STEVENSVILLE — Dr. Scott Billings, a local dentist, was in for a big surprise last week.
He didn’t know he was up for Business Leader of the Year from the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce. But he won the award.
“My staff surprised me and brought me over to receive it,” Billings said.
He was one of five business people to receive Excellence in Business Awards from the chamber during a ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club followed by a reception and 50 businesses exhibiting their services, answering questions and giving away goodies.
The other Excellence in Business Awards were given to Susan Vianna of Fishergate for Volunteer of the Year, Heather Howe of Fields of Heather Bakery for Entrepreneur of the Year and Krista Pettit of Haven Ministries for Community Servant Award. Dominic DiGiovine of Chesapeake Environmental Lab won the Environmental Awareness Award, but he missed the awards ceremony due to a death in the family.
Billings started his business in 1981 on Kent Island and now has offices in Chester. He has partnered with Dr. Chris Murphy in the dental practice, now named Eastern Shore Dental Care.
“When he started his business, he was only one of three dentists operating on Kent Island. Since day one, he has been dedicated to his mission of providing the most comfortable, compassionate and state-of-the-art dental care in the entire region,” said Eric Hoffman, chamber chairman.
“He has been treating patients with unmatched personal, caring chairside manner that has earned the ‘favorite dentist’ honors for many years by local media and patient vote surveys,” Hoffman said.
Billings’ business also gives generous contributions to local charities, and he and his partners hold an annual “Smiles for the Heart” free day of dentistry event.
Vianna received her volunteer award for her work with the chamber.
“This year’s recipient is someone that’s always willing to jump in when the chamber or staff has a need. As many of you know when the staff went from three to two, there was a void of talent,” Hoffman said. “The person that was able to step up is someone that many of you know and use their services. You may see this person at many events where they have served on a board or have served on a committee.”
Besides her award, Vianna received proclamations from Congressman Andy Harris, state Sen. Steve Hershey and Del. Steve Arentz. The public officials had proclamations for each of the winners.
Howe received Entrepreneur of the Year, which is given to a business owner who demonstrates outstanding leadership and management of all facets of business, including growth, profit and staffing.
She launched her business five years ago and received her associate’s degree from Anne Arundel Community College, along with a bachelor’s degree in food service entrepreneurship from Johnson & Wales.
“Any morning, you will see this person in (her) shop preparing for the first morning rush with fresh coffee and homemade baked items. She employs seven plus employees and always looking to hire good, dedicated customer-service-friendly individuals. Her store is a great meeting place for the locals with a warm greeting from her staff,” Hoffman said.
Howe has received many popularity awards voted on by customers.
She won the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, Rising Star from the Entrepreneurs exchange and awarded the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship’s Alumni Entrepreneur.
“She has passion for what she does,” Hoffman said.
Pettit was honored with the Community Servant Award, given to a person or company who has demonstrated a strong record of community involvement throughout the year.
“We are very fortunate to have this person in our community,” Hoffman said. “This person has been involved in the community for many years, helping people with providing shelter, food and clothing to those less fortunate … You may see this person addressing the county commissioners, the community at large or a church group. She is a huge advocate for the homeless and those in need.”
This year’s Environmental Awareness Award went to Dominic DiGiovine, who has been involved in the environmental industry for 30 years. The business provides service and water experience to homeowners, real estate agents and the business community in Queen Anne’s County and surrounding areas.
The business is a big supporter of the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Bay Restoration Fund. The company is certified with the Maryland Department of the Environment to collect and analyze drinking water and inspection of on-site sewage disposal systems.
DiGiovine worked in his family-owned business as a young teenager. In 1991, he and his sister, Eva, started the Chesapeake Environmental Lab Inc., where they just celebrated 25 years.
The EXPO sponsors were PNC Bank, K. Hovnanian, Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, the Shore Update, the Bay Times and Record Observer.
See the full article as it appeared in The Star Democrat here.