PORTLAND, ME – On Wednesday, December 16, PROPEL Portland, the young professional’s chapter of the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce, hosted their Annual Ignition Awards in a new virtual format. Each year the Award ceremony celebrates local business owners, individuals, and leaders; companies, large and small, as well as outstanding young professionals.
PROPEL received more than 100 nominations from peers and community members in the Greater Portland area. Following the nomination process, the public submitted around 500 votes for the finalists, resulting in the selection of six winners. The votes for Adaptive Business of the Year were neck and neck; as a board, we felt both businesses were most deserving and voted to honor both businesses for their extremely impactful work during the pandemic.
“Although, we were forced to shift the event format to virtual, as a board, we felt it was more important than ever to recognize the outstanding efforts of the young professionals and businesses in our community,” explained Jillian Kanter, PROPEL President. “We are amazed at the flood of support we received from the community in nominating, voting for and honoring these extremely deserving individuals and businesses”
The 2020 Ignition Awards was sponsored by Maine Dentistry and Praxis Production Studios.
Special thank you to the Maine Cabin Masters for announcing our Maine Ambassador Award.
2020 Ignition Award Recipients
Young Professional of the Year, Nate Moody
Moody, a Retirement Investment Counselor at Lebel & Harriman, focuses on helping plan sponsors, create and implement education plans in order to encourage employee engagement, as well as working with plan participants directly to increase retirement outcomes. He also volunteers with Junior Achievement of Maine, Preble Street Soup Kitchen, and plays pick-up basketball with kids at Long Creek Youth Development Center.
Maine Ambassador of the Year, Nate Wildes
Wildes is the Executive Director of Live + Work in Maine, focused on raising awareness about the career opportunities and world-class quality of life experienced by those of us who live and work in Maine. Wildes, is also the co-founder of Flight Deck Brewing.
Community Leader of the Year, Julia Leighton
Leighton is the founder of the nonprofit, Let's Dia-beat This, which aims to soften the financial burden for families with children that have diabetes. Leighton hosts private fundraising events for families, volunteers for American Cancer Society’s Masquerade Ball committee, and has been serving as PROPEL’s In Focus Committee Chair- focused on raising funds and awareness for local nonprofits. Next week she is receiving the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.
Adaptive Business of the Year, Evergreen Credit Union
Evergreen Credit Union provided more Paycheck Protection Program loans to Southern Maine businesses than any other credit union in the state of Maine. Evergreen also provided free online financial education programs for members. In addition to supporting their members, Evergreen Credit Union supported their employees during the pandemic by offering flexible working schedules and an extra 40 hours of paid time off.
Adaptive Business of the Year, American Roots
American Roots is committed to supporting a better and more sustainable way of life while creating jobs and quality products in the United States. When the pandemic hit, they shifted their production to include personal protection equipment, including a custom reusable facemask.
Unsung Business Hero of the Year, Portland Sea Dogs.
The Portland Sea Dogs are a staple in the Greater Portland area and a pillar of the community. When the pandemic cancelled their 2020 baseball season, the Sea Dogs stood by all their employees both year-round and seasonal by committing to paying every employee who would have worked the 2020 season even though they did not play a single game of baseball.
About PROPEL Portland:
PROPEL’s mission is to help young people and businesses thrive in Maine. The PROPEL board accomplishes this by making Maine the best place to Network, Develop and Live as a young person or, in other words, to build relationships, learn continuously and celebrate leisure time. PROPEL develops programs to support these pillars and its members are the boots on the ground welcoming newcomers to the State. Visit www.portlandregion.com/propel to learn more.