“David and Grace Gallagher are Finalist for RTD Person of the Year” – Dec 9th
The Richmond Times-Dispatch named the Richmond 2015 team — the group behind September’s bike races that brought international attention to the region — its inaugural Person of the Year on Wednesday.
The team that put on the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, along with 39 other honorees and a dozen Hall of Fame inductees, will be featured in the December edition of Discover Richmond. The magazine will be included in home-delivered copies of Monday’s Times-Dispatch.
During a ceremony that drew more than 280 people Wednesday to the John Marshall Ballrooms downtown, Times-Dispatch President and Publisher Thomas A. Silvestri said the Richmond 2015 team’s accomplishment stood out when the committee looked at the nominees.
“The event spoke for itself, when we looked back at 2015,” Silvestri said, calling the nine-day event the “signature accomplishment” of 2015.
September’s races drew about 645,000 spectators, according to a preliminary estimate, far exceeding initial crowd predictions. Richmond 2015 says the number counts fans each day they attended the races.
Other honorees ranged from elected leaders to academics to those in the nonprofit sphere. The common theme was they worked to make our community better during the year.
Richmond 2015 members said they were honored to be selected for the award.
“I’m thrilled for our Richmond 2015 team, and, frankly, thrilled for the whole community,” said Wilson H. Flohr Jr., the organization’s CEO.
He said the team is also looking at ways to build on its success.
“When Richmond does such a great job of creating an event, especially one of this magnitude,” there’s an excellent opportunity to build on the energy, he said.
Richmond 2015 Chief Operating Officer Tim Miller said ideas are being bandied about a “legacy event,” but what materializes will come down to what the community wants to see.
“It’s a question of whether or not the community wants a legacy event,” he said.
Flohr also praised the group’s co-chairs: Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones; Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Resources Inc.; Gov. Terry McAuliffe; and U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner.
“The mayor stepped forward early on and said, ‘We want to bring this to our community,’ “ he said.
And Flohr praised the regional collaboration that allowed the race to happen.
“The city, Henrico, Hanover and the commonwealth worked very closely together to pull this thing off,” he said.
Organizing the event also required effectively working with a host of other groups, including federal authorities, he said.
“It’s very humbling to win this in light of everyone else who’s been nominated,” Miller said.
Readers submitted hundreds of award nominees over the summer. A committee drawn from across The Times-Dispatch made the final decision.