Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
The Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was named in honor of Helmuth and Evelyn Heise, founders of Will O' the Wisp and Wisp Resort, Maryland's only downhill ski resort. The Heise Award is given to one business owner each year that has shown similar entrepreneurial qualities. The criteria for nomination include the following:
- Open to business owners including partners/families that originated, developed, and/or significantly expanded business
- Willingness to take risks with possibility of losing all
- Involved in the community
- High ethical standards
- Nominee must be a member of the Chamber of Commerce
- Demonstrated leadership (through one or more of the following): 1) By overcoming a formidable problem that threatened the business’s existence 2) By showing business acumen through embarking on a creative, insightful or overlooked opportunity that makes important contributions to Garrett County’s business environment 3) Through substantive community impact
The Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award Committee, composed of previous winners, will choose 3 finalists and present them to the Board with a recommended winner. Then the Chamber Board of Directors will choose the winner. The winner of the annual award is announced during the Annual Chamber Dinner and Meeting on Thursday, June 7, 2018.
You can make a nomination for the 2018 Heise Award by using the online form below or by downloading the form HERE and faxing it to 301-334-8073, emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailing it to Garrett County Chamber of Commerce,15 Visitors Center Drive, McHenry, MD 21541. Nomination submissions due by EOD on Friday, April 30.
2017 Heise Award Winner
We are very pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award is Nancy Railey of Railey Mountain Lake Vacations.
After graduating from Garrett College, Nancy Railey planted roots and began a family in Garrett County in the 1980s. Nancy took $300, and an idea for renting family cabins, and turned it into a family business that later became Railey Mountain Lake Vacations, one of the largest vacation rental home companies in Garrett County.
Nancy became sole owner of Railey Mountain Lake Vacations in 2007. Serving over 90,000 guests through their doors each year, and employing thousands of people over the years, Railey Mountain Lake
Vacations continues to grow, and innovate.
Nancy and Railey Mountain Lake Vacations sponsor numerous events in the county each year including the annual Autumn Glory Festival, Fire on the Mountain July 4th Fireworks Display, the 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships and the Savageman Triathlon, among others.
Along with sponsoring events, Nancy has also led to the creation of one of the area’s most successful events, the Garrett County Gran Fondo. She single-handedly convinced Greg Safko to create the Garrett County Gran Fondo and was a founding volunteer on the planning committee. Now a successful fundraising event managed by Garrett Trails, the Garrett County Gran Fondo brings thousands of racers to the area in June with the proceeds benefitting the area’s hiking and biking trails.
Nancy, using her leadership and connections with the Vacation Rental Managers Association, also helped lead the initiative to have Garrett County selected as one of the destinations featured in the PBS series “Getting Away Together”. The Garrett County episode of “Getting Away Together” was viewed by millions of people around the United States, providing invaluable exposure for the area. Nancy has served on the board of Adventure Sports Center International and the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce and on the committees for the 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships and Chamber’s Marketing Roundtable. Nancy has also supported local charities and causes year after year, including the Garrett County Humane Society and HART for Animals. Nancy’s innovation, leadership and investments have helped to drive the tourism industry in Garrett County.
Past Recipients of the Heise Award
Railey Mountain Lake Vacations
Heilig's Plumbing & Electrical, LLC
Halian & Associates Landscapes
Skip & Linda Carr
CLS Ventures, Inc.
Book Mark'et & Antique Mezannine
Phenix Technologies, Inc.
Savage River Lodge
Michael Deligatti, Sr.
Arrowhead, Garrett 8 Cinema, Uno Chicago Grill
Brenda's Pizzeria & Trader's Coffee House
Dave & Mimi Demaree
Demaree Inflatable Boats, Inc.
State Farm Insurace
Will & Sharon Roszell
Garrett Automotive Company
Jim Flanigan, Sr.
Johnny's Bait House
Bill's Marine Service
Jonathan 'Smiley' Kessler
Smiley's Pizzeria & Fun Zone
Golden Ambassador Award
Winners of the presitgious Autumn Glory Festival Golden Ambassador award have made major contributions to tourism in Garrett County and the Autumn Glory Festival. The winner of the Golden Ambassador award is announced at the Annual Autumn Glory Kick Off Reception.
The nomination form for the 2017 Golden Ambassador is now available. To nominate someone for this prestigious award, please complete the nomination form and return it by September 8 by emailing it to email@example.com, faxing it to 301.387.2080 attention Sarah or by mailing it to, or dropping it off at, The Garrett County CHamber of Commerce 15 Visitors Center Drive McHenry, MD 21541.
