2023 Award Winners

2023 Award Winners

See all the videos, produced by Sutherland-Weston Marketing Communications, by clicking here.

Norbert X. Dowd Award – Rick Fournier

“Rick’s selfless commitment and passion for the greater Bangor community epitomizes the key criteria established for a Dowd award winner. His lengthy business and community service is obvious. His character and integrity are impeccable,”  said a nominator.

Others remarked on his decades long career in the banking industry but more importantly his service to the community.  Rick Fournier currently serves as Chair of the Bangor City Council. He has been a council member since 2019.  Rick has contributed his time and leadership to the American Folk Festival, Maine Discovery Museum, Bangor Y, Maine Arts Commission, the Bangor Water District Board and Planning Board.

This is not the first time Rick has been recognized by others for his legacy of leadership. He has been recognized for his contributions to the Bangoy Y with the Lloyd Willey Leadership and G. Pierce Webber awards.  The American Folk Festival honored him with the John Rohman Chair Award and WLBZ recognized Rick with a “2 Those Who Care” award.

A community banker for more than 35 years, Rick retired as a Vice President from Bangor Savings Bank in 2021.  He lives in Bangor, with his wife, Renee.

Large Business of the Year: WS Emerson

W.S. Emerson has been in the wholesale apparel business for more than a century and employs over 50 individuals who contribute to their continued success.

Walter Emerson opened the doors in 1921 on Central Street in Bangor.  W.S. Emerson started with Walter’s first employee, “Uncle” John Vickery.   They sold national and private apparel brands to retailers.  To accommodate their growth, they purchased a building on Exchange Street in Bangor.

In 1950 John Vickery brought his brother, Winslow, into the business.  “Uncle” John Vickery purchased W.S. Emerson in 1952, after the passing of Walter and expanded the business by leasing departments within Robert Miller’s retail stores. In 1965 the company built a new building on Acme Road in Brewer.

A new generation took over after Winslow’s death; Winslow’s sons, John and Russ. In the 1990’s, the success of big-box retailers dramatically changed the business climate.  With the growing demand for customized apparel, they invested in embroidery and screen print equipment and a warehouse expansion was completed in 2003.

Currently W.S. Emerson is in its third generation run by John JR and Betsy Vickery. They continue to improve the business along with their dedicated employees. Celebrating 2023 with a brand refresh.

“Spirit of the Region” Cultural Award: Collins Center for the Arts

“One has only to walk into the Collins Center for the Arts at the end of an ordinary day for any performance and to exit hours later smiling, humming or thinking to realize how important the CCA is,” said a nominator. “We know of no organization that has had a greater influence in integrating the arts into our everyday lives.”

Another person noted, “The Collins Center for the Arts brings events and performers to our region that we would not otherwise have the opportunity to see outside of Boston or Portland.”

Located on the University of Maine campus,  the Richard R. and Anne A. Collins Center for the Arts opened its doors in 1986 and serves as a cultural resource for the region, offering a broad and exceptional selection of programming designed to enrich, educate and entertain. The CCA welcomes more than 100,000 people annually for events and performances.

Home to the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, the CCA is the anchor for the performing arts at the University of Maine and is the perfect place to see arts education in action with symphonic, jazz and vocal concerts performed by music students from the University of Maine School of Performing Arts.

Small Business of the Year Award: Rebecca’s

Considered an “anchor” store in downtown Bangor, Rick and Rebecca Vigue opened Rebecca’s in 1985. Located in a historical building on Main Street, this year round store features thousands of items for sale.

Rick refers to the experience of shopping there as a “treasure hunt”.  Every inch of the store features something to experience, enjoy and purchase.  Few customers leave with nothing in hand!

Rebecca’s takes great pride in supporting Maine businesses by offering a large selection of Maine made products from candles to pottery, soap to specialty foods.  Rick and Becca also take great pride in offering their customers the highest level of service possible.

Rebecca’s is the go-to place for locals seeking a gift for someone else or a treat for themselves.  Visitors can often be found at the store shopping for Maine gifts and souvenirs to take home as a reminder of their visit to the Bangor region and Rebecca’s ships worldwide.

