Following 100 nominations and 900 votes, PROPEL, the young professionals group within the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, awarded five honors Sept. 28 on an open-air deck at DiMillo’s.

“This is our first event back since January 2020, and last year’s Ignition Awards were held virtually from my living room,” said PROPEL President Allie Floyd, marketing manager for Portside Real Estate Group. “People have been doing a lot of great stuff during that time, and we want to honor them in person.”

PROPEL Ignition Award recipients in previous years have gone home with anything from electric guitars to ukuleles to snowshoes. For 2021, honorees had a “Draft Day moment,” with a custom PROPEL jersey and a Draft Day hat.

Kailey Partin, 30, branding director at Rising Tide brewery, was named Young Professional of the Year.

“She helped navigate Rising Tide through an incredibly difficult 18 months,” said Heather Sanborn, co-founder of the brewery.

During the pandemic, Partin led Rising Tide through a series of business pivots, from an in-person tasting room, to e-commerce to a patio collaboration with Fire & Co. pizza. She also led a seminar for breweries on how to reopen safely while following COVID-19 protocols.


The Unsung Business Hero award went to David Pease, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Bangor Savings Bank.

“The management trainees went on social media and said, ‘Vote for our great boss,’ ” Pease said. “Bangor Savings is dedicated to developing these young professionals as future leaders and building Maine’s workforce. With the labor shortage that we’ve been seeing, we are getting ready for a different, more diverse workforce. That’s what I get to do every day.”

Adaptive Business of the Year was awarded to Portland Ballet, which kept its “Victorian Nutcracker” tradition alive in 2020 with a television broadcast. The company also premiered a contemporary ballet called “Four Seasons” under the pavilion at Thompson’s Point last fall.

The Maine Ambassador of the Year title went to Katie Shorey, director of engagement for Live + Work in Maine. She is the volunteer president of Startup Maine and actively showcases the many places where boaters can dock and dine across Maine in her program Dock & Dine, which airs on MaineLife Media.

Shorey also accepted the Community Leader of the Year award on behalf of Nate Wildes, executive director of Live + Work in Maine and a managing partner at Flight Deck Brewing.

“He’s not going to events because he’s seeing his grandpa soon,” Shorey said.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer from Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected]

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