National Ability Center executive director Gail Loveland honored |

National Ability Center executive director Gail Loveland honored

Gail Loveland, executive director of the National Ability Center, has been nominated as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Utah region. (Courtesy of the National Ability Center)

Since becoming executive director of the National Ability Center in 2010, Gail Loveland has made it her mission to expand the center’s offerings to have a positive effect on more lives.

Loveland is receiving recognition for her efforts. She has been nominated as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Utah region. According to a press release, the award honors those who "demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in areas such as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their business and communities."

According to the release, the National Ability Center has grown to serve 40 percent more people in Loveland’s nearly five-year tenure. The center’s operating budget has also grown.

"My goal as a leader is to surround myself with folks who’ve got amazing ideas and creative spirits and innovative thought processes," Loveland said. "I just want to learn from them, and I’m thankful that I have that because we can bring all of it together and bring some really cool programs to our community here."

Loveland found out about the nomination earlier this month. She said it was a gratifying honor — though one she’s sharing with everyone else at the center.

"I’m certainly thrilled and so thankful to be in this great town of Park City," she said. "I came here for this job, and to see I was able to bring some innovative and creative ideas here has been wonderful. It’s as much of a celebration for the National Ability Center as it was for me — all the families, staff, volunteers, donors and our community that we get to work with."

Loveland came to the NAC in 2010, leaving a position with the International Paralympic Committee. The lure of the possibilities the NAC presented were too much to pass up. In the time since, she has focused on expanding the center’s programs for children and military veterans.

This summer, for instance, the center is partnering with the Wounded Warrior Project to provide activities such as a mountain biking program for veterans.

"That’s really the stuff I’m most proud of," she said. "It’s when that mom says, ‘I never thought my child would do that,’ or that veteran says, ‘This is the first time I’ve been out of my basement in a year of the first time I’ve slept a full night of sleep because I feel so safe here.’"

Loveland also credited the Park City community for how the center has flourished.

"We’re surrounded by such a welcoming community who really embrace people with different abilities," she said. "I think that’s unique to this community. They’re used to folks of all abilities, so that doesn’t faze them. It’s a welcoming environment."

The winner of the award will be announced in a ceremony in Salt Lake City this summer.

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