BANGOR, Maine — As the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce looks forward to 2011 with a goal of increasing membership to more than 1,000 businesses, existing members are gearing up for the largest annual dinner in the Chamber’s 100-year history.
Karen Cole, executive vice president and marketing coordinator for the Chamber, said 1,000 guests are expected for the reception and awards banquet on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at the Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center.
“This is the largest event we’ve ever hosted, and I’m excited about the program we’ve put together,” she said.
As always, the evening will be highlighted by nine award recipients, but organizers expect a more festive atmosphere to mark the Chamber’s centennial anniversary. A “Hall of History” multimedia display will be unveiled depicting major events and landmarks for the Chamber over the last 100 years.
Chamber leaders already have said they plan to be active in advocating for members in Augusta this year, particularly in the area of streamlining regulation, according to newly elected board of directors Chairwoman Julia Munsey.
Among the award winners to be recognized on Wednesday are:
· Gary Smith of Brookings-Smith Funeral Homes will be presented with the Chamber’s most prestigious honor, the Norbert X. Dowd Award, which 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.
· Business of the Year, Oxford Networks.
· The Catherine Lebowitz Award for Public Service, former Gov. John Baldacci.
· Community Service Award, the Senior League World Series.
· Nonprofit of the Year, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.
· Arthur A. Comstock Professional Service Award, John Diamond, formerly of the University of Maine System.
· Bion and Dorain Foster Entrepreurship Award, the Hollywood Slots Waterfront Concert Series.
· Volunteer of the Year Award, Glenn Mower, Bangor Letter Shop.
· Fusion Leadership and Vision Award, KahBang, an annual music and arts festival on the Bangor Waterfront.