2017 Golden AmbassadorPatty Manown Mash was named as the 2017 Honorary Golden Ambassador of the 50th Annual Autumn Glory Festival. The announcement was made at the Annual Autumn Glory Kick-Off Reception on October 11, 2017, sponsored by Clear Mountain Bank. Garrett Regional Medical Center, a proud affiliate of WVU Medicine, is the sponsor of the 50th Annual Autumn Glory Festival.The Golden Ambassador is awarded by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce to a person who has contributed to and supported tourism in Garrett County. The Golden Ambassador is selected by a committee of former Golden Ambassador winners.After moving to Garrett County in 1979, Patty became a salesperson for what was then the Village Inn. There, Patty worked as a one-woman show to bring groups and bus tours to Garrett County; she even served as a greeter and step-on tour guide at a group’s arrival, setting up activities and entertainment. Patty also volunteered to work many tourism trade shows to promote the area. With her role at the Village Inn, she was elected to the board of the Garrett County Promotion Council and she helped Garrett County gain a statewide presence by developing a relationship with the Maryland Office of Tourism.Following her stint at the Village Inn, Patty spent over 20 years working for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as Public Affairs Officer for Western Maryland. During that time, she promoted Garett County to visitors and guests, provided information about the area’s state parks and advocated for Garrett County to state decision-makers.Since her retirement in 2011, Patty continues to fulfill the role as ambassador to visitors to Garrett County. She has served as a greeter and assisted in the retail store at Wisp Resort where she provides information about the area to guests. She also serves as a step-on tour guide and group tour leader for tour buses that come to Garrett County and assisted with the Autumn Glory Craft & Gift Show at the Garrett County Fairgrounds.Patty has served as the Chair of the Chamber’s Marketing Roundtable Committee and she currently chairs the Diplomats. She serves on the Chamber’s Board of Directors on the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area Advisory Board. Patty’s dedication and passion to share the beauty of the area have elevated the tourism industry in Garrett County.Winners of the Golden Ambassador award have contributed to tourism in Garrett County and the Autumn Glory Festival.
Past Recipients of the Golden Ambassador
Patty Manown Mash
Mike Dreisbach & Jan Russell
Edwin S. Walthall
Asa M. McCain, Jr.
Theodore J. Lascaris
Ernest J. Gregg, Jr.
Dr. Alta E. Schrock
Helmuth M. Heise
R. Rudy, Jr.
Rev. I. Lynn Beckman
2017 Volunteer of the Year Winner
Of the more than 100 volunteers there is always someone that seems to go above and beyond the call of duty. Therefore, we annually present a Volunteer of the Year award to recognize an individual member’s outstanding service to your Garrett County Chamber of Commerce for a particular program year. This year’s recipient gave countless hours serving your Chamber and the community over the past 12 months. The 2016-2017 Volunteer of the Year is Brenda McDonnell of Brenda's Pizzeria. She served on the Heise committee and the Chamber’s Legislative Affairs Committee, and attended nearly every single HR Roundtable meeting. However, it was her drive and commitment to fight for small businesses that has earned this honor. Brenda spent enormous amounts of time driving to Annapolis, testifying in front of committees, sending written testimony, making calls and sending emails, all for the purpose of communicating the needs of small businesses to members. Every time she received a Call to Action from the Chamber, she promptly responded. And not only did Brenda respond, she inspired her staff and friends to respond, teaching them how important their voice is in shaping policy and laws. Her dedication and commitment to the Garrett County business community is unrelenting and we cannot thank her enough.
Past Recipients of the Volunteer of the Year Award
Railey Mountain Lake Vacations, Chair of the Autumn Glory Festival Committee
1st United Bank & Trust, Chair of the Diplomat Committee
Mark Stutzman, Laura Stutzman, Leigh Clarke, Paula Yudelevit, Emily Newman Edwards, Clint McCabe, Jonathan Kessler
Branding Study Committee
Long & Foster Realty
Diplomat of the Year Award
The Diplomats act as greeters at Chamber events, deliver new member packets, deliver membership directories, participate in new member orientations, attend Ribbon Cuttings/Grand Openings/Ground Breakings and present First Dollar of Profit certificates to new businesses. The Diplomat must be employed by a Chamber Member or the owner of a member business, must have been a chamber member for at least one year and employed with their business for at least 6 months. For their efforts, the Diplomats have the opportunity to compete with each other for the title of Diplomat of the Year. The Diplomat of the Year Award was established in 2015.
The Diplomat of the Year is determined through a points system given for membership packet distribution, Business After Hours Attendance, Business Before Hours Attendance, Ribbon Cuttings, Ground Breakings, Grand Opening & First Dollar of Profit Presentation Attendance, Recruiting New Members and Distribution of the Community Profile & Membership Directory.
2017 Diplomat of the Year Winner
This year’s Diplomat of the year has attended 7 out of 10 Business After Hours, 3 out of 6 Business Before Hours, 16 out of 24 Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies, 4 out of 6 Diplomat meetings, helped in the distribution of the Community Profile & Membership Directories, achieving a total of 201 points. We are very happy to present the honor of 2017 Diplomat of the Year to Patty Manown Mash of Pine Lodge Steakhouse for the second year in a row.
Past Recipients of the Diplomat of the Year Award
Patty Manown Mash
Pine Lodge Steak House
Patty Manown Mash
Pine Lodge Steak House
First United Bank & Trust