Area Chamber pays tribute to John Barr and local firms

February 28, 2008

If Washington County's John Barr were a player in the National Football League, the sportscasters would be saying he'd just had a "career year."

His achievements, in 2007 and throughout his public life, earned him the honor of being named the Hagerstown-Washington County Business Person of the Year last night.

His accomplishments are legion. Along with co-chair Tom Newcomer, Barr helped the United Way of Washington County reach its highest-ever goal of $1.9 million.

To put the fundraising effort over the top, Barr, Howard and Ann Kaylor and the Community Foundation of Washington County pledged to donate $50,000, if the community would match it.


Not long before, Barr and his company, Ellsworth Electric Inc., donated $200,000 to convert the old Broadway School on Hagerstown's Locust Street into a trade school that is being run by Associated Builders and Contractors.

In June 2007, Barr donated about $7,700 remaining in his campaign fund for county commissioner to the Community Foundation of Washington County's Unrestricted Fund. That meant he was leaving it up to the foundation to determine how his donation could best be used.

All of this was done while serving as president of the Washington County Board of Commissioners, a position he assumed in 2006.

Only someone extraordinary could handle the duties of that office, co-chair a United Way campaign and assist a host of charitable causes.

He summed up his philosophy in a 2007 online chat with The Herald-Mail by saying this:

"As a businessman, many years ago I learned several areas of self-discipline. They include being one that sets an example in time management, being respectful of others' feelings, being a team player and being willing to negotiate, particularly when it involves the betterment of the citizens and employees of Washington County."

John Barr's method of operation has made him and his company successful. His generous spirit makes him a good public servant. Congratulations to him on this award.

A variety of business were also honored at last night's event, held at Duffy's on South Potomac and the Maryland Theatre. The honorees include:

At Your Service - Weaver's Restaurant & Bakery

Entrepreneurial - Apparatus Repair & Engineering Inc.

Innovation - Kaplan College - Hagerstown campus

Made in Washington County - Cosmic Pet Products

Nonprofit Impact Award - Boys & Girls Club of Washington County

Technology - Sierra Nevada Corporation

Vision - Callas Contractors Inc.

Work Force Development - Network Connectivity Solutions (NETCONN Solutions).

All of these companies either provide quality products or services, employment opportunities or the chance to improve one's skills.

For that, we salute them for a job well done and for their service to the community.

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