Press Kit

Mt Washington Valley Business Award Winners, 2016

News from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – May 10, 2016

Contact: Scott Gleason, 603-356-5701 or or Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331,


North Conway, NH– The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC) is pleased to announce the 2016 Annual MWV Business Award winners.  Winners will be honored at the Awards Luncheon held at the 18th Annual Business to Business Expo, May 16, 2016 at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel.  In recognition of the highest concentration of entrepreneurs in the state, the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce (MWVCC) annually calls for nominations and then recognizes successful businesses with the Employer of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Non-profit of the Year and Student Entrepreneur of the Year awards which are presented at the Business to Business Expo Awards Luncheon.  Additionally, once again this year, the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce is delighted to present another award in conjunction with the Steve Eastman family.  As a former MWVCC Board of Directors member, the chamber is honored to celebrate Steve Eastman’s legacy with the Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award, also to be presented at the Awards Luncheon.

Tickets are still available to attend the Awards Luncheon and honor winners.  Attendance at the luncheon is a great way to for employers to reward employees for great customer service throughout the year.  Before and afterward, employees are welcome to attend workshops to learn more about technology, service, and resources in the Valley. To order tickets to the Awards Luncheon, simply click here. ( 

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is awarded each year to a business in existence for seven or more years which fills a need within the community and demonstrates creativity, innovation and community involvement. Additionally, the business must be people-and-principle oriented as well as profitable.  This year the Entrepreneur of the Year Award goes to Gamwell Caputo & Kelsch & Co., nominated by Brian Kelsch, partner. The entire CPA firm was recognized for its entrepreneurial spirit after demonstrating consistent growth in staff and services over the last three years.  The firm’s technology platforms allow for clients to communicate with the firm outside the traditional office and on a schedule that’s convenient for the clients. The firm’s community spirit is rewarded and results in pride in volunteerism throughout the Mt Washington Valley community.

The Employer of the Year Award is given each year to a business that demonstrates respect for employees and other business partners and excellence in creating a safe and inviting workplace.  The Employer of the Year is also a business offering solid pay/benefits and the opportunity for training and advancement.  This year the Employer of the Year Award was nominated by Becca Deschenes, Director of Marketing, and is awarded to Cranmore Mountain Resort.  One of the Valley’s largest employers with close to 550 employees during peak winter operations, Cranmore strives to be the “mountain of choice” for staff in New Hampshire and Maine by investing in employee service, training, recognition and morale.  It’s Cranmore’s open door policy and understanding that human capital is a top asset to the company that fosters a strong esprit-de-corp among Cranmore employees.  The list of benefits to working at Cranmore is long including passes for employees and their family, equipment rentals and lessons.  Yet perhaps more important is the interest in employee feedback, suggestions and opinions that keeps employees engaged and striving for success; and strong recognition of its employees results in loyalty within the work force. Cranmore has also been identified as a Rising Star from Stay Work and Play NH and named the Coolest Company for Young Professionals this year.

The Non-Profit of the Year Award is given to a group that has made a major contribution to the Valley over the past two or more years.  This organization must demonstrate collaboration, a strong board of directors who contribute to the mission and show success in meeting its goals.  This year, the Non-Profit of the Year Award goes to Mountain Top Music Center after nomination by Judy Kennedy of Whitehorse Press. Kennedy was compelled to recognize Mountain Top Music not only for the organization’s musical contributions to the Valley but for its vision into the future of the community. Mountain Top Music’s plan to renovate the Bolduc Block and Majestic Theater in Conway Village, now in its first of a five-year project, will have a lasting impact on the quality of life and entertainment in the Mt Washington Valley for years to come.  Founded in 1996, Mountain Top Music uses music to build community through group study and performance, shared listening and multi-cultural, multi-generational musical entertainment.  Fourteen trustees and twenty-seven advisors, mostly all from the Mt Washington Valley, make up an entirely volunteer board. Not only is Mountain Top Music a steward of culture, music and the arts, but this non-profit is helping to sustain musical performance into the future in Mt Washington Valley. 

The Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award is chosen each year by the Mt Washington School to Career Program, and is given to a student who has demonstrated innovation and creativity in business for a real world application.  The Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award goes to Gavin Brown, nominated by Andy Shaw of MWV Career and Technical Center (MWVCTC).  An advanced student in Machine Tool Technology, Gavin is being recognized for not only his expertise in welding but for development of his own business, Gavin Brown Welding, specializing in heavy equipment repair of excavator and loading buckets.  With pride, nominator Andy Shaw, Machine Tool Instructor at MWVCTC, says Gavin’s small business has become highly respected in the Valley.

Working with family members of the late Steve Eastman, the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce includes the Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award on the list of MWV Business Awards presentations once again this year. Created to honor of the late Steve Eastman, former MWVCC board member, longtime community leader and former Mountain Ear newspaper publisher and editor, this award recognizes a strong community leader.  As the founding publisher and editor of The Mountain Ear, Steve's business life personified what it means to give back to the community. His mantra, expressed beautifully at a memorial rock in his honor at the top of North Conway's Steve Eastman Memorial Field at Hog Coliseum, was “Love everyone, hold no grudges, and good deeds do count”.  The Steve Eastman Community Spirit Award is given annually to the person who personifies Steve's passion and zest for life, for helping the community, and for carrying on Steve's love for Mount Washington Valley.

This year's Steve Eastman Award recipient is Josh McAllister of HEB Engineers of North Conway. Josh is a valley native, a Kennett High graduate and a Leadership MWV graduate of 2009. In 2014 he was a finalist in the state's Stay Work Play Rising Stars Awards for Young Professionals. When he returned to the valley from New York in 2004, he was recruited by the Mount Washington Valley Hogs mud football team, the 11-time championship mud football team co-founded by Eastman in 1975. He currently serves as captain, and helps organize the annual local fundraiser for the North Conway Community Center, Carroll County Retired Senior Volunteer Program and North Conway Day Care.

He began working at HEB Engineers in 2004, and became a partner in 2008. With fellow employees Liz Lajoie, the company's business manager, and civil engineer Jay Poulin, he completed the ownership transition there in 2011. They were joined in the ownership team by structural engineer Christopher Fournier in 2013.  Additionally, McAllister is part of the ownership group with his in-laws of the Margarita Grill Restaurant in Glen.

His community work includes serving as treasurer of the Conway Area Humane Society from 2009 to the present; as a board member of the MWV Housing Coalition since 2013; a member of the MWV Regional Collaboration Roundtable, and board president-elect of the MWV Economic Council. He also serves as a Kennett High School to Career Technical Center adviser and is currently in his second year as coach of Kennett High's varsity baseball team

Asked why he is compelled to serve the community, McAllister said it is part of the responsibility of all who choose to call this valley home. "To me, I don't see enough younger people getting involved and making an impact — and the only way to have control on an outcome or to have an impact is to be involved as much as you can. To do that, younger people need to start getting involved in what ultimately will be our responsibility in just a few years," said McAllister.

Tickets are still available to attend the Awards luncheon and celebrate the winners. A limited number of tickets may be purchased on the day of the luncheon.

For more information about these awards and nominees, contact Scott Gleason at the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce at 603-356-5701.

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