While working as an account executive for Gov. Paul LePage, I have the honor and privilege of working one-on-one with businesses to help create and grow jobs in Maine. In addition to that rewarding role, I have also been fortunate to help coordinate the Governor’s Awards for Business Excellence on behalf of the governor and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

Since its inception in 1991, the GABE award has been bestowed upon a handful of businesses each year that demonstrate exceptional commitment to their customers, employees, community and manufacturing and/or service excellence. GABE winners represent the best of Maine’s legendary work ethic and epitomize our zeal for innovation — or, as we fondly refer to it in New England, our Yankee ingenuity.

Last year, the fine work of Maine’s job creators was on full display as we received a record number of nominations for the GABE awards. The selection committee — which comprised former GABE winners — faced a difficult, yet welcome, challenge in determining which of the impressive nominees would be honored. After careful consideration, the following winners were chosen: Falcon Performance Footwear of Auburn, FHC Incorporated of Bowdoin, Howie’s Welding & Fabrication of Jay, Lapointe Lumber Company of Augusta, Lonza of Rockland, Norway Savings Bank of Norway, and TD Bank of Portland.

The winners were recognized by LePage and DECD Commissioner George Gervais at a State House ceremony this past May and were presented with handcrafted trophies. The trophies were Maine-made — created by Harpswell House of Lisbon.

The application process and deadlines for the 2014 GABE awards will be announced soon, and we look forward to eclipsing last year’s record number of nominations. The nomination form will be posted on the DECD website, http://www.maine.gov/decd/start-grow/business-excellence/, by Dec. 1, and completed forms are due in February. We eagerly anticipate acknowledging several more worthy Maine job creators in 2014 and adding them to the venerated GABE award honor roll, which now includes 124 companies.

Unquestionably, as time has passed and markets have altered, some former GABE nominees and award winners have had to change to keep pace. Some companies have new names, new ownership and even new buildings. So, too, has the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence adapted. In 2013, we introduced a new logo and more visually appealing graphic to depict the award, but the essential principles behind the recognition remain. It continues to shine the light on Maine businesses that go above and beyond to uphold our state’s reputation for providing the highest quality products and services.

Among our 2013 winners, Falcon Performance Footwear exemplifies the type of Maine business that has continually adapted and innovated to remain a competitive force in one of Maine’s heritage industries — shoemaking. The Auburn-based shoe manufacturer utilized technology to streamline its manufacturing process, develop innovative new footwear products, and greatly improve its productivity. The company was able to reshore some work that previously went to China and to demonstrate their steadfast commitment to its community, donated more than $20,000 in financial resources and materials in 2012 to charitable organizations and activities throughout Maine.

As I noted, it is thoroughly rewarding to work with Maine’s job creators each day and my involvement with the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence is an added bonus.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about the GABE awards process or if I can be of assistance in helping you start or grow a Maine business. You can reach me at brian.doyle@maine.gov or by phone at 624-9807.

Brian Doyle is a governor’s account executive for the LePage Administration covering Androscoggin, Aroostook, Franklin and Oxford counties. Account executives serve as the first point of contact for businesses that need assistance with programs, policies, funding and awareness of state resources.