Chamber honors Lough, businesses at Annual Meeting

September 28, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce held its 88th Annual Meeting Thursday night at the Four Points Sheraton.

The meeting, which draws hundreds of members every year, is the group's "marquee event," Chamber President Brien J. Poffenberger said.

"It gives us an opportunity to sum up the successes of the year gone by and look forward to the year ahead," Poffenberger said.

The event was marked by the Volunteer of the Year award ceremony.

The award was given to Edward H. Lough of Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.

Lough has served on several Chamber committees and volunteered with groups such as the American Heart Association.

He said he has done volunteer work for the past 25 years.

The Chamber also handed out Distinguished Service awards to 29 local business representatives.

Poffenberger gave the night's State of the Chamber address.

He said last fiscal year was successful "in any way you care to measure it."


The group increased its political advocacy and lobbying efforts last year by bringing gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates to Hagerstown for speeches and debates, Poffenberger said.

The Chamber also endorsed political candidates for the first time last year.

"Our members really got the opportunity to better understand and interact with the candidates because of some of the things we did," said Bradley D. Pingrey, the Chamber's outgoing chairman.

Pingrey's replacement, David M. Abeles, who was appointed during Thursday's meeting, said the group's political advocacy will continue this year.

He said he hopes to expand the group's lobbying efforts in Annapolis, and possibly take them to the federal level as well.

Abeles, who works with Wachovia Securities, noted that transportation and issues related to the Army's Base Realignment and Closure policy will be top priorities for the Chamber this year.

"If we sit back and let politicians dictate policy to us, we're going to get the short end of the stick," Abeles said.

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