January 12, 2018

Portland Chamber annual awards recognize leadership for the public good

Courtesy / Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce)
Courtesy / Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce)
Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Quincy Hentzel announced Thursday the recipients of the chamber's annual leadership awards, which will be presented at a Jan. 24 event in Portland.

The Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce announced the recipients of its annual leadership awards, who will be honored at a Jan. 24 event in Portland.

"This year's award recipients are unique in that they have all greatly enhanced their respective communities," Chamber CEO Quincy Hentzel said in a statement.

She added that the winners are all keystones. "If they weren't as involved with their communities and organizations, the Greater Portland Region wouldn't be as vibrant as it is today," she said.

The Leadership in the Private Sector Award goes to to Melissa Smith, president and CEO of WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX), who is overseeing the opening of the company's new global headquarters in Portland. Smith was a 2017 Mainebiz Business Leader of the Year in the large company category.

The Economic Development Leadership Award winner is SIGCO Inc., a Westbrook-based glass and metal manufacturer that made a point of hiring new Americans to fill its 250-strong workforce.

The Public Leadership Award goes to two people: Brit Vitalius, of Vitalius Real Estate Group, for defeating a "potentially harmful rent control referendum in Portland"; and Heather Sanborn, of Rising Tide Brewing Co., for her work to defeat a citizen-initiated zoning referendum the Chamber said would have stifled economic development in the city.

Last but not least, the Visionary Volunteer Leadership Award goes to Michelle Raber of State Farm Insurance for her service as volunteer president of the Scarborough Community Chamber of Commerce and "countless hours" on various Chamber committees.

James Erwin, who chairs the Portland Chamber's board of directors, said the common theme that has emerged from this year's awards is leadership for the public good.

"From donating time, to giving a helping hand to creating jobs, to defending the economic freedom that is essential for our region's prosperity, this year's recipients spent 2017 helping others," he said in Thursday's news release.


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