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Community Members Honored at Chamber Gala

Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Sarah McLean, Chamber President; Reade Brower, Community Person of the Year; Tom Peaco, Chamber Executive Director. Photo by AKZ Photography


The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Year in Review Awards Gala and Annual Meeting took place at the Samoset Resort on Saturday, November 3, 2018. Over 350 Chamber member businesses, elected officials, and local community representatives were in attendance. The Year in Review Awards Gala was an opportunity to recognize those who have made extraordinary contributions to our community in the past year.

All award recipients, except for Community Person of the Year, had been announced in September. The top award of the evening, the coveted Community Person of the Year Award, was presented to Reade Brower of Camden.

Reade Brower is now known throughout the State of Maine for his entrepreneurial spirit, and he’s especially well known in the Midcoast area for keeping our hometown newspapers on the stands each week. As the owner of six daily and 23 weekly newspapers, websites, commercial printing facilities, niche publications and more, his support of local media is truly remarkable.

Brower arrived in Midcoast Maine in 1980 with a background in selling ads and coupon books and a love of newspapers. He founded The Free Press in 1985. He later started Target Marketing, a direct mailing business, and selling that business in 2004 allowed him the freedom to start a successful printing co-op.Reade purchased the assets of Village NetMedia and quickly re-established The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald, and The Republican Journal.

Brower was also given the Community Person of the Year Award in recognition of his efforts to give back to the community, both through non-profit organizations – notably One Community, Many Voices and Go! Malawi – and through private acts of quiet philanthropy.

Reade Brower and his wife, Martha, live in Camden.


Community Person of the Year: Reade Brower on Vimeo


For the first time, the Chamber presented Milestone Anniversary Awards to businesses and organizations celebrating anniversaries in 25-year increments. Honorees celebrating 25 years in 2018 included Café Miranda, Make-A-Wish Maine, North Atlantic Blues Festival, Schooner Bay Taxi, and Welte & Welte, P.A. Michael Good Designs was honored for reaching the 50-years-in-business mark. Morse’s Sauerkraut was recognized for their 100-year anniversary. French & Brawn was vetted for reaching their 150-year milestone in 2018.

Congratulations to the following individuals, businesses and organizations that were celebrated as the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Year in Review Award Winners:

New Building Award – Lincolnville General Store 

This award recognizes a person, organization, or business that builds a new structure, or substantially renovates a structure, that enhances the community image.

A great love for a building and a community, not to mention a significant investment in the heart of Lincolnville Center, has resulted in the re-birth of the Lincolnville General Store just over a year ago.Briar Lyons & John Fishman poured heart and soul into making this store a centerpiece for residents and visitors to Lincolnville, creating a welcoming space to buy local products and chat with neighbors and friends.


New Building Award Lincolnville Gen Store on Vimeo


Beacon AwardPies on Parade

This award recognizes a person, business, or organization that has attracted significant positive regional or national attention to the Penobscot Bay Region, resulting in a rise in local economic activity.

A program of the Historic Inns of Rockland, Pies On Parade is entering its 15th year in late January, bringing hundreds of visitors to our area, filling inns, eating in restaurants, shopping, and enjoying the festivities.In recent years, the event has expanded its geographic impact by incorporating events in Camden as well.Most importantly, Pies On Parade has contributed over $200,000 to the AIO Food Pantry.


Beacon Award Pies on Parade on Vimeo



Environmental Leadership Award – Alison McKellar

The Environmental Leader Award recognizes a person, business, or organization that has worked diligently to protect our environment using sustainable practices.

A member of the Camden Select Board, Alison McKellar has worked tirelessly to advance municipal awareness and actions to protect the local landscape, to encourage best practices, and to research and analyze new methods and technologies to help preserve what makes our region so healthy and livable.She is very visible and active in her leadership of ongoing roadside clean-up efforts in Camden and surrounding communities.


Environmental Leader Award Alison McKellar on Vimeo


Public Improvement Award – Doris and Dennis Norton/Save Oceanside Fields

The Public Improvement Award recognizes a person, organization, or business that makes a major improvement to benefit the general public.

