Celebrating Entrepreneurial Excellence

The MCE Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Recognizing Resilience and Vision 

The MCE Entrepreneur of the Year Award seeks to honor an individual who mirrors this spirit of enterprise. We’re looking for entrepreneurs who have braved the uncertainties of starting their own business, have contributed to job creation, and hold a visionary plan for the future. This award celebrates the relentless, the undeterred, the tireless fighters ready to take on the world, even in the face of exhaustion. Nominees should be business owners residing in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot, or Dorchester counties.

Additional Accolades

Alongside the monetary prize, the winner will be celebrated at MCE’s Annual Awards Banquet. In 2021, we introduced two new awards focusing on workforce development and innovation, recognizing two additional small business owners each year.

Acknowledging Our Supporters

Our heartfelt gratitude extends to Palmer & Sandy Gillis and the many local business professionals who have elevated this award to its distinguished status.

If you have any questions or if you want to learn more about the award, please contact Dory Hayman at [email protected] or call 410-546-1900 ext., 122.

What does MCE & the MCE Women’s Business Center Do?

We Encourage, nurture, and inspire entrepreneurs and help grow small businesses across the state of Maryland.

How You Make a Difference

The MCE Entrepreneur of the Year Award is more than a title – it comes with a financial incentive. Every entrepreneur knows the importance of capital, and our aim is to progressively increase this award fund. A panel comprising community leaders will administer this fund, selecting winners based on established criteria. At MCE, we excel in empowering, nurturing, and inspiring entrepreneurs. Now, it’s time to celebrate and financially reward the exceptional, igniting the spark in future entrepreneurial leaders.

Eligibility and Recognition

  • The nominee should be a small business owner or a principal partner actively managing the business.
  • The business must be situated in one of the specified Eastern Shore counties.
  • The company should have a workforce of 100 employees or fewer.
  • The business must have been locally established for a minimum of two years.
  • The nomination should be for a for-profit entity, in good standing with the State of Maryland.

Nominate a Deserving Entrepreneur

To nominate a candidate, please visit our website to access the nomination form, available for online submission or as a downloadable Word document. Business owners are welcome to self-nominate using the application form. MCE representatives will reach out to nominees for further details about their ventures.

Further Inquiries

For any more information about the award, please contact Dory Hayman at [email protected] or call 410-546-1900 ext. 122.

Forms

 

2023 Entrepreneur of the Year Winner

Focus Point Behavioral Health

This year, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development, was awarded to an outstanding leader in the health sector, Nicole Odom-Hardnett, Ph.D. As the founder and CEO of Focus Point Behavioral Health located in Princess Anne, Maryland, Dr. Odom-Hardnett has exemplified the spirit of community service and dedication that this award embodies. Focus Point Behavioral Health has been instrumental in providing comprehensive behavioral health services to a diverse range of populations. Their commitment to offering intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment, various outpatient services, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs (PRP) for both adults and adolescents, Mental Health Therapy, Supportive Employment Services, and DUI/DWI education programs have made a substantial impact on community wellness.

Palmer Gillis, Victoria Webb (accepting on behalf of Nicole Odom-Hardnett, Ph.D., and Maurice Ames, Executive Director of MCE.

2023 MCE Innovator Award Winner
Chelsea Lahey
Galaxy Gymnastics

2023 MCE Workforce Development Award Winner
David Tawes
Absolute Plumbing, Heating & Cooling

Delegate Chris Adams and Senator Mary Beth Carozza Present Citations to our Award Recipients

Maryland Capital Enterprises, Inc. (MCE) announces that in partnership with esteemed local businessman Mr. Palmer Gillis, we have hosted the twelfth annual MCE Palmer Gillis Entrepreneur of the Year Award ceremony. The event took place on November 2, 2023, at Salisbury University in the Assembly Hall of the Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons building. The ceremony recognized the exceptional achievements of local entrepreneurs who have made significant contributions to the economy and community of the Eastern Shore.

This year, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development, was awarded to an outstanding leader in the health sector, Nicole Odom-Hardnett, Ph.D. As the founder and CEO of Focus Point Behavioral Health located in Princess Anne, Maryland, Dr. Odom-Hardnett has exemplified the spirit of community service and dedication that this award embodies. Focus Point Behavioral Health has been instrumental in providing comprehensive behavioral health services to a diverse range of populations. Their commitment to offering intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment, various outpatient services, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs (PRP) for both adults and adolescents, Mental Health Therapy, Supportive Employment Services, and DUI/DWI education programs have made a substantial impact on community wellness.

We were also pleased to honor Chelsea Lahey, Owner of Galaxy Gymnastics in Salisbury, MD, with the Innovator Award, sponsored by Unique Styles Custom Home Builders. Her entrepreneurial spirit and innovation within the field of gymnastics instruction have raised the bar for athletic and personal development in our area.

The Workforce Development Award, sponsored by Worcester County Tourism & Economic Development, was awarded to a true leader in the vocational community, David Tawes, owner and president of Absolute Plumbing, Heating and Cooling in Fruitland, Maryland. Mr. Tawes’ dedication to workforce excellence and his commitment to providing top-notch services have set a stellar example of leadership and community development.

A Very Special Thank You to our Award Sponsors:

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, Baltimore Community Lending, The Bank of Delmarva, Gillis Gilkerson, The City of Salisbury, Delmarva Power, Farmers Bank of Willards, The First Shore Federal, Hebron Savings Bank, iHeart Media, M&T Bank, Salisbury University’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, PNC Bank, Salisbury University, Salisbury Wicomico Economic Development, Toroid Transformers, Toroid Panels and Harnesses, Arcon Welding, Spicer Brothers, Value Carpet One, and Solomon’s Financial Solutions.

Through these awards, Maryland Capital Enterprises, Inc. continues its mission to support and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives on the Eastern Shore. We believe in the power of entrepreneurship to transform lives and communities.

Our Past Winners

2022 Jeannie, Brittany & Barry Mariner
Windmill Creek Vineyard and Winery

2021  Dr. Amy Heger
The Night Watch Childcare Center

2020 Anthony Darby
Peninsula Wellness/Peninsula Alternative Health

2019 Lacey Coleman
Coastal Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning

2018 Jeremy Norton
Roadie Joe’s Bar & Grill

2017 Jaime Windon
Lyon Distilling, LLC

 

2016 Johnny Shockley
Hooper’s Island Oyster Aquaculture

2015 Chris Eccleston
Delmarva Veteran Builders

2014 Dr. Kerry Palakanis
Crisfield Clinic

2013 Ryan Miller
The Deli, Last Call Liquors, R. Miller Properties and The Monkey Barrel

2012 Pete Roskovich
Adam’s the Place for Ribs & Black Diamond Catering

Sponsors