Bangor chamber honors area business and community leaders
BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce returned to the Cross Insurance Center on Friday night, after a three-year absence due to the pandemic, to honor businesses and individual people for their service to the community, entrepreneurship, leadership and lifetime achievement.
The chamber’s annual business awards dinner drew more than 950 people from Bangor and beyond.
“We are excited to honor individuals, organizations and businesses that make the Bangor region an extraordinary place to live, work, learn and play,” said Deb Neuman, chamber president, in a press release prior to the event.
Retired banker and current Bangor City Council Chair Rick Fournier received the chamber’s highest honor, the Norbert X. Dowd Award, which is presented 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.
“It really is that simple, I just want to make Bangor better,’’ said Fournier, who, in addition to his career at Bangor Savings Bank, served on the boards of the Bangor YMCA, the American Folk Festival and Maine Discovery Museum.
The Large Business of the Year Award was presented to WS Emerson Co. of Brewer, which produces branded apparel and promotional products, and the new Small Business of the Year award was presented to Rebecca’s Gift Shop of Bangor.
“Small businesses account for approximately 80 percent of the Bangor Region Chamber’s membership and we are honored to bring attention to these businesses that are the backbone of our region,” Neuman said.
The M. Jane Irving Community Service Award was presented to Tanya Emery who formerly served as the economic development director in Bangor for nearly 12 years and works now for the Maine Connectivity Authority.
Eastern Area Agency on Aging was recognized with the Nonprofit of the Year Award. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award was presented to Devil’s Half Acre Distillery.
The Spirit of the Region Cultural Award was presented to the Collins Center for the Arts, located on the campus of the University of Maine in Orono.
The newly named Sarah Dubay Professional Service Award, dedicated to its namesake, Sarah Dubay who died in 2021, was presented to Kristen McAlpine, assistant vice president and senior business development officer at First National Bank.
“It is our honor to present this award to recognize an individual who embodies Sarah’s generous spirit, donating over an extended period of time his or her expertise to both the chamber and the community at large,” Neuman said.
The Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Mark Pellon, floral designer at Lougee & Fredericks Florist of Bangor, at the Chamber’s Annual Business Breakfast held on Jan. 11.