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  • Awards


  • Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Awards

    Heise Award Golden Ambassador Volunteer of the Year
  • 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 Meeting & Dinner.

     

  • 2021 Heise Award Winners

    The winner of the 2021 Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was announced during the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Membership Meeting & Dinner on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Martin Heise made the presentation to this year’s winners, Jodi & Joe Refosco and Chad Taylor, owners of Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales. 

    Jodi, Joe, and Chad began the business in 2008 during a time of significant economic downturn. With a strong belief in their business and the area, they made it through that difficult time and the company flourished. Starting with just one home, Taylor-Made now partners with nearly 450 homeowners. 

    Jodi, Joe, and Chad’s commitment to community is part of the company culture, and employees are encouraged to volunteer. Taylor-Made shows support for a variety of non-profit organizations, local events, sports teams, and more. They are equally committed to the 200+ employees that make up their team. 

    The COVID-19 pandemic created a great deal of uncertainty with the shutdown of vacation rentals in the area. Jodi, Joe, and Chad clearly understood the risks presented by the virus and wanted to protect the community and their employees. However, the lack of income was a great challenge and they worried about the future of the families that depend on them. When vacation rentals re-opened, plans were in place to do so as safely as possible. They spent many hours consulting with industry experts and working with the management team to develop new best practices for employees and guests. It is a huge understatement to say that the past year has been challenging for business owners. Jodi, Joe, and Chad remained positive throughout everything.

    “I am very excited to see Jodi, Joe, and Chad receive the 2021 Heise Award and be recognized for their business accomplishments and contributions to our community,” said Regina Sweitzer, Chamber Interim President & CEO. “Their leadership, as a major player in the tourism industry during the COVID-19 crisis this past year, exemplifies entrepreneurship. Their passion for promoting Garrett County and desire to give back to the community truly deserve acknowledgement. Congratulations Jodi, Joe, and Chad.”

     

     

  • Past Recipients of the Heise Award

    2021
    Jodi & Joe Refosco and Chad Taylor
    Taylor Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales
    2020
    Steve Green
    High Mountain Sports
    2019
    Hugh Umbel
    Bear Creek Traders, Legacy Home Corp., Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, McHenry Beverage Shoppe
    2018
    Tom & Sara Jane Kuhn
    Funland Family Fun Center
    2017
    Nancy Railey 
    Railey Mountain Lake Vacations 
    2016
    Robert Heilig
    Heilig's Plumbing & Electrical, LLC
    2015
    Brian Branthoover 
    Halian & Associates Landscapes 
    2014
    Skip & Linda Carr 
    CLS Ventures, Inc. 
    2013
    Judy Devlin
    Book Mark'et & Antique Mezannine
    2012
    Frank Vitez
    Phenix Technologies, Inc.
    2011 
    Jan Russell
    Savage River Lodge
    2010
    Michael Deligatti, Sr.
    Arrowhead, Garrett 8 Cinema, Uno Chicago Grill
    2009
    Bill Meagher
    Lakeside Creamery
    2008  
    Brenda McDonnell
    Brenda's Pizzeria & Trader's Coffee House
    2007
    Dave & Mimi Demaree
    Demaree Inflatable Boats, Inc.
    2006
    Rob Michael
    State Farm Insurace
    2005
    Barry Rush
    Rush Services
    2004
    Will & Sharon Roszell
    Garrett Automotive Company
    2003
    Jim Flanigan, Sr.
    NuWay Interiors
    2002 
    Johnny Marple
    Johnny's Bait House
    2001
    Olen Beitzel
    Beitzel Corporation
    2000
    Bill Sisler
    Bill's Marine Service
    1999
    Jonathan 'Smiley' Kessler
    Smiley's Pizzeria & Fun Zone

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  • Golden Ambassador Award

    At the Annual Autumn Glory Kick Off Event, the Golden Ambassador is announced. The winner of this award has made major contributions to tourism in Garrett County. Only Chamber members may nominate fellow Chamber members for this prestigious title.

    To nominate someone for this award, please download and complete the nomination form and mail it to Sarah Duck, Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, 15 Visitors Center Drive McHenry, MD 21541 by Friday, September 10, 2021. The winner will be announced at the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce's annual Autumn Glory Kick-Off Event on October 7, 2020.

