Annual Awards Dinner – January 24, 2020

Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce announces award recipients to be honored at annual dinner

Top honor goes to Carol Epstein, winner of the prestigious Norbert X. Dowd Award

BANGOR, Maine – The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce will recognize Carol Epstein, a tireless and effective Bangor Region volunteer for many years, with its highest honor, the Norbert X. Dowd Award, at its annual dinner set for Jan. 24, 2019.  The event is expected to draw more than 1,150 area leaders and community supporters.  “This event is a true celebration of our region and the individuals, organizations and businesses that have contributed to our exceptional quality of life,”  said Deb Neuman, President and CEO.

The Norbert X. Dowd award is given each year to 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. The selection criteria typically take into account the honoree’s achievement over the course of his or her career.  “We are delighted to be honoring and recognizing Carol’s significant contributions to our region,” Neuman said,

A Bangor native, Carol Epstein has worked as a commercial broker in Maine since 1984. She has helped structure hundreds of sale and lease deals around the state on a wide range of commercial and industrial properties, has established and maintained relationships with local, regional, national, and multi-national companies to assist with their real estate efforts, and has consulted with companies to assess, strategize, and plan for their real estate needs. She is also involved in Epstein Properties where she oversees the management of a portfolio of family-owned commercial and investment properties.

In addition to the Dowd Award, the Chamber will be recognizing seven other individuals and organizations that have contributed to the region’s vitality: 

The Business of the Year Award goes to GE Power, a center of excellence for steam turbine rotors and blading and specializing in gas turbine component manufacturing. The GE facility in Bangor celebrated its 50th year anniversary this year, opening their doors in 1969.  With a global network of service and repair centers on every continent where their customers operate, GE delivers maintenance and repairs expertise through local resources that keenly understand our regional demands and challenges. 

The Catherine Lebowitz Award for Public Service goes to Carol Woodcock. Carol has worked for more than 25 years in the U.S. Senate working for Maine’s Senators, first as a legislative aid to William Cohen in DC and most recently as Bangor State Office Representative for Susan Collins. She is one of the strongest advocates for the Bangor region when it comes to economic growth, coordinating federal and state and local leaders and leveraging federal dollars.

The M. Jane Irving Community Service Award goes to Norm Heitmann, the City Solicitor for the City of Bangor for 24 years, having worked in the field for more than 30.  Norm is retiring at the end of 2019 after playing an integral role in numerous significant projects and economic development initiatives in Bangor during his tenure including but not limited to the development of the Bangor Waterfront, the creation of Hollywood Casino, and the approval and construction of the Cross Insurance Center.  

The Nonprofit of the Year Award goes to the Bangor Public Library.  The Bangor Public Library strives to inspire, enlighten and enrich its members by connecting them to books, information and ideas needed for work, recreation, education and inspiration by providing excellent service to its members and community.  The Bangor Public Library contributes to the prosperity and growth of the city by fostering a spirit of exploration, the joy of reading, the pursuit of knowledge, and the preservation of its community’s history.

The Arthur Comstock Professional Service Award will be given to Lee Speronis.  Director of the School of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management at Husson University in Bangor, Lee has contributed significantly to the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce since he began serving on the Board of Directors in 2010 and most recently completed his term as Board Chair.  In 2020 Lee will Chair the Bangor Region Community Council that oversees the programs of the Chamber including Fusion, Building Bridges and BRLI. 

The Bion & Dorain Foster Entrepreneurship Award goes to Wilcox Wellness & Fitness Wilcox Wellness & Fitness offers individual and group personal training in a private wellness and fitness center with locations in Bangor and Brunswick, Maine . They care deeply about their client’s success and are dedicated to being enthusiastic, encouraging, and supportive. Owners Mike and Paige Wilcox have recently expanded their specialized program to make it a franchise opportunity.  Their first franchise location opened this year in Brunswick, Maine. 

New for 2020, the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce has added an additional award, the Arts & Culture Award.  This award recognizes a growing sector in our region’s economy and seeks to recognize an individual, business or organization that has made significant contributions to the arts, entertainment and cultural opportunities in the Bangor region.

The inaugural honoree is The Nite Show with Dan Cashman. The Nite Show is Maine’s only local, late-night talk show.  The show is based on the formats made famous by Johnny Carson, David Letterman, and Conan O’ Brien. The show originates from Husson University’s Gracie Theatre in Bangor, and – just like national late night talk shows – is produced before a live studio audience.  

One additional award will be handed out at the Chamber’s Annual Breakfast and Business meeting taking place at the Cross Insurance Center on Wednesday, January 8th. The Chamber Volunteer of the Year award goes to a person who, through his or her volunteer efforts, has made an exceptional contribution to the Chamber in furthering its mission. The winner is selected by the Chamber’s staff. This year that honor is being given to Nettie Kilby of Bangor Area Staffing Solutions.


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