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Entrepreneur Of The Year

Maryland Capital Enterprises annual Entrepreneur of the Year Award is named in honor of one of our very own local business owners that truly embodies that great entrepreneurial spirit! Palmer Gillis, a Salisbury native, has spent the last 37 years building his construction company into the one of the largest general contracting firms on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Along the way, he continues to give back through public service, including as an elected member of the Salisbury City Council and as a board member for numerous charitable causes and foundations. He has been a leading voice in trying to make his community a better place.

The winner of MCE’s Palmer Gillis Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be someone who has taken the risk of starting their own business, has created jobs, and has a business plan for the future. They have that fighting spirit that refuses to give up. They may be sleep-deprived and worn down, but they are ready to take on the world. The business owner must reside in one of the following counties: Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset ,Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot or Dorchester counties of the Eastern Shore. Nominations are open to the public.

How You Can Help

In recognizing this free spirit, MCE’s Palmer Gillis Entrepreneur of the Year Award will come with a monetary prize. The one thing all entrepreneurs need is capital. Our goal is to grow this award fund over time and reward our annual honorees with a substantial monetary prize. A panel of community leaders will oversee the distribution of the funds and the selection of the award winners based on a set of established criteria. Encouraging, nurturing, and inspiring entrepreneurs is what MCE does best. Now it’s time to publicly honor and reward the best of the best, in hopes that we inspire the next generation of great entrepreneurs.

Eligibility Criteria
  • Nominees must be a small business owner or majority partner involved in day-to-day operations of the business.
  • Business must be located in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot, or Dorchester counties.
  • The company must employ 100 employees or less
  • The business must have been established locally for at least two (2) years.
  • Must be a for-profit business
  • Businesses must be in good standing with the State of Maryland.

The award will come with a monetary prize and the winner will be announced at MCE’s Annual Awards Banquet!

“We are so grateful to Palmer Gillis and to a team of local business professionals who are helping us make this award a meaningful and important honor,” said Joe Morse, President, and CEO of MCE. “Encouraging, nurturing, and inspiring entrepreneurs is what MCE does best.”

To nominate a worthy candidate, please fill out the Nomination Form online or download the Word document located at the bottom of the page. Business owners can nominate themselves by filling out the Application Form. You can fill out the form online or download the Word document at the bottom of the page.

Please let your candidates know that representatives from MCE will be contacting them to get more information about their business.

If you have any questions or if you want to learn more about the award, please contact Lisa Layfield at or call 410-546-1900 ext., 122.


2020 Entrepreneur of the Year Winners

2020 EOY Winner-Anthony Darby, Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Alternative Health2020 EOY Winner: Anthony Darby, Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Alternative Health

2020 EOY Finalist-Dr. Amy Hegar Owner of The Night Watch Childcare2020 EOY Finalist: Dr. Amy Hegar, Owner of The Night Watch Childcare Center. Not pictured: Galen Gardner, owner of Trident Furnishings, Inc.

Maryland Capital Enterprises and the Women’s Business Center is pleased to announce that Anthony Darby, Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Wellness/Peninsula Alternative Health in Salisbury, Maryland, is the recipient of the 2020 MCE Palmer Gillis Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Runners up include Galen Gardner, Owner of Trident Furnishings, Inc. in Ocean City, Maryland, and Dr. Amy Heger, Chief Executive Officer of The Night Watch Childcare Center in Salisbury, Maryland.

Peninsula Wellness/Peninsula Alternative Health, Chief Executive Officer Anthony Darby

Doing business for four years, Peninsula Wellness/Peninsula Alternative Health moved into their beautiful new campus located at 1003 Mt. Hermon Road in Salisbury, MD, in September 2020. With their tagline, “Your Home for Holistic Empowerment,” their goals are to create a holistic patient model in which they lead their industry in patient-focused research and development projects, bring innovative products to market, and broaden their scope of services to continually improve the quality of service they offer to their patients.  According to their website,, their Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Darby, states that “Wellness to (me) is a philosophy and a way of living where you’re constantly bettering your mind, body, and spirit.” Mr. Darby also believes that the “best leaders and businesses set out to serve.” He currently participates in the Greater Salisbury Committee, the Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee, and supports many local nonprofits and City of Salisbury initiatives. Congratulations to  Anthony Darby and the entire Peninsula Wellness/Peninsula Alternative Health Team!

Trident Furnishings, Owner Galen Gardner

With several locations throughout Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Delaware, Trident Furnishing’s Owner, Galen Gardner, states that his employees are what differentiates his company from his competitors. Referring to his team as family, he says he wants the same people working for his 10 years from now so customers can come back and work with the same person year after year. Their website is Congratulations to Galen Gardner and his entire crew!

The Night Watch Childcare Center, Chief Executive Officer Dr. Amy Heger

Located at 547 Riverside Drive in Salisbury, Maryland, The Night Watch Childcare Center is Maryland’s only childcare center to exclusively offer overnight childcare. Dr. Heger states that her “business is about creating a resource for families who work nontraditional hours.” She also states that the “success of her business is measured by the quality of life of her staff.” Dr. Heger is involved in the Sustainability Advisory Committee for the City of Salisbury educating the community and other local businesses about green practices and the environment. Their website is Congratulations to Dr. Heger and her staff!

Maryland Capital Enterprises would also like to thank our generous sponsors, which include The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World of Dorchester County, Gillis Gilkerson, PNC Bank, Baltimore Community Lending, The Bank of Delmarva, The City of Salisbury, Delmarva Power, The First Shore Federal, Salisbury University’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, Hebron Savings Bank, iHeart Media, M&T Bank, Elks of Salisbury, Capital One, Business Finance Group, Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development, and Farmers Bank of Willards.


  • Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World logo
  • Baltimore Business Lending logo
  • The Bank of Delmarva logo
  • Gilles Gilkerson logo
  • City of Salisbury logo
  • Coastal Comfort logo
  • Capital One logo
  • Delmarva Power logo
  • Farmers Bank of Willards logo
  • First Shore Federal logo
  • Becker Morgan Group logo
  • Hebron Savings Bank logo
  • iHeartMEDIA logo
  • M&T Bank logo
  • Franklin P. Perdue School of Business logo
  • PNC logo
  • Salisbury University logo
  • Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development logo
  • WMDT 47 abc logo
  • Woodforest National Bank logo