RMLA recognizes the Best of the Best!

2020 Award Summary

This past year the RMLA Board had every intention on honoring the 2019-2020 RMLA award winners in person. And as we know that - along with the conference - did not exactly materialize.  Yet, awards were given and the recipients will be recognized at the next in-person conference.

The prestigious Bob E. Lesage Award is given to individuals that have worked tirelessly within the ropeway industry for their entire life. And the 2020 recipient has done exactly that!  Joe Gmuender at a very early age started designing 16 sheave towers and has been an avid skier and designer ever since. His contributions are so long it is difficult to list, from ANSI B77 standards work, insurance inspections, to manufacturing.  Not to mention the many years of designing ropeways where his Professional Engineering seal is stamped on drawings. Joe continues to be a huge asset and trusted expert to our industry.

The remaining award winners are also devoted and well deserving. Contributions to the Industry include Nicki Cochrell, retired from the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, and Charles Peterson from Tramway Engineering. Both of these individuals have been instrumental in our industry. Nicki was the go-to person for issues and information in the largest ski state. Her calm demeanor and accuracy will never be replaced.  Charles influenced ropeway safety and design throughout the United States, as an ANSI B77 leader, inspector, and designer as well for many years. His PE stamp is scattered on drawings all over the country which is a remarkable career.

The Maintenance and Operations Persons of the Year also need to be noted. This past season numerous individuals were nominated and RMLA had difficult decisions. The Maintenance Persons of the Year were recognized by individual resorts as stellar, by all experts. We’d like to recognize Carson Busch of Purgatory and Dave Faulk, formerly of Crested Butte as the 2020 recipients. The final award is presented to an individual from Purgatory Resort as well, the Operations Person of the Year was presented to Dex Piz who was, and continues to be, an invaluable resource with devotion and passion for guests and Purgatory as a whole.

Congratulations to all of the award winners and thank you for your support and service to the ski industry!

The RMLA Awards program
has been suspended and will resume in conjunction with the next in-person event.


2020 Robert E. Lesage Award

Recipient - Joe Gmuender

Joe Gmuender