Recognition of a job well done rarely motivates a passionate professional but is rewarding no matter what position a person holds. Every year, each region of the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) recognizes 10 deserving professionals with an Industry Award (such as Star Volunteer, Coaches, and Manager of the Year) but only one INDUSTRY EXCELLENCE AWARD for an outstanding professional impacting the community they serve as well as the sport.
For 2021, Loretta Conway is the recipient of that Industry Excellence Award.
Tom Van De Hey, Executive Director for USPTA Intermountain, announced in February 2022 that Loretta Conway is being recognized for her leadership and innovation as Executive Director of Court Sports for Life Foundation, which operates the Steamboat Tennis & Pickleball Center.
Loretta has accomplished what most shared facilities struggle with, supporting the growth of both tennis and pickleball without impeding one or the other. Loretta surrounded herself with like-minded visionaries and helped mastermind the expansion plan to create a separate indoor pickleball facility in Steamboat. The sport of pickleball is growing by leaps and bounds across the country, an astounding 39.4% in the last 2 years, but the sport of tennis holds its own and is growing as well, which is certainly true in Steamboat Springs.
Tom Van De Hey sees great challenges to the coexistence of these sports since they are not played on the same size courts, do not use the same height of nets, and require different boundaries. If pickleball lines are painted on a tennis court, that court can no longer be used for competitive events, just to name one challenge; the noise of the pickleball sound vs. the elegant quiet of tennis is another.
Separate buildings for tennis and pickleball is simply brilliant, and Loretta Conway’s actions have impressed her industry peers and earned her the 2021 Industry Excellence Award. The new building will benefit our community for years to come and allow each sport to thrive.
When asked to share her thoughts on this prestigious award, Loretta had this to say: “I am humbled and honored to receive this award from USPTA Intermountain. It was a USPTA National Conference over 35 years ago that inspired me to become a full-time tennis-certified business professional. I’ve never regretted a minute of that decision. Here in Steamboat Springs, with my wonderful life-partner and husband Bill Conway by my side, as well as our dedicated staff, most awesome board of directors, volunteers and community partners, accepting this award is something I do on behalf of them all!”