Annual Awards Dinner 2019 – Honoree Videos

Oh what a night it was as more than 1,100 people joined us to celebrate this region and the individuals, businesses and organizations that are making this region the best place to call home! It was remarkable to see a full room at the Cross Insurance Center as the awardees were recognized and received their “Bunyans”. Sutherland Weston, once again, produced incredible and entertaining videos to tell the stories of our award winners.

Thanks to our presenting sponsor, Machias Savings Bank for recognizing the many nonprofit organizations who are positively impacting our region. After a series of votes, the Ronald McDonald House of Maine received an award of $5,000 from Machias Savings Bank! Congratulations to all of the nominees and thank you for the great work you do! The evening kicked off with a fantastic reception and wrapped up with a disco dance party as “Motor Booty” took the stage. What a great way to celebrate a great evening!

There are so many people to thank for making this years event a success! It would not have been possible without our sponsors, the hard working staff at the Cross Insurance Center and our student interns and volunteers from Husson University. Ric Tyler, you rocked it once again! Congratulations to our award winners and thank you for being part of a great celebration of our region.

The Annual Awards Dinner is the Chamber’s premier event, uniting the business community for a lavish ceremony that includes dinner, guest speakers, and presentations. Recognition is given to area leaders who have made a significant impact on the Bangor region, the most prestigious of which is the Norbert X. Dowd Award. The dinner highlights the year’s successes for the Chamber, as well as our vision for the future.

Missed the event? Here are photos from the evening.

2019 Annual Awards Dinner & Breakfast Honorees and Videos

Norbert X. Dowd Award……………………………………………………….Michael Aube

Our most prestigious honor recognizes a member of the business community whose commitment of time, resources and talent has made the Bangor region a better place to pursue one’s livelihood and dreams.  

Since moving to Bangor in 1981, Michael Aube has been a dynamic force, helping to shape the economy of the region. He and his wife, Marian, moved here from Washington, D.C. after accepting the position of director for the Eastern Maine Development Corporation. Aube utilized connections he made on “The Hill” to help promote economic initiatives within the Bangor Region.

EMDC, established in 1967, is a nonprofit organization that provides business, community and workforce services to the Bangor Region. EMDC promotes the economic influence of the Greater Bangor Area through a variety of programs, projects and events; each designed to support training, revitalization and expansion endeavors.

Aube retired from his role as President and CEO of EMDC in 2018. Throughout the course of his tenure, he was instrumental in cultivating Bangor’s development and turning the Queen City into a destination.

“Bangor is a leader in the state,” says Aube. “We had a goal to re-engineer the region; to build for the future through investing in the city and its people. We said ‘we can do this here’ and we did,” adds our honoree.

This year’s recipient has been an integral member on innumerable boards, alliances and councils, including: the Bangor City Council, Bangor Historical Society, Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce and the Bangor Regional Development Alliance. Aube’s civic resume is truly a testament to his commitment to make Bangor a better place to live and work.

He has also served in several administrations, including: Governor John McKernan, Senator Olympia Snow and President Bush. During each of these appointments, he was able to stay in Bangor, deepening his roots and pushing forward the city’s best economic interests.

One of our honoree’s key initiatives has been the engagement of Bangor-based businesses on statewide projects. This has resulted in building a better economic foundation and infrastructure for local business development. He also believes in the power of networking, especially in smaller metropolitan markets like Bangor.

“By building enthusiastic teams and connecting in important ways to make things happen here, we are creating a sustainable commercial culture. It’s a recipe for success,” explains Aube.

The visible embodiment of Aube’s commitment and successes is the Cross Insurance Center. Aube is widely considered by many to be the catalyst responsible for procuring the necessary funding and support for the Cross Center. He saw the project through from its initial inception to its completion, the grand opening. Aube, however, is quick to credit his team and the generosity of local financial institutions who helped bring his vision into reality.

“The Cross Center is the hallmark piece of Bangor’s natural evolution. It is a real investment in the community. It was a bold proposal that took the support of municipal government and the private sector, “ says Aube.

Aube leaves a legacy as a champion of commerce and civic responsibility. The recently retired Aube plans to stay in Bangor and to keep serving the interests of the city as a consultant, partnering with his son, Michael.

According to Bangor native William Cohen, former Senator and Secretary of Defense, “Michael Aube’s body of professional economic development will serve as a model for years to come. He has clearly demonstrated his personal commitment to the Chamber and to making the Bangor region a better place to live and work. In choosing Aube for the Dowd Award, the Chamber would be honoring an individual who clearly demonstrates the prestige the Dowd Award symbolizes.”

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Business Of The Year…………………………………………….……………………..CES, Inc.

This award recognizes a business operating our region that has set an example in leadership, innovation and quality, and/or has provided noteworthy economic opportunity to the people of the Bangor Region.

Founded 40 years ago, CES, Inc. has been voted one of the “Best Places to Work in Maine,”. The Brewer-based engineering, environmental sciences and land surveying firm is proud to give back to the community.

Employees participate in the United Way campaign and serve on boards of local nonprofits. The company has provided significant financial support to the University of Maine and Good Shepherd Food Bank. CES is licensed to work in 30 states and has expanded into Florida.

CES prides itself on bringing work back to the area, providing jobs for qualified professionals and internship opportunities for students.

The firm has received an Environmental Excellence Award, recognition from the Association of General Contractors and the American Council of Engineering Companies.

CES, Inc. has made a positive impact to the region as a job creator and by giving back to the community.

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Catherine Lebowitz Award For Public Service…………………………….Evan Richert

This honor goes to an individual or individuals from the public sector who has advanced the cause of economic opportunity in the Bangor Region.

