2018-02-28 / Business

News from Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber

SMMC Big Night Out, March 9 — the winners are ...

On Friday, March 9, from 5-8 p.m., the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber will be honoring 10 local business and community leaders for their company’s work and their individual successes at the annual awards night called the Big Night Out.

The event is a fun evening of celebration, championing SMMC members and recognizing the 10 award winners who were nominated by their peers for their outstanding successes. The recognition team is comprised of SMMC leadership and past award recipients. Additionally, the Brunswick-Topsham Bath Community Council, a panel of veterans often referred to as the Veteran’s Council, selected two award winners for the prestigious Joshua L. Chamberlain award, which celebrates excellence in building relationships between the military in the region and our local communities.

The Big Night Out will be held at the Southern Maine Community College Midcoast Campus, which is located at Brunswick Landing. The event takes place in the L.L. Bean Commons with food, drink and merriment, and this year we will have a poker game-theme to keep you busy and having fun. The poker game is simple: there will be 5-8 booths of different experiences at the Big Night Out and each person who tries an experience at a booth gets a playing card from that booth. Once you do five experiences you get five cards. The best hand will win our door prizes — it’s that easy. Experiences vary, but they will be experiences one can do in regular business or cocktail attire.

The itinerary for the night is straightforward, with the event opening with welcoming remarks, and the first batch of business award winners beginning at 6 p.m. Presentations will take 15 to 20 minutes. Then it’s back to the games and mingling until 7 p.m., when the individual business professional awards will be announced. Around 7:45 the door prizes will be given and some closing remarks offered with the event ending at 8 p.m.

As we have done in years past, over the next few weeks we will be highlighting our winners in this column to share their stories with you. Some chambers wait until that night to reveal their winners, but we like to announce them beforehand so those that want to be on-hand for the award presentation can be.

Therefore the 2017-18 SMMC award winners are as follows:

• Small Business of the Year: Cook’s Lobster & Ale House

• Large Business of the Year: Crooker Construction

• Young Professional of the Year: M. Sawyer Boulette

• Excellence in Entrepreneurship: Flight Deck Brewing

• Director’s Award: (co-winners) Avita and Sunnybrook (Northbridge Properties)

• President’s Award: Tim Sardano

• Joshua L. Chamberlain Award: (co-winners) Capt. Sean Kearns and Mr. John Briley

• Harry C. Crooker Lifetime Achievement Award: Carolyn Farkas-Noe

Again, all winners will receive profiles in this column in the coming weeks, but we start with three profiles now.

• Joshua L. Chamberlain Award

According to award criteria, the individual nominated should be one “whose activities have served to build upon the close relationship and understanding existing between the military and civilian components of the greater Brunswick-Topsham- Bath community.” Any military or civilian member of the Brunswick-Topsham-Bath community is eligible.

This year the Veteran’s Council has decided to honor two recipients: Capt. Sean Kearns and Mr. John Briley

Capt. Kearns is native of Hampden,

Maine, and as such the history of Maine is part of his outlook on life. While serving in the Navy, he was the 73rd commanding officer of the USS Constitution and upon returning to Maine spoke to many local schoolchildren about Old Ironsides. Upon assignment as the executive officer of the pre-commissioning unit of the Michael Monsoor DDG 1001, he was the driving force behind the unit’s outreach to the Bath, Brunswick and Topsham area communities. He has donated his time and led the unit’s personnel in volunteer efforts in the following areas: Brunswick Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program, Mobile Food Bank, Maine's First Ship project, the Bath-Brunswick YMCA, Bath middle and high school education projects, and more. Capt. Kearns exemplifies the charter of Joshua L. Chamberlain in his service to the country and others.

Mr. Briley has a master’s degree in maritime history and experience in maritime museums. He has labored long and hard as a volunteer to ensure that the rich history of Brunswick Naval Air Station and its connection with the history of the area towns is not lost. He has been one of the moving forces behind the Brunswick Naval Museum to preserve that history. He worked hard to accrue the former base chapel for the museum. The work has begun to turn the spaces into a first-class Naval museum, reflecting the beginnings of the base as a Royal Air Force pilot training base during WWII to its closing as a U.S. Navy maritime patrol base. The museum, as envisioned, will showcase the outstanding relations between the area towns and the air station as Briley, like Joshua L. Chamberlain, showcases the educational and military side of life in the area.

• Harry C. Crooker Award

Carolyn Farkas-Noe is a name familiar to many in the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber, as Carolyn embodied the chamber ideals and projects for more than 30 years. Carolyn is a kind-hearted, community focused leader who was vice president and at times interim president and executive director until retiring in June 2016. This news column was written by Carolyn for years. She was the voice on the phone that welcomed hundreds of visitors to the region annually and she was the advocate in the regional meetings, always putting our communities first. She has meant so much to this region and to this organization, and the SMMC members are thrilled to be able to honor her on March 9.

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