Talbot County business leaders gathered on Wednesday, May 3 in the Tidewater Inn’s Gold Ballroom for the 16th Talbot County Business Appreciation Breakfast and presentation of the 2023 Community Impact Awards.
Author and generational expert Mark C. Perna spoke to guests prior to the award announcements, discussing “Unleashing Purpose, Passion, and Performance in Younger Generations.” He delivered his full two-hour keynote address later in the afternoon at the Avalon Theatre to a sell-out crowd.
“I think young people in America today are the most extraordinary generation to come down the pike, bar none,” Perna said. “They are the most intelligent, resourceful, and pit bull-like generation that we have ever seen in this country. When they see a ‘want to’ in their lives, they will move heaven and earth to get to that ‘want to.’ Our challenge as parents, educators, employers is getting them to want something.”
Following Perna’s address, the 2023 Community Impact Awards were announced. Winners included Channel Marker, Inc. Residential Crisis Services, Chesapeake Landing Seafood Restaurant, Choptank Community Health System, Ferry Cove Oyster Hatchery, and McDaniel resident and volunteer Bill Shrieves.
“Our goal is to connect with the business community with resources that will help them succeed and grow, and to tell the stories of business leaders who are doing extraordinary things,” says Cassandra Vanhooser, director of Talbot County’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism. “This event is our way of saying, ‘Thank you for doing business in Talbot County.”
A video presentation highlighted each award winner’s recent accomplishments, followed by the presentation of an engraved pewter tray, handcrafted in Easton by Salisbury Pewter, and brief comments from recipients.
Channel Marker, Inc. Residential Crisis Services
For more than 40 years, Channel Marker, Inc. has provided mental health treatment, prevention programs, and wellness services to the Mid-Shore region. Trained professional staff provide services to clients with a psychiatric diagnosis to help them stay out of a higher level of care and improve their quality of life.
The organization was honored for the development of The Bridge, a new eight-bed residential crisis unit. This facility serves as an alternative to psychiatric hospitalization and is the most recent service added to the menu of psychiatric rehabilitation programs at Channel Marker.
“The idea is crisis stabilization,” CEO Cathy Cassell explains. “We want to partner with the hospitals and other resources in the community to prevent people from continually going to the emergency department.”
Chesapeake Landing Restaurant
Chesapeake Landing Restaurant in McDaniel was recognized for nearly 40 years of service and commitment to the community under the continuous leadership of the Spurry family.
Joe Spurry Sr. started working on the water when he was just 16 years old and opened Bay Hundred Seafood in 1984, followed by Chesapeake Landing Seafood Restaurant in 1991. Spurry’s son Joe Jr. and daughter Erin, as well as his wife Nida still work in the family business today. The family sells seafood throughout the East Coast through Bay Hundred Seafood, and their restaurant is considered “the local’s favorite” in Talbot County.
The Spurrys give back to the community by volunteering and contributing to fire department dinners, food drives, Little League baseball teams, and more. During the pandemic, local food banks used the company’s refrigerated trucks to store and deliver food.
Choptank Community Health System
A Federally Qualified Health Center, Choptank Health ensures that quality healthcare is available to everyone. FQHCs provide an important safety net in rural communities like those on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Headquartered in Denton, Choptank Community Health provides medical, dental, and school-based health care for children and adult patients in Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, and Queen Anne’s counties. It began serving the Mid-Shore in 1980, and in 2003, expanded into Talbot County when it opened the Bay Hundred Health Center in St. Michaels.
“We serve about 25% of Talbot County residents, and across our five mid-shore counties about 30,000 patients. We have about 260 employees. In Talbot County we have locations in St. Michaels, Tilghman Island, and Easton,” Rich explains. “We’ve recently expanded our services in Easton to include not only pediatrics, but primary care, behavioral health, and women’s health services, and that includes prenatal and on-site lab services.”
Ferry Cove Shellfish
Located at the edge of the Chesapeake Bay in the village of Sherwood, Ferry Cove Shellfish occupies a state-of-the-art facility that is poised to become one of the largest oyster hatcheries on the East Coast. The goal: plant one billion oysters in the Chesapeake Bay every year.
Ferry Cove uses cutting-edge technology and the latest scientific discoveries to maximize efficiencies and lengthen the growing season. This increases the number of oyster larvae and seed they can produce and sell over the growing season.
An entrepreneurial approach to producing oyster larvae is unique, says Executive Director Stephan Abel, but he is confident the concept will work. The nonprofit has just begun its second season of successful production.
William H. Shrieves
A Community Impact Award is presented each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to Talbot County. This year’s winner is community volunteer and leader Bill Shrieves of McDaniel.
Shrieves and his wife Jean moved to Talbot County in 1999 and later opened Comfort Keepers, a for-profit senior homecare business in 2005. Shrieves currently serves as the president of Upper Shore Aging, Inc., a non-profit agency serving Caroline, Kent, and Talbot counties. He helped found the Mid-Shore Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and is a pancreatic cancer survivor.
In addition, Shrieves is active in Bay Hundred Community Volunteers, a group that focuses on providing home repairs for the underserved and building ramps for seniors. An active Rotarian, Shrieves practices the Rotary motto: Service Above Self. “I try to live that motto,” he said. “I get great pleasure out of helping other folks.”
The Talbot County Business Appreciation Summit is hosted annually by the Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism in partnership with the Talbot County Economic Development Commission.
This year’s summit sponsors include Platinum Sponsor APG Chesapeake, Gold Sponsor BSC Group, and Silver Sponsors Easton Utilities, Frost Law, Provident State Bank, Shore United Bank, and the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce.
Videos and more about this year’s Community Impact Award winners can be found at www.talbotworks.org.