Thursday September 16, 2010 | 11:37 PM

The Holiday Inn by the Bay's ballroom was packed this evening for the 156th Annual Dinner and Community Leadership Awards, hosted by the Portland Regional Chamber. The crowd of roughly 500 was a who's who of the Greater Portland business community.

Here four of the evening's five award recipients smile as my colleague Tim Greenway shoots their portrait. Look in tomorrow's Portland Press Herald to see if the photo he's taking made it in.

From left to right, the honorees are Bill Caron, who accepted the Henri A. Benoit Award for Leadership in the Private Sector on behalf of MaineHealth, where he serves as president; Danielle Ripich, who accepted the Robert R. Masterton Award for Leadership in Economic Development on behalf of the University of New England, where she serves as president; Gov. John Baldacci, who was honored with the Neal W. Allen Award for Leadership in the Public Sector; and MaineToday Media CEO and my boss Richard Connor, who was honored with the President's Award.

The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Susan Pye of Merrill Lynch, shown here walking onto the stage. She's very active with PROPEL, the young professional branch of the chamber. You may recall that she chaired this year's Entreverge awards party held at Port City Music Hall.

In the photo above, she's shaking hands with outgoing Chamber Board Chair Jim Harnden, of Malone Commercial Brokers. Standing next to him is new Board Chair Anne Gauthier, of National Semiconductor, and Chamber CEO Godfrey Wood. Art Dillon, who won the award last year and presented it this year, is standing at the far right.

Here Gerard Conley, the chair of the Maine Turnpike Authority board reaches to shake the Governor's hand after presenting the award.

The evening was capped off with a talk by Tom Chappell, who spoke about founding Tom's of Maine in 1970 with his wife, Kate Chappell, and eleven months ago launching the 100% made in America Ramblers Way Farm apparel company, which makes naturally dyed, super-soft wool T-shirts, camisoles, leggings and briefs. His talk was called "Branding Your Beliefs."

I'll have more details about who was at the party and what they had to say in the Sept. 19 Maine Sunday Telegram. Until then, I hope to see you out and about.

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

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