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Chamber awards honor business achievement

Peter Murphy of Neokraft Signs (center) was awarded the prestigious Ray Geiger Award. (Photo by David Sysko)

(See photos in Feb. 3, 2011 Digital Edition. Click on the front page of Digital Edition at top left, then click on the Archive tab at top right to find the Feb. 3 edition.)

The Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce presented its esteemed annual awards to local businesses large and small during its 2011 Annual Meeting, held Thursday, January 27 at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston.

The awards recognize the innovation, achievement and business excellence demonstrated by these individuals and businesses during the past year.

The Business Leadership Award for a larger company was presented to The Wal-Mart Distribution Center and General Manager Cathlin Foster. The distribution center has been one of the largest development projects in Maine in the last decade, and its impact on the Lewiston-Auburn employment has been monumental, bringing hundreds of good-paying jobs in the transportation/logistics sector.

In addition Wal-Mart has been a community leader in United Way and many other community endeavors.

The Business Leadership Award for a smaller company was presented to Cassiel’s Salon and Spa. Owner Diane Dubois has overcome a series of obstacles that would have sidetracked someone with lesser drive. But she has persevered and continuously expanded her business to one of the largest of its kind in the area.

Like other successful businesses, Cassiel’s couples growing success with concern and support for the community.

The prestigious Ray Geiger Award was presented to Peter Murphy of Neokraft Signs for his long-standing support for and leadership of The Chamber. After seven years on the Board of Directors, including a term as chairman of the board, Murphy has returned to serve as co-chair of the Regional Image Committee.

Annually for the past decade, he has donated signs for the Scholarship Scramble and helped out with the Grains and Grapes Festival, as well. Whatever The Chamber asked, Peter has always said yes—then gone above and beyond what was expected.

The Community Service Leadership Award was presented to three local banks that have collaboratively started a scholarship challenge to support students at USM at Lewiston Auburn College. Mechanics Savings Bank, Auburn Savings Bank and Androscoggin Bank were recognized for their trend-setting collaboration. Together they put up $24,000 to match amounts to bring scholarships to students in need at LAC.

The Turner Business Award was presented to Accidental Anomalies and President Jon Randall. Accidental Anomalies builds custom staircases and handrails to fit clients’ particular specifications. Their fine work is found in many schools and major businesses in Maine. Employing the latest in laser technologies, the work of Accidental Anomalies has received wide acclaim.

The Poland Business Award was presented to Poland Spring Inn and owner Cyndi Robbins. For almost a century Poland Spring Inn and Resort has been a major tourist destination in Central Maine. Recently the resort has gone through a renaissance under Cyndi’s leadership developing a major new golf practice facility and miniature golf course, as well as Cyndi’s Dockside Restaurant.

The Public Service Leadership Award was presented to Paul Badeau of the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council. Paul was the architect and the major force behind the “L/A It’s Happening Here” campaign, and he recently developed the new Launch L-A initiative.

The Education Award was presented to Southern New Hampshire University for the development of an MBA program in the Lewiston-Auburn area. Seeing a need for the program, SNHU worked collaboratively with Central Maine Community College for a program that started in January.

Two years ago The Chamber introduced a new award, “The Cool Chamber Award,” which is presented to an organization or individual that has made a significant difference in reducing energy usage and preserving resources. The 2011 award was presented to Jim Wellehan of Auburn and Bruce Damon of Lewiston, who have been pushing their municipalities to move ahead with community conservation programs.

The Ken Additon Small Business Advocate award was presented to Women, Work & Community for their pioneering work in developing new entrepreneurs in the communities.

There were three winners of the prestigious President’s Award. The first was awarded to The Bread Shack and owner Dara Reimers for the terrific work she has done in developing a “destination bakery” for our communities.

The second President’s Award went to Jim Day and Nick Glicos, the new owners of Martindale Country Club, for stepping forward and taking over a major community organization that was on the brink of failure.

Then third President’s Award went to Josh Shea of Lewiston Auburn Magazine.

Chamber Board Chair Susan Stacey of Central Maine Community College served as master of ceremonies for the evening.

The prime sponsors of the annual meeting were Oxford Networks and TD Bank. Co-sponsors were Procter & Gamble, Poland Spring Bottling Company, Maine Turnpike Authority and Central Maine Power Company.

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