PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The proprietor of Aroostook County’s only gymnastics facility, the creators of an award-winning vodka and the makers of Oxbow wreaths are among 15 businesses vying for the Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Leaders Encouraging Aroostook Development and Momentum Aroostook, two agencies that function to promote the region and encourage young people to settle in the area, are making final plans for this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year award ceremony. The event will be held on May 26 at Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle.
Virginia Joles, president of LEAD, said recently that 15 nominations are being reviewed for Aroostook’s Entrepreneur – 2011 Award, which recognizes creative and progressive business founders, owners and operators in northern Maine.
“We have received fifteen exceptional applications from throughout Aroostook County and a panel of judges will begin interviewing candidates and gathering additional information in order to select the finalist,” said Joles. “All of the nominees are excellent role models for others who might be looking to start or enhance their own businesses.”
The award will be given to a business leader who demonstrates excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to his or her business and community. All nominees will be recognized and the winner will receive a plaque and a check for $500.
The contestants, who are nominated by the community include: Richard Porter of Spudland Alpacas in Blaine; David Hentosh, Hentosh Bronze Sculptures and Smoldering Lake Outfitters in Bridgewater; Heidi Carter, Heidesign; Jan and Joe Bouchard, Bouchard Family Farm; both of Fort Kent; Jessica Jewel and Scott Galibaniti, Twenty 2 Vodka in Houlton; Thom Cote, Carvings by Cote/The Artists Nook in Limestone; Terry Kelly, T.Kelly Furniture and Rhett Fox, Fox Family Potato Chips, both in Mapleton; Allison Wheeler, All Star Gymnastics in Mars Hill; Steve and Judy Sherman, Oxbow Wreath in Oxbow; Sandy Gibson and Patrick Patterson, Meet The County in Presque Isle; Kristi and Kevin Brannen, Spring Break Maple and Honey in Smyrna; Linda Howe and Kevin Quist, Heywood Kennel Sled Dog Adventure and Northern M.O.S.S. in Stockholm; Natalia Bragg, Knott II Bragg Farms in Wade; and Dan Bell, The Cribbage Board Factory in Westfield.
Kari Wells-Puckett, vice chair of Momentum Aroostook, said that his organization and LEAD are pleased to be collaborating to recognize the businesses.
“Recognition like this helps encourage the growth and success area companies have achieved, keep talent in our region, and provide business owners with a sense of personal satisfaction, and Momentum Aroostook is proud to be a part of this,” she said.
A panel of six judges, one representing each of the sponsors, LEAD and Momentum Aroostook, and the supporting organizations, Husson University, Northern Maine Community College, the University of Maine at Fort Kent and the University of Maine at Presque Isle, will select the 2011 honoree. The other honorees will also be recognized that evening, beginning at 6 p.m.