NORTH CONWAY, NH -Tonight (10/30/18) is the 106th Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. The annual dinner will be taking place at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort this year, and brings together elected officials, chamber members and guests to network and review the impact the chamber has had on the local business environment and community.
The dinner will feature the Mount Washington Valley Annual Business awards where the Chamber recognizes successful businesses with the Employer of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and White Mountains Treasure awards. Additionally, once again this year, the Chamber will present the Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award in conjunction with the Steve Eastman family.
This evenings events include an extensive silent auction, hors d’oeuvres, and networking opportunities during the cocktail hour.
Registration opens at 5:00pm with cocktails and festivities. Dinner will be served at 6:30pm with a brief meeting and review of the Chamber’s past year and future initiatives.
Every Year the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC) calls for nominations and then recognizes successful businesses during the awards.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is awarded each year to a business in existence for seven or more years which fills a need within the community and demonstrates creativity, innovation and community involvement. Additionally, the business must be people-and-principle oriented as well as profitable.
This year the Entrepreneur of the Year Award goes the team at Coldwell Banker Wright Realty of Antonella Bliss, Lindsey Maihos and Rose Robinson. Their leadership at Coldwell Banker Wright began the same year as the economic crisis, and though the company has experienced ups and downs, 11 years later it has more than doubled its sales volume. Their commitment toward the industry has pushed them to host a real estate course in Conway for young professionals, which gives the opportunity to take the course and obtain a real estate license here in the Valley, where in the past had to be done away from the area. As a business team, they give back to the community through time and donations, encouraging others within the company to also give back to the community.
The Employer of the Year Award is given each year to a business that demonstrates respect for employees and other business partners and excellence in creating a safe and inviting workplace. The Employer of the Year is also a business offering solid pay/benefits and the opportunity for training and advancement.
This year the Employer of the Year Award goes to Badger Realty. Since 1965, Badger Realty has been a staple of the Mount Washington Valley and a leader of community projects, volunteerism, and advancement. Dick Badger & Brenda Leavitt have created a family-oriented culture within an industry that had not historically been recognized through teamwork. They believe in the power of continuing education and encourage their employees to continue their professional development through education and training whenever possible.
The White Mountains Treasure Award recognizes individuals in the Mt. Washington Valley who have given a lifetime of time and talent to the Valley. The award was established as a way to honor individuals who exemplify that success is not measured by what they accomplish in life for themselves but by what they do for others and the community.
The first recipient for the 2019 White Mountains Treasure Award is Floyd Corson. Floyd can be found every Sunday playing the organ at the First Church of Christ. He began his volunteering experience by stepping in to cover the organ for a single Christmas season, and instead remained the volunteer organist for the last 19 years. As an accomplished organist and pianist, Floyd has brought outstanding musical performances for anyone present at church on Sundays. In addition to his Sunday services, Floyd was the pioneer of the White Mountain Musical Arts and the Bach Festival, which celebrated its 30th year this past summer. Floyd is highly regarded amongst his peers and the main reason the Mount Washington Valley has been fortunate enough to host so many talented musicians of his field for such little money is a result of their respect for him. He’s also an accomplished hiker, who’s summited all of New Hampshire’s 4000 footers, and this passion has moved him to volunteer at the Mount Washington Observatory.
The second recipient of the White Mountains Treasure Award are Shirley and Richard Van Dyne, described as mainstays of Memorial Hospital’s entrance for 10 years – and that’s just the beginning. The list of Shirley & Richard Van Dyne’s combined service is extensive, and includes (but is probably not limited to) helping with Tin Mountain Conservation Center, North Conway Community Center, MWV Mud Bowl, Volvo Tennis Tournament, RSVP of Carroll County, The Salvation Army, Boy Scouts of America, John Fuller School reading programs, Madison Elementary School, the Albany Historical Society, Girl Scouts of America, Meals on Wheels, blood drives with the American Red Cross, the Albany Civic Group, and Memorial Hospital. The Van Dyne’s have logged in over 2500 hours of service to Memorial Hospital alone over these last ten years, and their service to the community through the aforementioned organizations spans more than 50 years.
The Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award was created to honor of the late Steve Eastman, (1949-2008) former MWVCC board member, longtime community leader and former Mountain Ear newspaper founding publisher and editor, this award recognizes a strong community leader. Steve’s business life personified what it means to give back to the community. Through his editorial coverage and sponsorship, Steve Eastman loved to promote the performing arts and appreciated what they did to enrich the cultural life of Mt. Washington Valley. The Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award is given annually by members of the Eastman family to the person who personifies Steve’s passion and zest for life, for helping the community, and for carrying on Steve’s love for Mt Washington Valley.
This year’s Steve Eastman Award recipient is Cindy Russell. Cindy Russell, 76, stepped down prior to this past season as executive director of Arts Jubilee, the valley’s celebration of the performing arts. She passed the baton to Bob Sheehan, 27, her understudy the past three years, who has the title of arts administrator. Russell stayed on for the summer, serving as his transitional mentor. Russell was a music educator in New Jersey and Connecticut before her family moved to North Conway in the early 1980s. She taught music at the Josiah Bartlett Elementary School in Bartlett and the Kenneth E. Brett School in Tamworth. n 1982, she was asked to help plan an outdoor concert in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the Volvo Tennis Tournament. “The concert was a huge success, with phone calls and letters coming to the chamber office afterward, requesting that it become an annual affair,” Russell recalled, and from this concert, Arts Jubilee became a sponsored summer event in Mt Washington Valley. According to Cindy Russell, Arts Jubilee’s mission has remained the same since the beginning: to bring live performing arts rarely found outside metropolitan centers to the residents and visitors of the greater Mount Washington Valley. The concert series evolved over the years and has been held at Cranmore Mountain since 2006. Formerly executive director of the Mount Washington Valley Musical Arts Association, she continues to promote the organization’s events, including the annual Bach Festival through her website, mwvevents.com. In the past, she has managed the town of Conway’s Fourth of July Celebration, Mt. Washington Valley New Year’s Festival; Polar Express and the Jackson, NH Bicentennial Celebration in 2000.
She also chaired the Conway Whitaker Homesite Masterplan Committee for the Whitaker property at the head of North Conway’s Main Street and was also the driving force behind the creation of the Connie Davis Watson Park, located at the corner of Main and Pine Streets in North Conway Village.
For more information about the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce call at 603-356-5701 or visit MtWashingtonValley.org.