2017 Award Winners

We will be honoring these winners at our 2017 Annual Awards Dinner.  For more information, visit our event page.

Norbert X. Dowd Award - Woodrow Cross

Woodrow has long been an advocate for both business and employee development in the Bangor region and has successfully grown the insurance agency from a sole entrepreneur to a multi office, multi state organization with over 800 employees. Mentoring new hires of all ages, supporting professional growth and encouraging community involvement have always been his business practice. A strong work ethic, integrity, business acumen, perseverance, and professionalism are but a few of the strengths we most admire in him. He is a long standing member of his church and for decades a supporter of numerous civic and non-profit organizations in and around Bangor.

“We are thrilled to recognize Mr. Cross’s many years of leadership, mentorship, and many remarkable contributions to the greater Bangor community”, Deb Neuman, President of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.

Celebrating his 100th birthday on December 29, 2016, Mr. Cross truly exemplifies what it means to be a leader. Through hard work, determination, compassion, and pure drive Mr. Cross laid the foundation for what has become a well-known brand throughout New England and beyond. The patriarch of the family, he is a true Mainer at his core. A World War II veteran, he became a small business owner while raising a family of 5 with his wife Janette.

The selection criteria typically take into account the honoree's achievement over the course of his or her career.



Business of the Year: Dennis Paper and Food Service Company

Rich in history, they have been serving Central and Eastern Maine with pride for generations.  100% employee owned, Dennis Paper & Food Service is a broadline distributor offering more than 9,000 brand name and local products. They are dedicated to value, service, quality and believe that local, independent businesses are an important part of the economy.  â€śDennis Paper and Food Service has based its success on treating their customers and their employees like family. The Dennis Family has served our region for over 100 years focusing on community and customer satisfaction, and they are now establishing a standard of excellence through employee ownership” -Dr. Lee Speronis, Husson University College of Business.




Catherine Lebowitz Award for Public Service: Benjamin Breadmore

As the Town Manager and Code Enforcement Office for the Town of Holden, he is in the unique position to bring a project from inception to completion. “While relatively young in years, his dedication to our community, progressive leadership style, openness to new ideas, work-ethic, supportive personality, accessibility and reasonableness resembles a town manager decades older,” said Rep. Chris Geeley.  


Ben personifies the definition of an individual from the public sector who has advanced the cause of economic opportunity in not only the community for which we works, but for the great Bangor region.


M. Jane Irving Community Service Award: Maine Troop Greeters

A non-profit group of veterans and men and women supporting our armed forces serving overseas who greet troops that arrive at Bangor International Airport. Since they began greeting flights in May of 2003, the Maine Troop Greeters have greeted over 7,417 flights with more than 1,499,277 service members and 403 military dogs. “The Maine Troop Greeters embody the spirit of the M. Jane Irving Community Service Award by helping others and directly impacting the quality of life for our region and beyond”, Nelson Durgin - Bangor City Councilor.



Non-Profit of the Year: Penobscot Theatre

The only year-round professional non-profit theatre in Northern Maine, Penobscot Theatre Company strengthens the cultural fabric of our community by illuminating the human condition, inspiring imagination, uniting diverse people in shared experiences, deepening understanding, and developing empathy. In crafting each season, the artistic team seeks to create a rich tapestry of drama and musical theatre, weaving the new and familiar together and infusing each production with fresh energy, outstanding talent, and innovation.  Annually PTC employs more than 120 professional theatre artists and technicians, including 12 full-time employees.



Arthur Comstock Professional Service Award: Michael Ballesteros

Mike has helped to lead a rebuilding and rebirth of the Bangor Community Council through a collaborative effort with the Chamber and the leadership of the Affiliated Programs that has resulted in a transition from possible fragmentation to consensus action around new leadership and participation in the Community Council. Mike has exemplified the work of Arthur Comstock in giving so generously and so effectively to the Bangor Chamber and the Bangor Community Council.  Mike is also a past Chamber Board chair of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.



Bion and Dorain Foster Entrepreneurship Award: Abe & Heather Furth

A young, creative husband and wife team who have steadily grown their business portfolio from one restaurant in Orono - Woodman’s Grill, to now having three businesses in Bangor and Orono.  The have also rehabbed some amazing spaces along the way. “They continue to do meticulous work building sustainable local businesses that employ our people, make our communities more fun and interesting, and save our old buildings in the process,”  Tanya Emery, Community and Economic Development Department Director for the City of Bangor.