    2021 Golden Ambassador Sponsor: 

  • 2020 Golden Ambassador

    The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce has named Terry Helbig as the 2020 Honorary Golden Ambassador of the 53rd Annual Autumn Glory Festival. The announcement was made at the Chamber’s Virtual Autumn Glory Kick-Off Event on October 7, 2020. The Golden Ambassador sponsor is Mlend and the Platinum Sponsors of the Kick-Off Event were First United Bank & Trust and Premier Power Solutions, LLC. Patriot Automotive Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram: King of the 4WD is the title sponsor of the 53rd 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.

    “On behalf of the Chamber and the tourism community, I offer sincere congratulations to Terry on being named the 2020 Honorary Golden Ambassador,” said Nicole Christian, Chamber President and CEO. “Terry is so deserving of this recognition. His passion and commitment for turning the Oakland train station into the B&O museum has created a wonderful experience for visitors and residents. He is a humble servant of this community and I am pleased that we are able to show appreciation for his tireless efforts.”

    Terry was born and raised in Garrett County and learned the insurance industry from his father, James Helbig, who worked at an insurance agency in downtown Oakland. Terry founded his own insurance company, Helbig Insurance Agency, in downtown Oakland in 2006 with his late wife, Kathy. With a keen interest in local history and a desire to share that history with residents and visitors, Terry worked with the town of Oakland over the course of several years to turn the town’s 1884 railroad station into a museum. Since the creation of the Oakland B&O Museum, Terry has directed its remodeling and helped to create its exhibits. The Oakland B&O Museum and Train station now features local artifacts celebrating Garrett County’s history, hosts rotating exhibits and showcases artifacts from the B&O Museum in Baltimore. Since the museum’s opening, Terry has hosted a wide variety of groups to the museum and given tours to residents and guests. In addition to hosting visitors to the museum, Terry has also recently worked to obtain funding for the purchasing, and restoration, of a steam locomotive for display on the grounds of the Museum; that steam locomotive is now a popular addition to the B&O Train Station and Museum.  

    A staunch supporter of Oakland, Terry currently serves as a Board Member of the Garrett County Historical Society, where he has been an active member for over 25 years. The Historical Society Museum houses a treasure trove of exhibits related to the founding of Garrett County, the history of the area and the way of life for Garrett County citizens from years past. The Historical Society Museum features 9 rooms dedicated to Garrett County history including Arts & Recreation, Schools, Hotels, Military, Cabin, B&O Railroad, Garrett, Industrial, and Victorian. Most recently, Terry worked to obtain a state legislative grant to correct issues from the Wilson Creek Channel that runs under the Historical Society’s Museum building, ensuring this popular historical site remains open for years to come.

    Terry is a current member of the Oakland-Mountain Lake Park Lions Club, where he previously served as President; a charter member of the BPO Elks and currently serves as the Chairman of the Oakland B&O Museum, the committee operating the 1884 station for Oakland. Terry has served as a council member on the Oakland Town Council since 2018, after previous stints in the 1980s and from 2006 – 2009. Terry is also a member of the newly formed Oakland Cemetery Committee with a mission to help preserve local monuments.

  • Past Recipients of the Golden Ambassador

    2020
    Terry Helbig
       
    2019
    Bob Boal
       
    2018
    Steve Green
       
    2017
    Patty Manown Mash
       
    2016
    Nancy Railey
    2000
    Karen Myers
    2015
    Mike Dreisbach & Jan Russell
    1999
    Elaine McDonald
    2014
    Jim Johnson
    1998
    Jerry Thayer
    2013
    Rosie Versteegen
    1997
    Edwin S. Walthall
    2012
    Rob Michael 
    1996
    Asa M. McCain, Jr.
    2011
    Don Sincell 
    1995
    Bill Sisler
    2010
    Pam Trickett
    1994
    Jonny Marple
    2009
    Robert Rudy
    1993
    Art Naylor
    2008
    Patricia Kittle
    1992
    Theodore J. Lascaris
    2007
    Ruth Beitzel
    1991
    Ernest J. Gregg, Jr.
    2006
    Judy Devlin
    1990
    Dr. Alta E. Schrock
    2005
    Bill Grant
    1989
    Helmuth M. Heise
    2004
    Evelyn Heise
    1988
    R. Rudy, Jr.
    2003
    Jeff McCauley
    1987
    Rev. I. Lynn Beckman
    2002
    Randy Rodeheaver
    1986
    R.T. Thayer
    2001
    Jerry Geisler
    1985
    Tom Butscher

