POLAND — Before they got down to the business of handing out awards Thursday, the 200 or so who attended the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony got down to the business of mingling.

They mingled with extra zeal, too, because after a long stretch of pandemic lockdowns, many were seeing dear old friends for the first time in years.

“It’s so nice to be together again in a really great, open-air environment,” Shanna Cox, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said. “People are really excited to see each other again and to celebrate. I mean, we made it. I don’t know if we’re out of the woods, but we’re on the other side of it and there’s an energy that comes with that.”

The ceremony was held under tents on the lawn of the Poland Spring Inn. It was a breezy afternoon, but it was sunny and warm and most people took advantage of the outdoor venue, wandering here and there with food and drinks in hand in search of old friends and associates.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline said. “It’s a little windy but it’s so great to see everybody as we kick off this summer.”

The 2022 award winners include four individuals, one business and one community initiative. The winners were in attendance but with one notable exception.


Jim “Jimbo” Marston, publisher and chief executive officer of LA Metro Magazine & Uncle Andy’s Digest, was away for medical treatments.

But the winner of the Ray Geiger Chamber Champion, Jimbo was there in spirit.

“He is so honored,” Tyla Davis, editor and chief of the LA Metro Magazine, said. “And he’s so bummed that he can’t be here. This award is a huge deal for him. He works really hard promoting all things L-A and beyond. This award means a lot.”

Marston has been battling cancer, but Davis said he has been feeling well and hopes to be back at the office soon.

Mark Turcotte was there with colleagues to accept the Ken Additon Economic Development Champion award on behalf of Bennett Radio Group and the radio station 105.5 WIGY.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Turcotte said. “It was great to be nominated. We never expected to win. Stan and Alison Bennett are a local family and this is local radio. WIGY is Lewiston-Auburn’s only local radio station. We’re hyperfocused on that. We deliver local news, we have a couple local events and we have interviews every morning with people who are making a difference in the greater Lewiston-Auburn area.”


Amy Smith, board member of Healthy Neighborhoods and founder of both Healthy Homeworks and Lewiston Rowing, was honored with the Theresa Samson Women’s Business Leadership award.

Betsy Libby, president of Central Maine Community College in Auburn, accepted the Leading Through Change Award.

“I am very fortunate to work with a strong team of faculty and staff at CM and contribute this award to them,” Libby said. “I am proud to be part of the Lewiston Auburn metropolitan community and the work I get to do every day with regional leaders to support Maine’s workforce.”

The Heart of the Community, a new award bestowed by the chamber for the first time, went to Fatuma Hussein, founder and executive director of the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine.

The President’s Award went to the Central Maine High-Volume Vaccination Clinic, recognizing the collaborative effort that brought it to the region from Central Maine Healthcare, Auburn Fire Department and Maine National Guard.

Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque noted that the yearly celebration is a good way to honor those who have contributed to the region over the course of the year, and also to provide them with greater recognition.

‘The annual chamber awards is something our entire region and the state should be excited about,” he said. “It highlights the best of who we are and the possibility for what we can be.”

“Each of our award winners have made significant contributions in and beyond their own area of work,” Cox said. “We are proud to highlight their successes, from which we all benefit and can all celebrate.”

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