Doris and Dennis Norton of Rockport has been a fixture on the sidelines of sporting events for the former Rockland District High School and now Oceanside High School for decades, following their children and grandchildren.They recently created “Save Oceanside Fields”, with a master plan to update outdoor sports facilities for RSU 13.They began with the baseball and softball fields on Thomaston Street in Rockland, bringing them back to varsity playing conditions by raising well over $100,000 in cash and in-kind support, and completing all the facility work, in the course of a year.


2018 Public Improvement Award: Save Oceanside Fields on Vimeo


Community Service Award – Robin McIntosh

This award recognizes a person, business, or organization whose activities have resulted in a significant community enhancement and/or positive contribution to the quality of life among local community members.

For those familiar with the Midcoast Leadership Academy, the first person who comes to mind is Robin McIntosh.Robin coordinates this program – a series of nine one-day seminars, for existing and emerging business and community leaders in the Midcoast, giving countless hours of her time to lead dozens of local leaders through the program.Robin is also an active community volunteer in Camden and the region.


Robin McIntosh on Vimeo


Innovation in Business Award – Bixby & Co.

This award recognizes a business or organization that produced advancements in a product or business method that has resulted in renewed economic vitality of its business and/or the local community. Recipient demonstrates a proactive and innovative approach toward finding solutions to business challenges and embraces change as an opportunity for growth.

Bixby & Co. is a family owned and operated chocolate confectionary company in Rockland.Founded in 2011, the Bixby team is led by Kate McAleer, with strong support from her parents, Donna & Gordon McAleer.Bixby & Co. crafts organic and non-GMO chocolate confectionary products.In 2017, Bixby & Co. became the first bean-to-bar craft chocolate maker in the state of Maine.


Innovation in Business Award: Bixby & Co. on Vimeo


Small Business of the Year AwardLAUGH loud SMILE big

This award honors a business of fewer than 25 employees that is making a positive contribution to the community and is recognized by peers as a leader in what they do. This business demonstrates a commitment to excellence and has been in business for at least 5 years.

Vicky Murray started LAUGH loud SMILE big in Rockport six years ago, and the business is now legendary locally for their amazing cupcakes and custom party goods.They also sponsor paint nights and other events, and contribute generously of their time, talent, and treasure to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and other local non-profit organizations.


Small Business of the Year Award: Laugh Loud Smile big on Vimeo


Heritage Preservation Award – Schooner Boyd N. Sheppard and Schooner Ladona

This award recognizes a person, business, or organization whose contribution has resulted in the preservation or enhancement of the history, maritime heritage, or quality of place in our communities.

The Chamber recognized the amazing restoration of two legendary local schooners.Katie & Adam McKinlay purchased the former Isaac H. Evans last year, conducting significant renovations while returning her to her original name – the Boyd N. Sheppard, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991.Noah & Jane Barnes, and JR Braugh, purchased the Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch, fully restored it, and returned her to her original name as well – the Schooner Ladona.Both vessels are part of the unique treasure that is our Schooner fleet in the Camden-Rockland Region.


Heritage Preservation Award on Vimeo



The evening also included a social hour with hors d’oeuvres and cash bar, a plated dinner served by the Samoset staff, and a Gala After Hours celebration with live music provided by the local band, The Right Track.

The Year in Review Awards were created by Maggi Blue of Warren, and the Community Person of the Year Award was created by Richard Remsen of the Foundry & Glass Studio in West Rockport. Proforma Marketing Essentials of Camden produced the Milestone Anniversary Awards. Flowers by Hoboken of Rockland created the floral centerpieces. Gala photography was provided by Aidan Kaczynski/AKZ Photography of Camden. Video productions were created by John Viehman and Geoffrey Parker.

Several businesses provided leading sponsorship support for the Gala: Camden National Bank (Gold sponsor), Eaton Peabody (Gala After Hours sponsor), LCI (Wine sponsor), and Ballou & Associates (Honoree Ticket sponsor). In addition, Courier Publications/Village Soup, Fiore Artisan Olive Oil & Vinegars, Wallace Events, and the Samoset Resort were recognized as Event Supporters.

Click here to view all the photos from the Gala.