and build relationships with leaders in many different industries. Michelle has been a member of the South Valley Chamber’s Riverton Business Committee for two years and currently serves as an ambassador who helps other members learn about the resources the chamber has to offer. Michelle is grateful for the chance she has to teach her two kids the importance of good work ethic and showing appreciation.

Business Woman of the Year
Rhonda Lopez
Nuttall's Sewing Centers
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Rhonda Lopez is the owner of Nuttall’s Sewing Center, a company that came to Riverton in 2008. She spent 12 years as a business partner of Nuttall’s before buying the business she helped build. Nuttall’s Sewing Center has consistently led the nation as the top Bernina dealer, one of the top sewing machine brands on the market, and is among the top dealers for Brother, Handi Quilter and Babylock machines. Rhonda owns four Nuttall’s Sewing Centers across northern Utah, but the Riverton location is the first building she chose to own instead of lease. Heading into her 25th year as the owner, Rhonda credits her success as a businesswoman to her parents for teaching her to work hard at a young age and encouraging her to surround herself with the best people.

Business Man of the Year
Pete McNeil
McNeil's Auto Care
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Pete McNeil owns McNeil’s Auto Care, a full-service auto care facility that specializes in check engine light diagnostics, suspension work, maintenance and more. McNeil’s opened its Riverton shop in 2019 and will be celebrating its 40th year in Utah this year. In 2020, McNeil’s won National Shop of the Year by beating out 16,000+ other shops nationwide. Pete says the most rewarding part of owning McNeil’s is working with their dedicated team of 48 employees and seeing them progress within their trade. Though the industry can be challenging to work in, he feels privileged to work with dedicated individuals who quickly solve problems and provide excellent care for their customers.

Business of the Year
Delton Bowling
Owners: Mark and Erin Orr
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Delton Bowling has operated in Riverton since 2014. As a new business that had all momentum stopped by the pandemic, owners Mark and Erin Orr credit the community for bringing Delton Bowling back stronger than ever. Today, Delton Bowling employs 45 employees at its Riverton location and serves as a gathering place for the community by offering bowling, laser tag, an arcade and food. They have been able to give back to local schools and organizations by participating in several ways, including donating to silent auctions, fundraisers and Silver Rush, as well as hosting a fundraiser for South Valley Services that has collectively raised over $60,000 for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Delton Bowling has been a family-owned business since 1958.

Excellence in Public Safety Award
Richard Clayton
Unified Fire Authority
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Richard Clayton has been with the United Fire Authority for over 19 years and has taught Fire Science and EMT courses since 2007. In his 16 years teaching at Utah Valley University and three years at the Jordan Academy for Technology and Careers, Richard has been able to teach over 1,000 students. He enjoys the challenge of showing students who may struggle in a traditional school setting a different way to learn. In last year’s Health Occupational Students of America high school EMT competition, he was the instructor for five of the top 10 teams in the state, one of which went on to finish top 10 in the international competition held in Nashville, Tennessee. Richard was awarded the Utah Emergency Medical Services Course Coordinator of the Year award in 2022.

Outstanding City Employee Award
Aubrey Merrill
Irrigation Specialist
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Aubrey Merrill is an Irrigation Specialist who is approaching eight years as a Riverton City employee. Her primary responsibilities involve replacing out-of-date irrigation controllers and installing new, cutting-edge smart control clocks that help conserve water. Aubrey takes care of over 70 acres of parks and greenspace while also working with other park staff to prepare and maintain graves and cemetery amenities. She enjoys working outside and views Riverton’s parks not just as greenspace, but as a place for the community to enjoy and recreate. As a mother of five and grandmother of two, she loves to see families enjoy the same parks she works so hard to maintain.

Mayor’s Service Award
Gospel Hope Church
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Gospel Hope Church has been a leader in providing service at Riverton City events, namely Riverton Town Days, for several years. Among many other things, the dozens of teenage and adult volunteers distribute approximately 8,000 free water bottles to parade spectators, scrape candy off the sidewalks and collect all the garbage after the parade. They do so with smiles as they express gratitude for the opportunity to serve the community. The service offered by volunteers from Gospel Hope Church at these Riverton City events allows residents to enjoy clean areas as they celebrate special occasions and create lasting memories.

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