On September 29, the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce presented its 161st annual Community Leadership Awards at a gala reception held at the State Theatre in Portland, attracting some of the most forward-thinking Maine business leaders, chamber members, community leaders, elected officials, and the public.
As a leader in the Maine natural gas industry, Summit Natural Gas of Maine was also in attendance as well as the sponsor of this year’s Henri A. Benoit Award for Leadership in the Private Sector. This honor pays tribute to an individual in the region who has made outstanding contributions to the Greater Portland community through active leadership and individual efforts in civic or charitable activities.
Summit chose Larry Wold, President of TD Bank in Maine for the honor.
Mr. Wold has over 30 years of commercial lending experience in Maine. He joined TD Bank in 1991 as a commercial loan officer and rose through the ranks to his present position as TD Bank’s Executive Vice President of Commercial Lending for southern Maine. He began his banking career in the commercial lending department of Casco Bank.
Lynn A. McInnis, manager of residential and commercial sales for Summit Natural Gas of Maine, said Mr. Wold was chosen for sponsorship by Summit not just for his business acumen, but for his dedication to community service.
Mr. Wold not only leads a bank that has been growing its business in Maine; he also serves as vice chairman of the board for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and sits on the boards the Maine Community College Foundation, the Maine Real Estate Development Association and Maine & Company, a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting firms to Maine.
“TD Bank is not only a big proponent of natural gas in their facilities, but also supportive of our ongoing project in both the Kennebec Valley territory and in Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth,” Ms. McInnis said. “TD Bank is actively involved in converting multiple bank locations with Summit Natural Gas and worked in partnership with us to develop a commercial equipment leasing program.”
Beyond business leadership, Summit officials said they find Mr. Wold to be a valuable role model for how to deliver value to Maine customers.
“TD is a leading bank headquartered outside Maine that is highly responsive to businesses and individuals,” Ms. McInnis said. “Summit Natural Gas of Maine is similarly involved in a growth path that involves not only delivering great value to our customers, but to being excellent corporate citizens. Larry Wold is an excellent example of that kind of leadership. So we are happy to be able to honor him with the Benoit Award.”
Leading charitable and civic engagement “is not just the right thing to do from a human perspective,” Mr. Wold said. “It’s a smart business decision, as well. I’m fortunate I work for an organization that, despite its growth and changes, continues to have not just willingness but an expectation to get involved.”
“I really view our community as an ecosystem,” Mr. Wold said. “Unless all levels are healthy, the whole thing can’t be healthy. We can’t have a thriving business climate in our communities if a community isn’t doing well.”
Whether it’s sponsorship for seniors to attend a cottage retreat on the Maine coast, sponsoring events at the Yarmouth Clam Festival, helping recycle at the Taste of Waterville, or ensuring products and services deliver value, safety, and jobs to the local economy, Summit is establishing itself as a leader in Maine business.
Chandra Leister, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce’s director of programming and marketing, lauded Summit’s leadership in promoting best practices for Maine businesses.
“They’ve supported the Chamber in a number of ways the last several years, including last year’s awards gala,” Ms. Leister said. “We asked them to sponsor an award and they said yes.”
Mr. Wold agreed. “Those of us with established businesses need to be welcoming of any new business with interest in helping Maine grow and prosper,” he said. “One of the things you hear about most is energy costs, and Maine needs all the help it can get. From [Summit’s] business to their support of the many Chamber events, that tells you they’re interested.”