BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce honored members of the business community at its annual awards dinner Wednesday night at the Cross Insurance Center.
The event, punctuated by remarks from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, attracted a crowd of roughly 920 people. That’s more than the 791 that attended last year’s event, but less than the 980 that attended the awards dinner marking the chamber’s 100th birthday in 2011.
The chamber handed out seven awards to community members and organizations that it feels exemplify the spirit and energy needed to move the region forward. Each award, except the lifetime achievement award, was accompanied by a video produced by Sutherland Weston — some are zany, some are humorous, all are well done. (You can view the videos here.) WABI-TV produced the video for the Norbert X. Dowd Award, which is considered the chamber’s lifetime achievement award.
The Dowd award, named after the late businessman who ran the chamber for 27 years, was presented to Miles Theeman, vice president and chief sales and marketing officer for Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems.
John Porter, executive director of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, said Theeman has all the hallmarks of a community leader, from serving on several volunteer boards to his leadership in the business community and at EMHS.
“Miles has a single vision and that is Bangor can’t rely on anyone else but itself — not Augusta, not Washington — that we need to come together as a community to take care of our own future,” Porter told the Bangor Daily News. “That attitude energizes people to get out and get things done.”
Theeman, a Lubec native who moved to Bangor with his family in 1974, said he was humbled by the honor of receiving the award, which was won last year by Peter Vigue, CEO of Cianbro.
“I’m amazed to know my name will be included with the distinguished citizens who have received the Dowd award,” he said. “I know there are people in this audience who could just as easily be standing here.”
Theeman said he loves Bangor, and left the audience with this rallying cry:
“There is an energy here and we — all of us — must keep the momentum going and we must all believe that we’re not at the end of anything,” he said. “We’re truly at the beginning of everything.”
Hollywood Casino won the Business of the Year Award. John Osborne, the casino’s general manager, thanked the Bangor community in his remarks and said the honor was “the highlight” of his career. Following the event, he marveled at how far the community and Hollywood Casino has come.
“If you were to say 10 years ago to people in Bangor that you were going to give the Business of the Year Award to a gaming facility, they would probably have been flabbergasted,” he told the BDN.
The chamber also made an announcement that it was renaming its Community Service Award after M. Jane Irving, a 35-year veteran of Bangor Savings Bank, who passed away in August 2013. The first recipient of the M. Jane Irving Award for Community Service was the City of Bangor.
Other award recipients include state Sen. Ed Youngblood, who received the Catherine Lebowitz Award for Public Service; Acadia Hospital, which garnered the Nonprofit of the Year Award; Steve Pound, associate director of workforce development at the Cianbro Institute, was chosen to receive the Arthur A. Comstock Professional Service Award; and Cerahelix, which took home the Bion and Dorain Foster Entrepreneurship Award.