Salisbury Chamber honors difference-makers

More than 200 people packed into Dove Pointe on Thursday night for the 97th Annual Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet.

The special occasion celebrated outstanding individuals and organizations that are doing great things in our community.

Member Volunteer of the Year — Heather Duma

This award is sponsored by Peninsula Regional Medical Center and recognizes a person who puts much of their time and effort into supporting the mission of the Chamber.

Heather Duma serves on the Board of Directors under the Membership Division here at the Chamber and also serves on the Commission of the Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism.  She is a past recipient of the Young Professional of the Year Award and has been honored for her work across our State with the Maryland Governor’s Community Service Award.  She recently graduated from Shore Leadership ’16 and has a passion for building future leaders, as evidenced by her work as a mentor with Salisbury University’s Perdue School of Business Career Advisory Board and through the development of the Transformational Community Leadership Series with the Greater Salisbury Committee, in partnership with Salisbury University.

Ambassador of the Year — Jeff Merritt of Minuteman Press

This award is sponsored by Matice and recognizes an individual that serves on the Ambassador Committee and has not only fulfilled their commitment to promote retention and inclusiveness within the Chamber through outreach to new and existing members, but has gone above and beyond the agreed upon duties.

Born and raised in Montgomery County, Jeff Merritt lived in Public Landing until 2005 when he and his wife, Diana moved to Salisbury. They bought Minuteman Press in 2010 and now have four employees and are grateful for a growing business with a great staff.

In 2007, the Merritts started Operation We Care, a nonprofit organization that supports our military, law enforcement and fire department personnel. Operation We Care continues to grow thanks to the ongoing support from our community.

Small Business of the Year: Omni Technology Professionals LLC — Jeremy Heslop

This award is sponsored by BBSI and is presented to a firm with a staff of five or less, who have a substantiated record as an established business.

Jeremy Heslop opened OmniTechPro’s doors in 2004 when he identified a need for businesses to implement Information Technology with a high level of reliability. He found that success could easily be had by working closely with the clients to fill their business needs, rather than just computer needs, and by implementing the right technology for the right reasons.

Medium Business of the Year — SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate — Brent Miller

This award is sponsored by Comcast Spotlight and is presented to a firm with a staff of six to 50, who have a substantiated record as an established business.

SVN Miller Commercial is a full-service commercial real estate company that offers brokerage, leasing, property management and maintenance. With offices in Salisbury, Seaford, Easton, Bethesda, Md., and Onley, Va., the Advisors and Staff of SVN | Miller are dedicated to providing world-class service to their clients. SVN Miller was twice awarded the SVN Firm of the Year award, first in 2009 and again in 2016.

SVN | Miller embarks on at least one a community service project each quarter to give back to the communities in which they serve.  Nonprofits that they have worked with include Habitat for Humanity, Halo and the Wicomico River Cleanup.

Large Business of the Year — K & L Microwave

This award is sponsored by Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development and is presented to a firm with a staff of more than 50, which has a substantiated record as an established business.

For 46 years, K&L Microwave has been designing and manufacturing RF and Microwave Filters for Commercial, Military and Space Applications, currently employing hundreds while giving back to the community. Founded in 1971 by Richard Bernstein, it was sold in 1983 to Dover Corp.

K&L’s strength and reputation are built on values held by their employees; collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit, high ethical standards, an expectation for results, respect and valuing people and winning through customers. Accepting the award was Philip Crouse, Director of Operations..   

Businessman of the Year — Ron Boltz of Alarm Engineering

This award is sponsored by Delmarva Power and is presented to a man who is widely recognized as a successful business and community leader.

Ron Boltz is President and CEO of Alarm Engineering, a security and life safety systems company that services residential, commercial and industrial clients from Wilmington to Cape Charles.

Born and raised in Salisbury, he graduated from Parkside High School, received his bachelor’s degree from Salisbury University, and his MBA from Loyola University.  He is currently: Vice-Chair of the Greater Salisbury Committee, Vice-Chair of the Trinity United Methodist Church Administrative Board, a member of the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and a charter member and past president of the Sunrise Rotary.

Businesswoman of the Year — Kathleen Mommé of United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore

This award is sponsored by Devreco and is presented to a woman who is widely recognized as a successful business and community leader.

Kathleen Mommé’s 30-plus year career in nonprofits was inspired at an early age when she first volunteered as the Easter Bunny, visiting sick patients at The Bethesda Naval Hospital.

She has served as Executive Director of the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore for the last 23 years, and in that time has lead the organization in steady growth, raising over $22 million for local programs.

Young Professional of the Year — Caroline Presburg

This award is sponsored by Pohanka Automotive Group and recognizes a member of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network who has gone above and beyond the expected to support the group and its mission of aiding the next generation of business leaders.

Caroline Presburg was born in Salisbury and is President of BayRunner Shuttle, which was started here in 2005 by her father, John. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2012 and is active in the Talbot Chamber of Commerce as well as the Frederick Chamber of Commerce. Caroline splits her time between Salisbury and Baltimore to oversee both main offices of the company.

Environmental Service Award — Priscilla Timken.

This award is sponsored by APPI Energy and is presented to an individual or organization which has done the most to assist the Lower Shore Business Community become more green-oriented.

Priscilla Timken is the owner and founder of Chesapeake Tours and Promotions, a heritage tour company based in Salisbury. She is a native of Salisbury with deep family roots in Wicomico County.  After graduation from the University of Maryland, College Park she lived in the Washington, D.C. area, where she began her career in the travel and tourism industry.

