Published at seacoastonline.
By BRITTANY GIVENS
March 19, 2012 1:43 PM
EXETER — Just as Robert Ortins accepted his award for Financial Services and Insurance Business of the Year, his wife, Amy, rushed into the room.
Timing could not have been any better for this young family.
The Edward Jones financial adviser was accepting his award as part of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce's Business of the Year Awards Friday night at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth.
Aside from the eight Business of the Year categories, the chamber also bestowed the Lori Breard Leadership Award and its inaugural Citizen of the Year award.
The Lori Breard Leadership Award was created two years ago after Breard died in a fire at her home in Stratham. The award recognizes a member of the chamber who exemplifies commitment to volunteering, mentoring and leadership.
Jonathan Ring, chairman of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, won the award for his 20 years of guidance, generosity and goodwill.
The first Citizen of the Year Award was given to a surprised Cleo Castonguay for his work with the Brentwood Recreation Center and St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Matt Halfmann and Kellie Farrar, who were past Business of the Year award winners, hosted the event.
“We've used the Business of the Year awards to accomplish two goals,” Exeter Chamber of Commerce President Michael Schidlovsky said, “to showcase our member companies who have achieved excellence in the marketplace in today's competitive business environment and second to create greater awareness of business success that is happening right here in the Exeter area and to promote a greater appreciation of the importance these businesses have to our community.”
The Manufacturing and Technology Business of the Year went to Cobham, Aerospace and Security, Antenna Systems.
Because the Education and Non-Profit category was so difficult to decide, two winners were named. The category was broken down into 25 or more members and 24 or fewer members.
For the 25 or more category, the Southern District YMCA/Camp Lincoln was honored for its programs offered to Seacoast families. New Outlook Teen Center won the 24 or fewer category.
Lisa Harrington, community relations coordinator, accepted the award. She joked that the organization was made up of two and a half employees.
“Many of you are sensitive to the tough economic times and New Outlook certainly has shared quite a burden,” Harrington said. “We've weathered the storm with an outpouring of support from our community, and we've been able to provide really crucial services to downtown Exeter.”
Family-owned Foss Motors took the Retail and Wholesale Business of the Year award.
Thomas House, principal of THA Architects LLC, accepted the award for his firm in the Real Estate, Construction, and Engineering category. During his acceptance speech, House talked about his family. He dedicated the award to his wife, who was diagnosed with cancer.
“She showed me through it all how strong she is,” House said.
The health care category was split into two categories. Exeter Health Resources won the 25 or more employees category. SeaCare won the 24 or fewer employees category.
Allie Burke's Natural Image photography won the Business Services category. The Hampton Inn and Suites in Exeter, which opened in 2010, won for Tourism and Hospitality Business of the Year Award.