36th Annual MDA Award Winners

36th Annual MDA Award Winners Showcase People Who Give Back to our Community

John Engen Named Dan Cederberg Downtown of the Year Posthumously


The Missoula Downtown Association held it’s 36th annual MDA Membership Meeting & Awards Banquet on January 18. Twelve nominees and six award winners were highlighted for their dedicated service and support of Downtown Missoula and the MDA.


Former Mayor John Engen was named the Dan Cederberg Downtowner of the Year, posthumously, for his unwavering dedication, commitment, and focus on Downtown throughout his career. Named in honor of local attorney Dan Cederberg who served on the MDA Board of Directors for more than 30 years and continues to serve on the board of the Missoula Downtown Foundation (MDF) and the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID). Engen was honored for his commitment to making Missoula better for all Missoulians. Long before he was a City Councilman and Mayor, he was a Downtown business owner, employee, and resident who gave back to his community throughout his life.


The Board Member of the Year was awarded to Bob McGowan from Rocky Mountain School of Photography. McGowan served on the MDA Board for six years and was President in 2020. Last year he served on five committees, as well as the Downtown Missoula Partnership Board. The other nominee was Heidi Starrett from Missoula Broadcasting, who has served on the MDA Board for 15 years.



The Committee Member of the Year was awarded to Ellen Buchanan from the Missoula Redevelopment Agency. Buchanan serves as the chair of four MDA committees: Downtown Master Plan Implementation Team, River City Roots Festival, Winter BrewFest and Garden City BrewFest. She also serves on the Downtown Advocacy Committee and on the Downtown BID Board of Directors. She is a dedicated advocate and leader for Missoula, and her contributions to the Downtown organization are incredible!




The Volunteer of the Year went to Ruth Williams from the University of Montana. Williams coordinates and oversees the Wine Bar at Winter BrewFest and Garden City BrewFest every year, and she volunteers at River City Roots Festival. The other nominee was Christine Patton from First Interstate Bank.



The Downtown Employee of the Year was Kyle Watkins from Zip Beverage. As a fourth-generation family owner of the beverage distribution company, Kyle Watkins has contributed to the recovery of Downtown community festivals and events coming out of the pandemic. Zip Beverage serves all the Downtown bars, grocery stores, and restaurants. The other nominee was Von Richter from Red’s Bar.




The Downtown Business of the Year was Dick Anderson Construction. The local contractor was honored for its incredibly generous and timely support of the Caras Park Improvement Project last summer. Dick Anderson Construction and its in-house Apprenticeship Program coordinated and installed the new shade canopy system over the amphitheater seating, free of charge. In addition, employee Travis Neil serves on the MDF Board of Directors, and Jamie Mitchell serves on the MDA Membership Committee, and the company provides significant and generous support to the Downtown Foundation’s fundraising campaigns and the Association’s community festivals. Over the last seven years, Dick Anderson Construction has built the Missoula Mercantile, the AC Hotel, the Missoula Public Library, and The Reed in Downtown Missoula. The other nominees were Cranky Sam Public House and Glacier Wealth Management.


“Downtown Missoula is a special place because of the people,” said Bob Burns, Market President of Stockman Bank, and incoming President of the MDA Board of Directors.

“The people who are nominated for awards each year give an incredible amount of time, expertise, and oftentimes funding for projects and programs. Giving back to our community is an important part of Missoula’s culture, and all the nominees have given a tremendous amount to this organization. We are grateful for their contributions and the ability to honor them, especially the late Mayor John Engen.”

The Downtown Awards Program was created by the MDA in 1986 and expanded in 2004 and again in 2014. Nominees are submitted by MDA members and voted on by the MDA Board of Directors.

Created in 1987, the Missoula Downtown Association is a private, non-profit, business association dedicated to promoting, supporting, and enhancing the vitality of Downtown for everyone. The MDA serves nearly 550 business members and is a partner with the Downtown BID and the Missoula Downtown Foundation under the umbrella of the Downtown Missoula Partnership.

For more information on the Downtown Awards Program or to schedule an interview, contact the Downtown Missoula Partnership via phone (406-543-4238) or email ([email protected]).


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