Former Sen. Chris Rector was named Community Person of the Year at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala Saturday, April 20 at the Samoset Resort.

The Community Person of the Year award is given annually to an individual who, through professional and civic deeds, has greatly enhanced the quality of life in the community.

Eric Waters, Taylor Sampson and Trevey Davis presented the award.

"This person is seen as a superior thinker with the ability to thoughtfully maneuver through the many layers of complexities presented in this profession, and has demonstrated the courage to take stands opposed by the larger organization he represented. This person is seen as a collaborator, well respected by the competition for the ability to find creative compromises in order to get things done," Waters said, describing Rector.

"Many of us decided to change this past year and caused him to lose his job, but not our appreciation and respect," Waters said.

Rector, of Thomaston, served two terms in the Maine State Senate and prior to that served 10 years in the state House of Representatives.

Rector has served on the board of educational organizations through the Many Flags Foundation Board. He also realizes the importance of economic development as a contributor to the quality of life in Midcoast Maine through work with the Knox/Waldo Regional Economic Development Council and Midcoast Economic Alliance. He was visible at large community events and provided input and feedback during the recnet strategic planning process at Pen Bay Healthcare. He has been involved in arts, real estate and food, Waters described. He also is the owner of Camden Cone.

Sampson described Rector as the best boss, mentor and friend anyone could have.

"Whether you're related to him, employed by him, or a constituent of his, besides a bow tie and a smile, you can always expect leadership, generosity, and true kindness from this man, all of which have changed not only my life, but almost anyone he has crossed paths with," Sampson said.

"I am so humbled and honored to be here," said Rector.

Rector acknowledged the youth of the community and the employees he has had over the years at Camden Cone.

"They have taught us much more than we have taught them," he said.

Innovation in Business Award

Reade Brower, owner of Courier Publications, which publishes The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal, as well as the online news site VillageSoup, was presented the Innovation in Business Award.

The award recognizes an individual, business or organization that has produced advancements in a product or business method that has resulted in renewed economic vitality of its business or the local community in the previous year. The business shall have demonstrated a proactive and innovative approach toward finding solutions to business challenges and embraced change as an opportunity for growth.

"In early 2012 a shock wave rattled through the Midcoast; there was a website that many visited every day to get their news for the area. The website had an ominous announcement. Operations were ceasing and there would no longer be a Camden Herald or a Courier-Gazette online or on newsstands," said presenter Tom Chester.

"Reade Brower decided that the right thing to do was to pick up the VillageSoup pieces, revamp the way the paper did business and forge ahead. He did just that and has changed the way the news is delivered, changed his business model, and in doing that presented the news for residents of the Midcoast," Chester said.

"Truth in advertising, the chamber asked me to show up, my wife told me to wear a tie, but nobody told me I'd have to speak," said Brower.

"I'd like to thank my wife of almost 30 years because you certainly don't do this alone," said Brower in his acceptance speech.

He went on to dedicate the award to his staff and management team.

"I was only the instrument that brought it back. They are the ones that actually do it day to day," he said.

"When an opportunity arises, step it up and pay it forward," was the message he left the audience with.

Other award recipients are:

Community Service Award

Trackside Station

Most have stopped in for a drink, many have had a great homemade meal, some may have enjoyed a movie, a game or a race on the big screen, but for Mike and Kelly Woods, the biggest events are not profit driven. Trackside Station raised more than $43,000 last year for neighbors in need. Kiwanis, Rockland Main Street and Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County are just a few of the recipients of the dollars raised.

This award recognizes a business, individual or not-for-profit organization whose activities have resulted in a significant enhancement of the community and/or positive contribution in the quality of life of local community members.

"We couldn't do what we do without all the community involvement," said Kelly Woods, accepting the award with husband Mike.

Small Business of the Year Award

Horch Roofing

Awarded to a business of fewer than 50 people which makes a positive contribution to the community, has a commitment to excellence and is recognized by peers as a leader in what they do. The recipient must have been in business for a minimum of five consecutive years.

"I have learned to surround myself with people who are smarter than me. People with integrity, loyalty and pride – like family," said owner Peter Horch.

"We deserve this because we are a team," he said.

Public Improvement Award

PAWS

This award recognizes a person, organization, public or private corporation who creates or improves areas that benefits the general public.

"Notified last year that the regions only dog park would be closed, PAWS stepped up to the challenge," said presenter Sandy Cox.

Accepting the award on behalf of PAWS Animal Adoption Center for the newly reconstructed dog park in Rockport was PAWS President Jean Freedman-White and board member John Scholz.

"Thank you for your support of our four-footed friends," said White.

Beacon Award

Penobscot Bay Rendezvous

This award recognizes a business or organization that has attracted significant positive attention to the Penobscot Bay region, resulting in a rise in economic activity for the business community.

"Yachting Magazine named this event one of the best regattas," said presenter Tom Chester, as he introduced Susan Howland and Drew Lyman to accept this award on behalf of Penobscot Bay Rendezvous.

"See competitors can be friends," said Howland, as she went on the speak about how the collaboration between Lyman-Morse and Wayfarer Marine works to showcase the marine arts and the Penobscot Bay area.

Heritage Preservation Award

Penobscot Marine Museum

This award acknowledges the contribution of a business, individual or a nonprofit organization that has resulted in the preservation and/or enhancement of the history, maritime heritage and/or quality of place of our community.

"Not only does this museum preserve the maritime heritage but it is the oldest maritime museum in the State of Maine," said presenter Ken Gardiner.

Penobscot Marine Museum Executive Director Liz Lodge and Wayne Hamilton, president of the museum board, accepted the award.

"We use our collection to preserve and celebrate our maritime heritage," said Lodge. "Many thanks to the workers and volunteers who keep it going every day."

Environmental Leader Award

Windowdressers

Awarded to a business, individual or organization that has worked diligently to preserve/protect/enhance our environment. Works in a manner compatible with the 
environment and/or uses sustainable practices and/or gives consideration to carbon footprint or product or service in the previous year. Serves as a role-model.

"Our goal is the turn money that would go out of state back in to this state," said Richard Cadwgan of Windowdressers.

Building Award — New

Phi Home Designs

Awarded to a business, nonprofit or organization that builds a new structure or changes the exterior and interior of a structure and/or grounds which enhances the community image during the preceding year.

"We bet ahead of the curve," said Bettina Doulton, part-owner of Phi Home Design, about her companies success.

Building Award — Renovated

On the Water in Maine

Awarded to a business, nonprofit or organization that builds a new structure or changes the exterior and interior of a structure and/or grounds which enhances the community image during the preceding year.

Owners Tiffany and Justin Ford accepted the award. Justin said they felt defeated last year after not winning anything, but had a vision in mind for this year.

"We'd like to thank everyone who didn't do any building this year," he said.

Economic Enhancement

Camden International Film Festival

This award recognizes a person, business or organization that has made a major economic investment or enhancement that has resulted in a significant improvement to the region’s economy in the preceding year.

Founder Ben Fowlie was not available, but sent a statement.

"This means a great deal. I get to do what I love to do in a community that I love," the statement said.

Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at klincoln@courierpublicationsllc.com. Reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or by email at bbirmingham@courierpublicationsllc.com.