Upstart Maine is a regional coalition of entrepreneur support programs, including incubators, accelerators, networking, business education and financing programs. A man whose name is synonymous with Upstart Maine is its founder, Evan Richert.

Richert moved to Bangor more than a decade ago from south Portland, where he worked as city planner and co-founded a market research and land use planning firm. Richert still operates Richert Planning, providing services for clients around the state, including Orono.

Previously, Richert was employed by Governor Angus King, who appointed him director of the State Planning Office. During this time, he came to understand the importance of R&D to the future of Maine’s economy.

Richert’s deep belief in innovation and the commercialization of research and development as a driver of the region’s economy has been central to the mission and accomplishments of Upstart Maine.

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M. Jane Irving Community Service Award ……………………..Bangor Housing Authority

This recognition goes to a group or organization that has made the Bangor Region’s quality of life better, either by helping others directly or by enhancing community or regional assets that add to that quality of life.   

The Bangor Area Recovery Network (BARN) has been a safe haven for many since 2008. Located in Brewer, the BARN offers peer-to-peer support in a safe, clean and sober environment. Open 365 days a year, their part-time and volunteer staff offer more than 125 meetings and welcome more than 1,500 people through their doors each month.

The BARN offers programs designed to help those in recovery learn valuable life skills and find constructive outlets to express themselves.

The BARN owns a women’s sober home in Brewer that augments its mission of supporting people in recovery and hosts weekly meetings at the Penobscot County Jail. The BARN’s “Why Recovery?” program seeks to debunk the myths and societal stigma surrounding recovery. It is one part of a larger educational component intended to increase awareness and promote the restorative power of recovery.

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Non-Profit of the Year……………………………………………………….………….Good Shepherd Food Bank

This award is given to a non-profit agency that has made a notable difference in the lives of the people who live in the Bangor Region.

Maine ranks ninth in the nation for food insecurity. Good Shepherd Food Bank has been providing food to Mainers for more than 35 years as they work to reduce food insecurity and provide access to healthier foods and nutritional education.

In 2017, Good Shepherd distributed 24 million meals to more than 400 partner agencies across Maine from it’s locations in Auburn and Hampden.

They now distribute more perishable foods than ever before, including produce, meat and dairy by partnering with more than 70 local farmers and food producers through a program called “Mainers Feeding Mainers”.

The 40,000 square foot Hampden distribution center is undergoing renovations to accommodate more cold storage, which is essential for distributing fresh products.

By 2025, Good Shepherd Food Bank aims to eliminate food insecurity in Maine by ensuring that everyone who needs food, has food.

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Arthur A. Comstock Professional Service Award……………………….……Renee Kelly

This award recognizes an individual who embodies Arthur’s generous spirit, donating over an extended period of time his or her expertise to both the Chamber and the community at large.

Renee Kelly epitomizes dedication to the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. From her initial experience in one of the first Bangor Region Leadership Institute (BRLI) classes, to her tenure as a BRCC board member and Chair, Kelly’s passion and drive have helped shape the organization, striving to further its vision and mission. Her guidance, vision and governance have been crucial to the organizations growth, sustainability and prosperity.

Her position as the University of Maine’s Assistant Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development enables Kelly to have a hands-on approach with emerging entrepreneurs and innovators. She leads and supports many area programs designed to help start-up companies entrepreneurs including Top Gun, Big Gig, Upstart Center for Entrepreneurship and Union River Center for Innovation.

By connecting young, enterprising minds with the proper resources, Kelly is empowering the future innovators of this region.

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Bion and Dorain Foster Entrepreneurship Award…………………………CourseStorm

This award recognizes an individual or business whose innovation and creativity have succeeded in opening new economic opportunities for our region.  

CourseStorm, was formed out of necessity. The “impossibly simple course registration” is the brainchild of co-founder and CEO, Brian Rahill. As a father of four, Rahill grew frustrated while navigating through cumbersome registrations for activities his children were involved in.

Rahill saw an opportunity to develop a more user-friendly solution. With the help of his co-founder, Matt James, the two set the foundation for a revolutionary software start-up.

CourseStorm has grown to a staff of nine since its founding in 2015. Educational organizations are the primary users and CourseStorm has grabbed a fair share of its target market in a short span of time.

Rahill hopes that by creating a software start-up in this region, he will inspire others to do the same. This will create opportunities to keep local graduates in the area and attract brilliant minds from elsewhere.

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Volunteer of the Year Award………………………………………………….Jaclyn Fish

This award recognizes an individual who has gone above the beyond the call of duty in volunteer service to the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce and through his/her enthusiasm and dedication has set an example for future Chamber volunteers. Chosen by Chamber Staff

Jacie began her professional career with PepsiCo as a pre-sale account manager and then as a manager for UNO Chicago Grill. Beginning in 2008, she moved to Bangor Savings Bank to start her longstanding career with the organization. During her time spent at Bangor Savings Bank, she has held several positions including assistant vice president and consumer banking administration officer; as well as vice president and branch manager of the Broadway and Hampden branches. In 2017, Fish was promoted to her current position.

In addition to her professional duties, Fish has been involved in numerous community organizations Jacie has been contributing to the BRCC for many years in her roles with Fusion, the Community Council, the Board and many committees, including serving on the CEO search committee. “She gives her time helping out with events and is always willing to jump in and help when help is needed! Her passion, knowledge, creativity, generosity, intelligence and positive attitude have been instrumental in moving the Chamber, Fusion and the Council forward”, Deb Neuman, President of BRCC.

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