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Sekula named county's Business Person of the Year

February 23, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Charles Sekula was named the Washington County Business Person of the Year Wednesday evening during the 12th annual Washington County Business Awards at the Hager Hall Grand Ballroom.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Charles Sekula, who started Schmankerl Stube Bavarian Restaurant and Biergarten downtown and was the driving force behind a long-running local German heritage festival, was named Business Person of the Year Wednesday night during the 12th annual Washington County Business Awards.

 Sekula received the award before more than 300 people at the Hager Hall Grand Ballroom along Dual Highway.

The awards ceremony — hosted by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission — is held to honor outstanding businesses in five categories in addition to Business Person of the Year.

Besides starting Schmankerl Stube Bavarian Restaurant and Biergarten, Sekula also came up with the idea of Augustoberfest as a way to celebrate German heritage and to recognize Hagerstown's connection with Wesel, Germany.

All the proceeds from that event go to support the Augustoberfest Charitable Foundation, which partners with the city of Hagerstown to host the event.

Sekula has also worked on improving downtown and served on a chamber of commerce task force charged with revitalizing the business district.

"It has come a long way," Sekula said of the business district after receiving his award.

Sekula said a performance by students from the Barbara Ingram School of the Arts at Wednesday's event was an example of the positive change happening downtown.

When he accepted his award on stage, he recalled starting his business 23 years ago "when times were rough. Thank you so much, my knees are shaking."

The other award categories were At Your Service, Going Green, Impact, Nonprofit Impact and Small Business.

There were nearly 100 nominees for the awards, and those were narrowed down to three finalists in each category.

The event was a black-tie optional, Academy Awards-style ceremony that started with a cocktail reception at 5 p.m., followed by a dinner at 6:15 p.m.

 Emcees for the event were local television personalities Pieter Bickford and Mary King. Before the awards ceremony started, The Phantasmics, a musical-theater ensemble from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, entertained the crowd.

 Also recognized at the event was Washington County Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan.

 Bickford called Morgan to the stage and told the crowd her last day on the job will be Monday.

"I know you're going to kill me for doing this," Bickford told Morgan.

Morgan thanked the crowd for supporting her and the school system over the years.

"Keep it up," Morgan said.

  Guests to the event paid $50 to attend. For every ticket sold, $10 went to the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

 The following is a list of finalists, with the winner in each category listed first:

Business Person of the Year

Awarded to a Washington County business person who has demonstrated excellence in business, enhanced the image of the business community and/or has provided superior service to business and the community as a whole:

Charles Sekula

Timothy Henry

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James Pierne

At Your Service

Awarded to a Washington County retail or service business for undertaking actions that generate customer loyalty and satisfaction:

Global Data Consultants

The Columbia Bank

Frederick Seibert & Associates, Inc.

Going Green

Awarded to a Washington County business that has integrated specific "green" initiatives into its products or service offerings and/or operating practices and procedures:

Meritus Medical Center

Habitat ReStore

Housing Authority of the City of Hagerstown

Impact

Awarded to a Washington County business that has demonstrated product or service quality, innovation, strong community involvement, high standards in business practice, commitment to the community and has established a successful business:

Hagerstown Community College

Cinetic Landis Corp.

Emerald Pointe, LLC

Nonprofit Impact

Recognizes and honors a local 501(c)(3) organization that improves the lives of those it serves. The recipient receives an unrestricted grant of $1,000, made possible by the Community Foundation of Washington County. Eligible companies must be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization and staff an office in Washington County:

Habitat for Humanity of Washington County

Meritus Healthcare Foundation

United Way of Washington County

Small Business

Awarded to a Washington County business with fewer than 25 employees that has increased employment and/or production and/or introduced an innovative product or service:

Tri-State Printing, Inc.

Homewood Suites by Hilton

Tiger's Eye Benefits Consulting

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