LEWISTON — The largest gathering of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce took place Thursday night as the organization held its 122nd annual meeting at the Ramada Conference Center.

Chamber President Chip Morrison said 480 business leaders from the L-A area attended the session at which awards are presented to outstanding business and civic leaders.

“They like to come together,” Morrison said of the organization’s membership. “They help each other.”

A new format for the awards drew praise from many attendees. Profiles of the winners were shown in separate video segments.

“This was a real team effort,” Morrison said. He and members of the chamber staff provided much of the text for the video pieces and worked to arrange video sessions and to gather still photos that were incorporated in the final production. The videography and editing was carried out by Bill Moulton of Nomad Productions.

Lots of information about the history and the current work of each award winner was packed into the thumbnail presentations. Attendees said they liked the new format, which focused on the accomplishments of each winner.

Three Business Leadership Awards were presented.

They went to Nason Mechanical Systems, a leader in plumbing, heating and ventilation as a family business between 1933 and 1996, and now owned by Peter Traill; to Auburn Manufacturing, maker of heat resistant textiles; and to Encompass Marketing and Design.

Lewiston Superintendent of Schools Leon Levesque was honored with the chamber’s Education Leadership Award; Norm Lamie, Auburn Water and Sewerage District, and Rick Whiting, Auburn Housing Authority, received Public Service Leadership Awards; Kim Wettlaufer, Trinity Jubilee Center, received a Community Service leadership Award; and a second Community Service Award went to Museum L/A and Rachel Desgrosseilliers.

The chamber’s prestigious Geiger Award, presented in the name of Ray Geiger, long-time community supporter, went to Sue Donovan of Donovan Auto Sales, Greene, in recognition for community service and her work for The Chamber’s ambassador committee.

Poland Spring Bottling Co. received the Poland Business Award; Downeast Energy and Building Supply, received the Lisbon Business Award; and Heutz Oil and Premium Pellet Systems received the Cool Chamber Award.

Three President’s awards were made by Morrison. They went to Dan Smiley, general manager of Turner Publishing, who is an active volunteer for several community causes; to The Public Theatre in recognition of its successful introduction of a professional theater in Lewiston’s Southern Gateway area; and to the Dempsey Challenge and Central Maine Medical Center’s Cancer Center for Hope and Healing.

A New Member Award went to Nancy Brown and a Past Chair Award was given to Peter Murphy of Neokraft Signs.
Art Boulay, current chairman of the chamber, presented opening remarks.

Art Boulay, left, of Strategic Talent and Imar Poeraatmadja, right, of Burgess Computers enjoy a good laugh with Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce President Chip Morrison during the social hour at the annual chamber meeting and awards ceremony at the Ramada Inn Conference Center in Lewiston on Thursday.

Jeff Gosselin, left, of Mechanics Savings Bank, Cindy Robbins, center, of Poland Spring Resort and John Turner of Business Strategies enjoy some conversation during the social hour at the annual Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce awards night at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston on Thursday.

Heidi Howard, left, and Jennifer Richard, representing Bates College, chat during the social hour at the annual Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce annual meeting at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston on Thursday.

Auburn Mayor Dick Gleason, left, and Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert visit with Kathy Gleason, wife of the Auburn mayor and president of the The Public Theatre, one of the award recipients at the annual Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony held at the Ramada Conference Center in Lewiston on Thursday.

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