STEVENSVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce recognized a number of local businesses and business leaders for their contributions to the community at its Pinnacle Business Awards breakfast at the Kent Manor Inn on Thursday, Nov. 21.

The Leader of Excellence Award went to Dale Walls of Corsica Technologies for growing the company into one of the top IT firms in the nation. Community leader, business owner, and former delegate Wheeler Baker received the Legacy Award for providing outstanding leadership and service to the county over many years.

There was a tie for the Spirit of Caring Award between Ramon Villatoro of the Animal Welfare League and Ebb Tide Tent and Party Rental, represented by Cara Comegys. Both organizations received awards. The Innovative Partnership Award was won by Rob Marsh of Wye River Marine, the Environmental Stewardship Award by Mark Williams of Earth Data, and Tidewater Cleaning Service received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Chamber chairman Bill Caughey said the Leader of Excellence Award goes to an individual who has “demonstrated throughout the year the exceptional qualities that are needed in managing a successful business or organization.” Walls, he said, started Corsica Technologies as a part-time business and turned it into a full-time one that is now one of the largest IT service businesses in the nation employing over 200 people in several locations around the country. Walls said he was surprised to receive the award and called it quite an honor.

Baker has been a leader in Queen Anne’s County in operating his own business, serving as a county commissioner and state delegate, and being involved with a number of civic organizations and functions.

“He is very dedicated to his community, such as Chesterwye Center where he has held the position of president of the board,” Caughey said.

Baker, who operates Baker’s Liquors in Chester, thanked the chamber for selecting him for the award.

Both Ramon Villatoro of the Animal Welfare League and Ebb Tide Tent and Party Rental’s Cara Comegys were presented with their Spirit of Caring awards.

Villatoro was cited for his work in bringing AWL “back from the dark times,” and instituting many improvements, said Caughey.

Family-owned Ebb Tide was singled out for its dedication to the local community and for bringing on board new customers.

“They are especially proud of the fact that being locally based, they are able to give their customers the personal attention that some of their competitors are unable to provide,” said Caughey.

The Environmental Stewardship Award went to Mark Williams of Earth Data, a firm that has built a reputation as a quality water resources and environmental consulting company. Williams, however, was unable to attend the award ceremony. His firm is currently working on the Southern Kent Island Sewer Project.

Rob Marsh of Wye River Marine received the Innovative Partnership Award for his role in working with Chesapeake College in creating a marine pathway program for educating those interested in going into the marine trades.

Tidewater Cleaning, represented by Kathy Lill and Nicole Dull, was presented with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for its leadership in managing all facets of a business and providing custom-tailored services and well as traditional services.

The name of the award ceremony was changed from Excellence in Business to Pinnacle Business Awards in conjunction with the chamber’s upcoming 40th anniversary. Caughey said the chamber has had “a tremendous year this year” and has continued working on workforce developments, one of its top projects. It has also continued a partnership with the Queen Anne’s County school system, he said.

Legislative proclamations were presented to each award winner by Sen. Steve Hershey and Del. Steve Arentz, who assisted in handing out the awards.

The guest speaker for the awards breakfast was Mark Mhley, founder and CEO of Re4formed, LLC, an Annapolis-based firm that deals with farm and food waste and its potential for recycling to support waste reduction goals. Its operations grew out of earlier efforts by the Marine Corps to come up with renewable energy sources.

A retired naval aviator, Mhley told the chamber that veterans have much to offer local businesses and “crave the opportunity to serve the community.” He said they bring a new perspective to such business operations and he hopes that local businesses will support veteran in their business endeavors.

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