Returning to Salisbury in 1985, opened Chesapeake Tours and Promotions.  As a certified interpretive guide, today she hosts groups from all over the United States and Canada touring throughout the Shore. In 2012, she became a trained Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad tour guide.  

Always on the road and often seeing the Shore through the eyes of visitors, Timkin was stunned with the amount of trash littering our byways.  Through funding from the Wicomico Partnership for Families and Children, she developed educational heritage programs for local students, out of which came the Stash Your Trash anti-litter initiative.

Today, the project has evolved into a community wide initiative with the supported sponsorship of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Beautification Committee and Salisbury University’s Environmental Studies Department.

Agriculture Ambassador of the Year — Randy Day

This award is sponsored by AHPharma and recognizes the person or organization that has done the most to aid Maryland’s top industry, agriculture.

Randy Day is the Chief Executive Officer of Perdue Farms Inc.  In this position, he is responsible for Perdue Foods and Perdue AgriBusiness, environmental sustainability, human resources, corporate finance, IT and corporate communications.

Day joined Perdue Farms in 1980 and has held various managerial and executive positions.  He was named the President of Perdue Foods in early 2015.  In April 2016, Randy was promoted to the Chief Operating Officer of Perdue Farms Inc., before ultimately being named the Chief Executive Officer for the Company in March 2017.

A native of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Randy graduated from Easton High School and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in biology from Western Maryland College.  He earned a master’s degree in poultry nutrition from the University of Maryland – College Park and completed the AMP program at Harvard Business School.

Nonprofit Organization of the Year — Women Supporting Women

This award is sponsored by Gillis Gilkerson and recognizes the group that has best used their resources to aid the community. Requirement: IRS 501(c)3 organization.

Women Supporting Women is a nonprofit that was started in 1993 in Salisbury and has grown to serve the entire Delmarva Peninsula. The group does not provide funds for research or money to individuals; our mission is to provide awareness, education, and support to anyone affected by breast cancer.

Referrals for our services are received from surgeons’ offices, hospitals, and walk-ins to our office. You may recognize Women Supporting Women by their signature “Pink” tote bag full of educational materials given out to patients at the time of diagnosis.

Real Estate Beautification Award — River Park Center

Sponsored by SVN | Miller Commercial Real Estate, this award is presented to an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to our community through architectural enhancements and overall beautification in the greater Salisbury area by renovating an existing property and improving the exterior, landscaping, parking, lighting, signage and the overall cohesiveness of the design.

Taking a forgotten former 1950s-era grocery store and converting it into a Class A office complex can be a formidable task; but, when combining local architects/engineers/surveyors Davis, Bowen & Friedel with builders Gillis Gilkerson and developer Dennis Silicato, a wonderful transformation can happen.

DBF was looking for office space to get their staff together on one floor, and the opportunity to transform the abandoned building on Main Street across from the park presented itself.

The design team made a conscious decision to try to make the building feel like an extension of the park in many ways: pond, lush landscaping and a conservatory-like building façade. The builder took craftsmanship care to follow-through with this approach, with attention to detail utilizing their long history of old building transformations.

Accepting this award were Mike Wigley from Davis, Bowen & Friedel, and Tyler Barnes from Gillis Gilkerson.

Entrepreneurial Spirit Award —  R.J. Batts, Picklehead LLC

This award is sponsored by Alarm Engineering and recognizes and celebrates an individual or organization that supports, promotes, encourages and fosters entrepreneurship in our community.

R.J. Batts of Picklehead LLC was accepted to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and formed his company Picklehead LLC. For months he went to classes and on field trips after school, learning how to set up a business, find funding, craft a pitch, and bring the Tip Tough to market — all while attending middle school and on his school’s soccer team.

In October 2016, R.J. received start-up funding from the Shore Hatchery Competition at Salisbury University (beating out grown-ups from 30 businesses) for a Second Place award of $15,000. Then, TEDCo awarded Picklehead grant money for the design and prototype phase of the Professional Chef Tip Tough in stainless steel. And, in March 2017, R.J. was featured as the youngest inventor at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago, and was chosen to pitch the Home Shopping Network.

R.J. has a vision: that “Home Chef’ Tip Tough — to be made of plastic and available for the 2017 holiday season – will one day be in every kitchen drawer, just like the potato peeler.

Community Arts & Culture Award: Wicomico Farm & Home Show — Zach Evans

This award is sponsored by The University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Recognizing the positive impact arts and culture have on economic development and quality of life, this award recognizes an individual or organization who has contributed to fostering arts, culture, and entertainment in our community.

The Wicomico Farm & Home Show, organized by Zach Evans, is a nonprofit organization that boasts 81 years of agricultural tradition.  The WFHS strives to promote agriculture and the rural lifestyle that we all enjoy in Wicomico County and across the Delmarva Peninsula.

Through partnerships with the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce and Wicomico County Parks, Recreation & Tourism the event has grown in the last 2 years to be an attraction that brings in attendees from all over Wicomico County and the surrounding areas..

The 2017 Chamber of Commerce Award — Ernie Colburn

This award is sponsored by BEACON at Salisbury University. This award has been the capstone of the awards presented by the Chamber since 1949 to recognize superior service to the community.

Born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Ernie Colburn is a graduate of Delaware Technical & Community College and Delaware State University. Colburn started his broadcast career in Radio in the early 1960s and by the early 1980s became Corporate Vice President of a major Radio/Cable Television Group based in Washington, D.C.

Colburn transitioned to Cable Television in the early 1990s, retiring after 19 years as General Sales Manager for Comcast Spotlight, the Advertising Sales Division of its parent company Comcast/NBC Universal.

A former SACC Chairman, he is retiring this year as the Chamber’s CEO and President.


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