LEWISTON — Several hundred business and civic leaders filled the Ramada Lewiston Hotel and Conference Center on Thursday night to cheer on winners of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards. It was the 126th annual meeting of the local chamber.

Special recognition in a surprise award presentation went to Michael Malloy, chairman of the chamber’s YPLAA (Young Professionals of the Lewiston-Auburn Area) program.

Malloy was hailed as the “architect of the Y-Not program” of YPLAA, which is a civic engagement and grass-roots economic-development program designed to educate, motivate and recruit the next generation of community leaders.

His efforts as YPLAA chairman in 2012-13 included grant-writing for the “jump-start” community involvement program for young professionals.

Patti Gagne, chairwoman of the chamber’s board of directors, was master of ceremonies for the evening’s awards. She reviewed the chamber’s activities, including the addition of 120 new members in the past year. Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce has become the state’s largest chamber organization with 1,382 members, and she thanked 300 chamber volunteers for their contributions to the group’s success.

Gagne said the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a 33-week introduction to building a new business, and the annual scholarship golf tournament were highlights of 2013. The golf tournament has raised more than half a million dollars over the course of its competitions.

Stories of the individuals and businesses of the award recipients were told in specially produced videos.

This marked the second year that YPLAA has given its own awards. The recipients were Sandra Jones and Shanna Rogers.

Morningstar Stone and Tile, at Topsham Fair Mall, received the New Member of the Year award for its first-year efforts on behalf of the chamber.

The Greene Business Award went to Hurricane’s Café and Deli in Greene. It was noted that this marked the first time the community award has gone to a business owner for the second time. Phil Wilbur, Hurricane’s owner, was honored some years ago when he was owner of The Sedgely Place restaurant in Greene.

Positive Change Lisbon received the Lisbon Business Award and the Poland Spring Preservation Society won the Poland Business Award.

Turner Publishing and Jodi Cornelio were honored as recipient of the Turner Business Award.

Argo Marketing Group and Rainbow Bicycle, two relatively new businesses on Lewiston’s Lisbon Street, received Business Leadership Awards.

The chamber’s Education Leadership Award went to Community Credit Union, which has partnered with two elementary schools in L-A for economic education programs. They have worked with youngsters at Auburn’s Washburn Elementary School and at Lewiston’s Longley Elementary School.

The YWCA in Lewiston and its executive director, Kathy Durgin-Leighton, received the Community Service Leadership Award.

The Cool Chamber Award was given to Pettengill Academy, an early childhood-education institution with emphasis on environmental stewardship.

Craig Saddlemire was honored with the Public Service Leadership Award recognizing his civic activity since coming to Lewiston as a Bates College student in 2000 and continuing with service to the city on various boards and as a city councilor. His filmmaking skills have aided a number of organizations.

Chip Morrison, president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, presented two President’s Awards. They went to John Story of L-A Harley Davidson and Rinck Advertising.

The prestigious Ray Geiger Award, presented annually, was given to Art Boulay for his extraordinary chamber support.

Mary LaFontaine was recognized for her service as chairwoman of the chamber this past year.

Several state and community dignitaries were in attendance for the event. Among them were gubernatorial candidates U.S. Rep. Michael D. Michaud, D-Maine, and independent Eliot Cutler, as well as mayors of Lewiston and Auburn, several councilors from each city and state legislators.


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