Maine Family Business award winners announced at 17th gala

A diverse group of companies, including some of Maine’s best-known brands as well as some rising stars, were honored June 7 at the 17th annual Maine Family Business Awards gala.

Presented by the Institute for Family-Owned Business in partnership with law firm Verrill Dana, the awards recognize exemplary Maine firms that demonstrate excellence in family involvement, business success, and commitment to employees, customers and community. An independent panel of judges, facilitated by Laura Foye of TD Bank, selected the winners from among 20 finalists. A record number of nominations – 180 in all – were submitted for this year’s awards.

Maine Beer Company, a Freeport-based craft brewery, received the IRC Industrial Roofing Companies Environmental Leadership Award for its strong commitment to earth stewardship, which includes donating 1 percent of company profits to green initiatives, as well as an emphasis on sustainable practices in their facilities and operations.

Bowman Constructors of Newport was selected as winner of the People’s United Bank Innovation and Technology Award. This multi-generation family business has distinguished itself, in an industry that does not always make innovation easy, by developing creative solutions that save smaller clients money and by creating a unique, replicable and efficient model for senior living.

Fish Bones American Grill of Lewiston received the Norton Insurance and Financial Services First Generation Award, which recognizes an exceptional company that has not yet transitioned from one generation to the next. The business is not only contributing to the vitality of Lewiston, but is helping foster the next generation of hospitality professionals through training and mentoring opportunities.

Blue Elephant Events and Catering, based in Saco, was the judges’ choice for the Chalmers Insurance Group Customer Service Award, exemplifying what it means to consistently go above and beyond clients’ expectations. Numerous customer testimonials submitted with the nomination attested to the event planning company’s excellent attention to detail and service.

King Eider’s Pub of Damariscotta received the Shep Lee Award for Community Service. Several family members in the business contribute to the community through nonprofit boards and volunteering. The family has been instrumental in creating and sustaining a community fuel assistance program that has raised more than $1.2 million over the past decade to keep their neighbors warm.

Rising Tide Brewing Company of Portland was honored with the Maddy Corson Small Business Award, recognizing an exceptional company with fewer than 25 employees. The company has not only distinguished itself for producing popular brews, but their leadership and advocacy have helped grow Maine’s reputation as a craft-brewing powerhouse. They have also helped transform the Bayside neighborhood in Portland into a destination stop.

Planet Dog, based in Westbrook, won the Renys Large Business Award, which honors an outstanding company with more than 25 employees. The multi-generation company has distinguished itself as a leader in its industry, selling its products well beyond Maine, and as supporters of causes that align with their mission, through their philanthropic foundation.

The Institute for Family-Owned Business is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting family-owned businesses, which represent about 80 percent 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. Additional information is available at

Hires, promotions, appointments

Milestone Foundation has appointed two new members to its board of directors. Christopher Poulos recently graduated with honors from the University of Southern Maine School of Law, and was selected as a Law Student of the Year by National Jurist Magazine. Poulos also serves as an advisor to U.S Sen. Angus King on matters involving addiction and criminal justice policy. Ryan Ciriello, of South Portland, is a business intelligence analyst with Martin’s Point Health Care, and serves on Milestone’s Finance Committee. Based in Portland, Milestone Foundation Inc. provides services to individuals with substance use and behavior health disorders, including emergency shelter, detoxification, residential and outpatient treatment and transitional housing.

Brian Townsend, MS, LCPC, has been named executive director of Amistad, Inc., a Portland-based nonprofit serving adults with serious mental illness and other life challenges. He succeeds Peter Driscoll, who has served as executive director since 1996.

Day One’s Board of Directors announced that longtime Executive Director David Faulkner plans to retire at the end of the month after leading the agency for 32 years. Under his leadership, Day One has worked in close collaboration with state government, nonprofits, schools, corrections, hospitals, attorneys and families to advance its mission to dramatically reduce youth substance abuse and address mental health needs. Day One’s Director of Residential and Corrections Services, Caroline Raymond, will lead the organization during the search for a new executive director.

Giving Back

Harvard Pilgrim has awarded the following Healthy Food for Every Age grants to Maine organizations: Falmouth Food Pantry, $6,945; Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine, $10,000; Spectrum Generations, greater Hallowell, $10,000.

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $820,000 to the Midcoast Economic Development District for a Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund program. In coordination with the MCEDD Brownfields Assessment program, a site can be assessed for contaminates, cleaned up and redeveloped.

The Institute for Family-Owned Business recognized Maine business owners at the annual gala held June 7. From left are Todd and Sarah Maurer of King Eider’s Pub; Brian and Zach Bowman of Bowman Constructors; Kate and Paul Landry of Fish Bones American Grill; Heather Sanborn and Nathan Sanborn with Rising Tide Brewing Company; Alex Fisher of Planet Dog; Colleen Croteau of Maine Beer Company; and Sophia Bell-Pifferrer and Fausto Pifferrer with Blue Elephant Events and Catering.

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