Large Business of the Year
Nominees in this category are KV Chamber members and have 15 or more employees. Throughout their history in the Kennebec Valley, they must have demonstrated revenue growth and job creation. This business is recognized for excellence in its industry through its innovation, unparalleled customer service, staff development, and marketing practices. Their impact on the Kennebec Valley is measured through their community involvement and economic impact.
Woodlands Senior Living is a Maine-based, family-owned, and operated organization providing assisted living and memory care to the people of Maine. Woodlands Senior Living is dedicated to making each day the best day possible for every resident they serve while helping to bring peace of mind to the people who love them. At the core of what drives Woodlands Senior Living is making a meaningful difference in the lives of residents who are being treated with dignity and compassion; in the lives of family members who find comfort and relief in having a trusted partner in care; and in the lives of their staff.
Small Business of the Year
Nominees in this category are KV Chamber members and have 14 or fewer employees. Throughout their history in the Kennebec Valley, they must have demonstrated revenue growth and job creation. This business is recognized for excellence in its industry through its innovation, unparalleled customer service, staff development, and marketing practices. Their impact on the Kennebec Valley is measured through their community involvement and economic impact.
Sprague and Curtis Real Estate started in 1957 when William Sprague Sr. started selling real estate and opened the WW Sprague Agency. Today, Sprague and Curtis Real Estate is a small but mighty team of realtors who pride themselves on the experience of the transaction. They specialize in bringing people together – connecting the right people to the right resources, addressing the challenges with a can-do attitude, and finding the solutions. Sprague and Curtis is number one in real estate sales volume in Kennebec County and has been the area’s market leader for more than six decades while being one of the smallest teams of agents in Central Maine. One of their core values is to be good community citizens. They invest in local organizations, activities, and initiatives. They volunteer their time and provide financial resources to sports teams, schools, performing arts groups, environmental organizations, and more.
Community Service Award
Nominees in this category are KV Chamber members and active in bettering the Kennebec Valley. Their peers recognize them for their integrity and performance. Throughout their history, their track record of community leadership is evident.
Since opening its doors in 1981, the Augusta Food Bank has been providing nutritious food to some of the community’s most vulnerable citizens. With the opening of its new facility in 2017, the AFB more than doubled its storage capacity and added more programs and ways to distribute food. AFB also partners with other organizations, including area food pantries, recovery homes, youth centers, and senior living units, who prepare meals or have better access to distribute to those in need. With a full-time staff of three, the Augusta Food Bank is thankful for its more than 75 volunteers who contribute over 5,000 hours per year.
President's Circle Award
Nominees in this category are KV Chamber members that are active in the Kennebec Valley. Their impact on the Kennebec Valley is evident through their revenue growth and job creation. In addition, they are leaders in their industry and maintain a good business image in our community. The winner of this category will be decided LIVE with audience voting.
Winner - Gosline Insurance Group
The Gosline Insurance Group is the largest, locally owned, independent agency group in Central Maine, specializing in commercial insurance, personal insurance, trucking insurance, bonding, and financial services. In 1955, Walter Gosline founded Gosline-Murchie Agency in Gardiner. In 1973, Walter hired his son, E. Nelson Gosline. Later on, G. Nelson Gosline joined the agency and expanded it from one agency into 11 offices throughout Maine and a staff of nearly 50. Today, the fourth generation of the Gosline family is involved with the business. At Gosline Insurance Group, they are determined to give the best service in the insurance industry. At times, they may not be the least expensive insurance option, but the knowledge of the staff and the service provided outweighs the premium difference.
Finalist - Highbrow
Highbrow is a Maine-owned and operated cannabis company, specializing in high-quality flower, THC beverages, CBD products, and more. Founded in 2017, Highbrow grew from three basement grows to three medical storefronts and a 10,000-square-foot cultivation facility in the span of two and half years. The staff at Highbrow has also grown from three caregivers to more than 45 people, with more being added. Highbrow’s three medical storefronts are located in Manchester, Topsham, and Waldoboro. In January, they opened their first adult recreational use store in Rockland and will open a second in Bath this month. Additionally, Highbrow will be opening a 37,400-square-foot cultivation facility.
Finalist - Transco Business Technologies
Transco Business Technologies has evolved from a typewriter repair company founded in 1958 to a multi-faceted technology company with clients throughout Maine and New England. Transco Business Technologies has been proudly owned by the Xerox Corporation since 2007. In addition to being a provider of Xerox and Konica Minolta copiers and managed print services, Transco Business Technologies also has a cutting-edge suite of software solutions, including workflow management assessments, managed print programs, and IT and software solutions.
Nominees in this category are Kennebec Valley Chamber members and young professionals who have shown exemplary leadership in our region. In addition, these individuals are recognized for their long-term commitment to the betterment of the Kennebec Valley. The winner of this category will be decided LIVE with audience voting.
Finalist - Ranae L'Italien
Ranae graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in education and began her career as a preschool teacher at the Bangor YMCA. She has worked at the Kennebec Valley YMCA for 15 years, holding many titles including her current position as Chief Executive Officer. She has spent this time forming lasting relationships with community leaders and families. Ranae was awarded the KV YMCA’s Harry Lanphear Employee of the Year award in 2019. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Augusta Rotary Club and Healthy Communities of the Capital Area.
Winner - Shawn McLaughlin
Shawn began his career bartending at many of Boston’s top nightclubs and cocktail bars. Soon after, he became a marketing and sales director for many national spirit and wine brands. He was named Boston’s Male Bartender of the Year in 2008 and Most Beloved Bartender in 2009. His experience over the years culminated in the opening of State Lunch, a gastropub in downtown Augusta, with his partners. Despite opening as the pandemic unfolded, the restaurant has been greatly successful. His goal with every business he is involved with is to build a family that loves coming to work every day and making the restaurant guests feel special. At State Lunch, he has done just that with a motto of “work hard and be nice.”
Finalist - Katelyn Pushard
Katelyn Pushard has a passion for helping those in need. Shortly after graduating from the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in Special Education, Katelyn started as a Children’s Targeted Case Manager at the Children’s Center in Augusta. It was during this time that she fell in love with the agency, the work, and the families. After a few years, Katelyn became the Family Services Coordinator and, shortly thereafter, the Treatment Services Supervisor for an in-home program before being promoted to the Director of Development and Quality Improvement. Whether it be with a kind word or gesture, a silly joke, or the feeling of being understood and supported, Katelyn hopes to put a smile on someone’s face whenever possible. She wants to show her children and anyone else that you can spread positivity just as easily as negativity, so why not choose happiness, joy, and love for yourself and everyone else.