Friday, January 26, 2024

Sebago Lakes Region Chamber welcomes new board chair and recognizes award recipients

By Kaysa Jalbert

The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce celebrated 60 years with the theme “Honoring the Past, Treasuring the Present & Shaping the Future” at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner held on Thursday, Jan. 18 at Camp Sunshine in Casco.

From left, Vickie Bartlett, Jane Bartlett, President/CEO Robin
Mullins and Board Chair Jonathan Priest gather during the
Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce's annual
meeting and awards ceremony on Jan. 18 at Camp Sunshine
in Casco. The Bartletts attended the ceremony representing
the Bartlett family as the late George Bartlett was honored
with the Frank Koenig Chamber Hall of Fame Award.
“We shared a video on the Chamber’s incredible history and discussed how the organization continues to thrive and evolve as the region changes,” said Robin Mullins, President of the Sebago Lakes Region of Commerce. A table at the event highlighted the 60 years of the Chamber’s history, including regional guides and photo albums.

Two new Board Members were added to the chamber’s leadership team for 2024. Tricia Zwirner of the Nominating Committee introduced the new board members, Maureen LaSalle of Northern Lights Mechanical, and Maureen Mazur of Taro Health.

The Chamber Board also voted Jonathan Priest of J. Priest Insurance to succeed Jennifer Arsenault of Edward Jones as the new Board Chair. Arsenault was awarded a plaque to commemorate her term of service as Board Chair.

The Annual Meeting also included a social hour, a buffet dinner, a business meeting, and ended by recognizing the following award recipients:

Dave Pollard presented the Chamber’s Community Service Leadership Award to Lacy Antonson for her work in Gray, especially at the Gray Wild Blueberry Festival. Mullins said that the Community Service Leadership Award recognizes a civic-minded individual or group that has made a significant contribution to the quality of life in the Sebago Lakes Region. Nominees are passionate about a cause and work tirelessly for the greater good and to inspire others to become involved in their community.

The Chamber’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award is presented annually to a Chamber member operating in the Lakes Region whose innovation and creativity have succeeded in starting their own successful business while opening new economic opportunities for the Sebago Lakes Region. This member has donated their time and/or resources unselfishly for the good of their local community, Mullins said. This year, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Shaw Dwight of Paul's Boutique in Windham. He thanked his team, his father, and his wife for helping him become successful.

Richie Vraux presented the Business of the Year Award to Kenny Cianchette and his team at Erik's Church in Windham. “This award is presented to a Chamber member operating in the region that has set an example in leadership, innovation, and quality, and has provided noteworthy economic opportunity to the people of the Sebago Lakes Region,” said Mullins. “This business should also have donated their time and/or resources unselfishly for the good of their local community.”

Mullins announced the winner of the Frank Koenig Chamber Hall of Fame Award. This specific award is presented to an individual whose commitment of time, resources and talent have made the Sebago Lakes Region a better place to pursue one’s livelihood and dreams.

“Frank Koenig was passionate about the chamber and worked tirelessly for the betterment of our region and his local Chamber of Commerce,” says Mullins. “Like Frank, the recipient should have a history of passionate and active contributions to the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. This person should have made an impact on the chamber and the local community all while maintaining the highest of integrity. The award is presented posthumously to George Bartlett, who we sadly lost in July of 2023.”

The Frank Koenig Chamber Hall of Fame Award given to Bartlett was accepted by his wife, Jane, and his daughter, Vickie, who spoke on behalf of the family, expressing their gratitude for recognizing how much George meant to the community, and how much he would have loved this award.

Mullins said that the Chamber looks forward to another busy year of events in 2024 such as the monthly Business Breaks, the Polar Dip in February, Member Appreciation Week in May, the Scholarship Golf Open in June, the Golf Ball Drop at Summerfest, a Pancake Breakfast at the Gray Wild Blueberry Festival, community Trunk or Treats, the Sebago Spirits Festival, and other community holiday events including the Bid of Christmas.

The Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce was launched 60 years ago by a group of innovative business owners and was called the North Windham Business Association and is now made up of 14 Board Directors and seven officers whose mission is to foster economic growth and prosperity throughout the region. <

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