Propel rebooted its annual Ignition Awards for young professionals and entrepreneurs with the addition of its first individual award, Young Professional of the Year, a category that brought in more than 900 votes for the June 28 event at Tiqa in Portland.

“To be rewarded for working hard and doing more in the community only makes me want to do more,” said Alison Siviski, 29, who received the honor.

Siviski is the community and communications manager at the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, a nonprofit operating a three-year program at 36 Maine high schools, as well as varsity cheering coach at Deering High School. She was one of four nominees out of 17 to come from the Junior League of Portland membership.

“For me, it’s really important to give back to youths in the community, especially women,” Siviski said. “I grew up in a challenging environment after some family tragedy occurred, and my community banded together and helped raise me and support me. So I want to give back.”

About 220 guests crowded into Tiqa to honor the dozens of individuals and businesses nominated for six awards, with the winners going home with electric guitars for being rock stars of the business world.

“It’s been a crazy ride from food cart to brick-and-mortar restaurant,” said Andy Geery, co-owner of Highroller Lobster Co., which was named Hustler of the Year. “It took real hustling.”


Certify, a travel and expense management software company, was recognized in the Economic Stimulation category for job creation, hiring 80 people, including 40 based in Portland, since Jan. 1.

Propel also recognized social entrepreneurship, awarding large business ReVision Energy and small business Mast Landing Brewing Co. for their efforts to do good in the world while doing business.

“We’ve done a lot of work building solar trailers for Puerto Rico,” said Jill McLaughlin of ReVision Energy, which received the Social Entrepreneurship award in the large business category. “It’s awesome that we won because Puerto Rico needs more attention.”

Mast Landing was recognized for sponsoring students at My Place Teen Center in Westbrook.

“We make local beer,” said co-owner Ian Dorsey. “From Day 1, we wanted to be sure we were doing the right thing for the local community. As we grow, the amount we can give grows. We want to give these kids every chance.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

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