Synergize Awards Celebrate the Best of Sanford

May 3, 2016

The first annual Synergize Awards were held on Friday, April 29 at Mill 67 in Sanford and the event was, as advertised, "a celebration of community spirit". The crowd of attendees was a nice mix of young professionals and more seasoned individuals and there was a nice energy in the air as people connected with each other while enjoying delicious food and drink.

The evening's first award, the Mentor Award, went to Geoff Titherington of Bonanza Steakhouse for his 32 years as a local business leader and philanthropist. The award was accepted on his behalf by his wife, Rachel.

The Inspiration in Business award was given to Jeff Shain of Shain's of Maine for his innovative and community-minded business practices, including providing a meal on Thanksgiving for those who may not be able to afford their own, and for "Cheap Eats" nights, which allow families to enjoy an evening out without breaking the bank.

The Young Entrepreneur award went to Kelsey Quint of Dirty Dozen Donuts (shown below accepting her award), who is celebrating the fourth anniversary of her Sanford location this month. An interview with Kelsey will be featured in the May edition of the Growth Council's monthly newsletter. To sign up for the newsletter or to view our archive of past issues, click here.

Kelsey Quint, owner of Dirty Dozen Donuts in Sanford and Biddeford, accepts her Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the first annual Synergize Awards.The Mayor's Award was presented by Mayor Tom Cote to the YMCA for the organization's 75 years of service and widespread contributions to the community. David Mount, chair of the YMCA's board of directors, accepted the award on their behalf. Andy Orazio, CEO of the YMCA, showed a new video about the YMCA and its expansion project.

The Chamber of Commerce's Entrepreneur of the Year award was given to Heidi's Heavenly Pot Pies. Owner Heidi Maurais was visibly moved as she accepted her award from Chamber President Rick Stanley, and said she never imagined her business would be where it is today when she first started her business with only a couple of crock-pots.

The final award of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Mayor Cote to long-time Sanford resident Hazen Carpenter for his many years of service to the community. His list of contributions is long, but in his comments, Hazen made special note of one particular project: the renovation and rededication of the Memorial Gym. He spoke to the younger generation in the audience and beseeched them to make sure the building is cared for long into the future.

The evening's guest speaker was Michael Stanley, a Sanford native and graduate of Harvard, who is currently a third-year medical student in the Tufts University School of Medicine Maine Track Program and serves on the Massachusetts Medical Society's Committee on Global Health. He spoke about entrepreneurship and the way in which the right idea comes together at the right time and in the right place to make something happen. He illustrated his thoughts with stories of his travels around the globe.

Congratulations to all of the Synergize Awards winners - and congratulations to Synergize Sanford for organizing a wonderful evening to celebrate the best of Sanford!