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February 19, 2019

Nominations open for 20th annual Maine Family Business Awards

About the Institute for Family-Owned Businesses

Now in its 25th year, the Institute for Family-Owned Business is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting family-owned businesses, which represent about 80% of all businesses in Maine. Through consulting, seminars, workshops and networking, the institute assists family-owned firms in meeting the unique managerial challenges associated with operating and sustaining a successful family enterprise.

The Institute for Family-Owned Businesses is seeking nominations of the best family-owned Maine businesses for recognition during the 20th annual Maine Family Business Awards.

All family-owned businesses in Maine are eligible for consideration and do not have to be institute members. Self-nominations are welcome and encouraged.

For the purposes of the Maine Family Business Awards, a family business is one in which one owner either shares ownership or works in the business with at least one other family member and has a commitment to the continuation of the enterprise. Businesses that are nominated will know where the nomination came from.

This year, the institute will celebrate its 25th anniversary and the awards will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Over the last 20 years, the Institute for Family-Owned Businesses has recognized 89 family businesses for excellence. In celebration, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to an individual who has demonstrated sustained success, leadership and innovation in his or her own family business, to the institute and to the broader community.

"I'm so excited to kick off our 20th anniversary of our awards and our 25th year for the Institute for Family-Owned Businesses," said Catherine Wygant Fossett, executive director of the institute. "Last year, we welcomed nearly 1,400 people to our programs, and we created a new web service directory for our members. Our awards season is my favorite time of year as we learn about the amazing stories of family businesses in Maine. I look forward to partnering with the community to spread the news and once again recognize all the hard work of our fellow Mainers."

Keynote speaker: Shawn Gorman

The Maine Family Business Awards are presented in partnership with MEMIC, the Maine-based employee safety insurance group, at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. This year's event, on June 5, will be hosted by Cindy Williams of News Center Maine.

Shawn Gorman, executive chairman of L.L.Bean, will be the keynote speaker.

Gorman, great-grandson of company founder L.L.Bean, was appointed chairman of the board of L.L.Bean in May 2013, and was named executive chairman in 2016. His L.L.Bean career began in 1991, when he joined the company's marketing department as an analyst.

He went on to hold a number of leadership positions in the company's marketing, international, e-commerce, partnership marketing and creative divisions. His accomplishments include introducing the company to online and email marketing, integrating L.L.Bean's brand strategies across channels and leading L.L.Bean's co-branded credit card program — one of the most successful in the country.

Lineup of awards

Awards to be presented include:

  • Renys Large Business Award (25 or more employees)
  • Chalmers Insurance Group Customer Service Award
  • Holiday Inn By The Bay First Generation Award
  • People's United Bank Innovation Technology Award
  • Shep Lee Community Service Award
  • Maddy Corson Small Business Award (fewer than 25 employees)
  • Varney Agency Environmental Leadership Award.

An independent judging panel selects winners based on criteria that include the nature of family involvement, the success of the business, the work environment, and innovative business practices or strategies.

Honorees in 2018 included Hardypond Construction, Howe and Howe Technologies, Washburn Doughty, Woodlands Senior Living, Blueberry Fields Bed & Breakfast, Rinck, and DM&J Waste.

Event sponsors include MEMIC, Renys, Gorham Savings Bank, Chalmers Insurance Group, Holiday Inn by the Bay, People's United Bank, Verrill Dana LLP, Machias Savings Bank, Varney Insurance Agency and Bonding, Norway Savings Bank, Cross Insurance, Katahdin Trust Co., Lee Auto Malls, DMM, Flyte New Media, Strategic HR U.S., Bangor Savings Bank, Morong Falmouth, Burgess Advertising & Marketing, Mainebiz, Sun Journal, Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

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