Each year, the Howard County Chamber of Commerce presents Awards for Chamber Excellence (ACE). The awards are presented at two different venues; the first five awards were presented to outstanding chamber volunteers at the chamber’s Annual Meeting Luncheon on May 23, 2012.
The award recipients were as follows.
• Chamber Ambassador of the Year: Al Doong, Isagenix International
As a member of the chamber’s Ambassadors, Doong has done an outstanding job advocating for the organization, recruiting new members and sharing the value of membership.
• Business Advocate of the Year: Mark Thompson, Real InSITE LLC [Thompson is now director of Downtown Development for Howard County Government]
Thompson, who served as co-chair of the chamber’s Legislative Committee, helped educate chamber members about issues of importance to the business community and worked with elected officials on behalf of the chamber.
• Young Professional of the Year: Diana Fooksman, Columbia Festival of the Arts
Fooksman has been a key member of the Young Professionals Network of Howard County and its Steering Team. She has served as chair of the marketing committee for several years and makes sure events are publicized through flyers, e-mail and social media.
• President’s Award for Special Service: Dawn Weglein, Sandy Spring Bank
Weglein has volunteered countless hours to help the chamber update its employee manual, screen applicants for staff positions and effectively utilize the staff reviewing process.
• Volunteer of the Year: Becky Mangus, The Business Monthly
Mangus has been a dedicated and active volunteer with the chamber for many years. She served as chair of the chamber’s 40th Anniversary Committee and co-chair of the Communications Committee as well as a member of the chamber board of directors. She has testified on a wide number of business issues and goes out of her way to help staff and volunteers in every part of the organization.
Six Additional ACE Awards
The rest of the 2012 ACE awards were presented at the Signature Event on Sept. 28, 2012. Those winners were selected by the chamber’s Business Recognition Committee based upon business success, innovation, commitment to the chamber and support of the community.
Receiving those awards were the following.
• Business Person of the Year: Marc Rubin, bgr CPAs
Rubin is a managing partner at bgr CPAs. As a board member, former Treasurer and leader of the Strategic Planning Initiative, he has helped the chamber secure its financial footing and set an ambitious course for the future. He has been instrumental in launching the new GovConnects government contracting initiative and gives his time, energy and talent to a variety of charitable causes.
• Entrepreneur of the Year: Steve Wecker, The Iron Bridge Wine Company
Wecker is known for his creative, spirited, make-it-work approach as embodied by his Columbia restaurant, The Iron Bridge Wine Company. In nine years, he, with his brother Rob Wecker and their staff, has taken a small roadside bar and created a refined entertainment destination. He brings his creativity and sense of fun to a variety of community causes ranging from filming humorous videos for chamber Signature Events to challenging his fellow restaurants to raise money for Blossoms of Hope.
• Large Business of the Year: Giant of Maryland LLC
Giant of Maryland was chosen for its four-decade history serving customers and supporting the community in Howard County. The company employs almost 1,700 individuals in its Howard County stores and distribution center, and anchors several of Columbia’s Village Centers and other shopping locations. In 2011, Giant donated more than 21 million meals to its partner food banks and raised nearly $150,000 to support education and enrichment activities in Howard County schools through its A+ School Rewards program.
• 2012 Small Business of the Year: Coale, Pripstein and Associates
Coale, Pripstein and Associates has served clients in Howard County since 1980. Giving back to the community has been a priority for the firm’s founder and president, Edmund “Skip” Coale, III, and his colleagues. Coale is a former board member and treasurer for the chamber and serves on the Howard Community College Board of Trustees. Concern for the community drives his commitment to the Rotary Club of Columbia/Patuxent (where he was the charter president), the Jim Rouse Entrepreneurial Fund and the Jaycees, among others.
• Government Advocate of the Year: Elizabeth Rendón-Sheman, LG-TEK
Rendón-Sheman has used her expertise in government contracting to assist and advise others, particularly through her support of the chamber’s annual Cyber Conference. She has also been a leader in the launching of the chamber’s new GovConnects government contracting initiative, and will continue to build that program as a member of its Advisory Council. She has served on the chamber’s board of directors and executive committee, including as chair of the board. She also lends her time and talents to other organizations, including the Howard Hospital Foundation, the Fort Meade Alliance, the Columbia Festival of the Arts and Howard Community College.
• Exemplar Award: Mike Galeone, The Columbia Bank
The Exemplar Award is given periodically to an individual who makes a significant and lasting contribution to the community through his or her professional achievements and public service.
The Chamber recognized Mike Galeone, founder of The Columbia Bank, as the 2012 Exemplar. The community was saddened when Mike passed away in August, but his contributions to Howard County will be a lasting legacy for the future.
Galeone and his business partner John Bond decided to start a community bank in 1988. With a small team, they grew one branch of The Columbia Bank on Dobbin Road into the second largest bank headquartered in central Maryland. Galeone always believed in investing in the community and the many positions he held over the years include president of the Howard County Arts Council; chair of the Governance Committee for the Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts; chair of the board of directors of the Howard County Economic Development Authority and board member of the Columbia Festival of the Arts.
Galeone also was a longtime supporter of the chamber, and served as the chair of the board of directors in 2001 and 2002.