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mail editorial - 3/8/02

Business awards event shows off area's best

Business awards event shows off area's best

March 08, 2002

Drawn in part by the possibility that a top federal official might be the event's mystery guest speaker, an estimated 400 people packed Hagerstown's Sheraton Four Points Wednesday night for the annual Washington County Business Awards. The program was an acknowledgment of the many local businesspeople who work hard day in and day out outside the glare of publicity.

The mystery guest turned out to the Clinton impersonator Tim Watters, who's a regular on the Tonight Show. His remarks were amusing, but the meat of the evening was the success stories related by emcee Tom Riford about the nominees and the winners.

Winners included the Schmankerl Stube Restaurant, a premier downtown attraction whose owner Charles Sekula has not only developed a fine eatery, but also become one of downtown's hardest-working boosters. John Barr, another business leader who gives his time to a variety of good causes, was also was honored for his firm, Ellsworth Electric.

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Then there was Cosmic Pet Products, which has grown from a small operation to the nation's leading supplier of catnip. Mack Trucks was also given the Innovation Award, reminding those who attended that firm has prospered after forming an innovative partnership with its union employees.

Other honorees included Hub Labels. Inc., which Riford noted has grown from a storefront with a single press to the nation's premier supplier of pressure-sensitive labels.

Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream won the "Made in Washington County" awards for the frozen novelties it produces in its Frederick Street plant, while First Data Merchants was honored for the training and educational opportunities it gives its workers.

And Hagerstown Community College won the "At Your Service" award for building customers' loyalty by satisfying their needs.

Such success doesn't happen without long hours spent improving products and processes, sometimes without anything resembling a pat on the back. Wednesday's event was a reminder that Washington County prospers because of the hard work of many good people.

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