A nominator had this to say, “Despite changing shopping patterns of consumers, Rebecca’s has endured as a gift shopping option for Bangor residents and visitors. Their inventory highlights the very best of our region, and their customer service continues to be outstanding.”

M. Jane Irving Community Service Award: Tanya Emery

Tanya’s work and passion for creating economic opportunity for the Bangor region spans decades and truly reflects the intent of this award, “To advance the cause of economic opportunity to make the Bangor region’s quality of life better, either by helping others directly or by enhancing community or regional assets.”

Tanya began her career in economic development at Eastern Maine Development Corporation working on workforce and business development initiatives.  Next, she served as Deputy Director for the City of Brewer’s Department of Economic and Community Development.  Her next chapter took her to Bangor where she spent nearly twelve years as a Business Development Specialist then as Director of Community and Economic Development.

Tanya played a leading role in many of the city’s projects and initiatives that have led to significant investments and improvements in infrastructure, real estate, and cultural assets.

In 2022, Tanya took her passion for expanding broadband in Maine to assume the role of Economic Development Director for the Maine Connectivity Authority.

Tanya lives in Bangor with her two daughters, where she enjoys being a supermom, biking, traveling and planning her next adventures.

Non-Profit of the Year: Eastern Area Agency on Aging

Founded in 1973, Eastern Area Agency on Aging provides older adults, caregivers and adults with disabilities with access to resources they need to be healthy, engaged and supported in their communities.

In 2021, EAAA distributed 228,360 Meals on Wheels, provided health insurance education to more than 4,200 people and offered 2,780 class hours focused on wellness and enrichment.  166,588 pounds of food was distributed through their Furry Friends Food Bank, to keep older adults and their pets together.

A nominator said, “During the past two years the agency has almost doubled its ability to provide meals to the homebound in our area. Their programs provide relief and assistance to older adults and caregivers. In 2022 the Durgin Center opened in Brewer, providing a place for recreation, classes, meals and socialization.”

Another nominator shared the story of a Meals on Wheels recipient whose wife is nearing the end of her life and can no longer prepare meals.   Thanks to the delivery of meals to their household he can use the time he would have spent preparing meals to be with her, holding her hand and falling asleep together.

Sarah Dubay Professional Service Award: Kristen McAlpine

Kristen McAlpine is the first recipient of this award named for Sarah Dubay who passed away in 2021. Kristen and Sarah were close friends and colleagues and both have made significant contributions to their community.   

Kristen’s nominator had this to say, “We are all fortunate to have Kristen in our community. Like Sarah, she exemplifies the best of Bangor. Sarah challenged us all to be better, and Kristen rises to that challenge every day.”

Kristen has worked for the First National Bank for the last seven years, most recently serving as the Assistant VP for Corporate Engagement and Development. She serves as a Director for the  Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Cross Insurance Center Advisory Board.  She serves on the UMaine Alumni Association, as a Corporator for Northern Light Health and lends her time to the Historic Preservation Commission in the Town of Hampden.

A devoted mom, daughter and Auntie (Kiki), Kristen can often be found on the links at Bangor Muni or with her daughter Lily, exploring the beautiful island of Vinalhaven where she has family.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award: Devil’s Half Acre Distillery

The Devil’s Half Acre Distillery officially opened in Hermon in 2021 with the introduction of their “Jigger and Jones” American Gin, made with juniper berries harvested there.  ​​In a short time, they have grown to be a recognized brand in the spirits industry winning a bronze medal in the San Francisco Spirits Competition and a Silver in the Bar Tender Spirits Award.

The name “Jigger and Jones” was inspired by two New England legends. Fan “Jones”, owned a brothel and legend has it she painted the chimney sky blue so sailors and lumberjacks could easily locate it.  Legendary lumberjack, Albert “Jigger” Johnson, is said to have caught bobcats alive barehanded, and performed this feat in front of audiences.

Led by Matthew Murphy, they are the only military veteran owned and operated distillery in the state. Larry Murphy, Director of Sales and Marketing is also a Veteran.  James Beaupre, Chief Science Officer applies his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maine and is now a highly sought after Spirits Industry Consultant.

Stay up-to-date on all of our events with our FREE email newsletter!

Our Premier Members