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  • Volunteer of the Year Award

    The Volunteer of the Year Award was established in 2011 and recognizes individuals who have provided outstanding service to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. The recipient of this award is selected by the staff of the Chamber and recognized at the Annual Dinner.


  • 2020 Volunteer of the Year Winner 

    The winner of the 2019-2020 Volunteer of the Year award was announced at the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce virtual Membership Meeting, held on Thursday, July 30, 2020.  Tim Bender, 2019-2020 Chair of the Board of the Chamber, made the presentation to this year’s winner, Connor Norman of Norman Networking and Promotions. 

    Connor Norman took over as Chair of the Garrett County Diplomats in only his second year on the committee. He has filled this role for the last two years setting the example of how to serve the community as a Diplomat. This is evidenced by his earning Diplomat of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. He attends nearly every Chamber event, personally greeting attendees and helping new members make valuable personal connections. The welcoming and inviting nature he displays helps new businesses and new chamber members feel at ease. Connor has taken on an active role in the recruitment, onboarding, and retention of Chamber members. He uses his experience in growing his business through the Chamber to demonstrate how other members can benefit as well. 

  • Past Recipients of the Volunteer of the Year Award

     
     
     
    2020
    Connor Norman
    Norman Networking & Promotions
    2019
    Chuck Olsson
    First United Bank & Trust
    2018
    Peggy Jamison
    Mayor, Town of Oakland
    2017
    Brenda McDonnell 
    Brenda's Pizzeria
    2016
    Jeremy Bittner
    Railey Mountain Lake Vacations, Chair of the Autumn Glory Festival Committee
    2015
    Sarena Rodeheaver
    1st United Bank & Trust, Chair of the Diplomat Committee 
    2014
    Mark Stutzman, Laura Stutzman, Leigh Clarke, Paula Yudelevit, Emily Newman Edwards, Clint McCabe, Jonathan Kessler
    Branding Study Committee
    2013
    Jim Christie
    Thrasher Engineering
    2012
    Bob Carney
    Long & Foster Realty
    2011 
    Bill Meagher
    Lakeside Creamery

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  • 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.

  • 2021 Diplomat of the Year Winner

    The winner of the 2020-2021 Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Diplomat of the Year award was announced at the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Membership Meeting & Dinner, held on Thursday, July 22, 2021.  Paul Cornish, FY21 Chair of the Chamber Board of Directors, made the presentation to this year’s winner, Jessica Dijak of Solnet Web and IT.  

    As a Chamber Diplomat, Jessica made member outreach calls, attended Diplomat meetings, helped in the distribution of both prospect and new member packets, attended 2 ribbon cutting ceremonies, and referred 3 new members to the Chamber, achieving a total of 214 points. This is Jessica’s first year as a Garrett County Diplomat. 

    “Jessica has been a true asset to the Diplomat committee and an enthusiastic ambassador for the organization and our mission,” said Nick Sharps, Chamber Membership Development Manager. “There was stiff competition amongst the Diplomats for the award this year, in spite of the pandemic, and Jessica’s efforts stood out as truly exemplary.” 

  • Past Recipients of the Diplomat of the Year Award

    2021
    Jessica Dijak
    Solnet Web and IT
    2020
    Connor Norman
    Norman Networking and Promotions
    2019
    Connor Norman
    Norman Networking and Promotions
    2018
    Patty Manown Mash
    Pine Lodge Steak House
    2017
    Patty Manown Mash
    Pine Lodge Steak House 
    2016
    Patty Manown Mash
    Pine Lodge Steak House
    2015
    Sarena Rodeheaver
    First United Bank & Trust