Hight Ford and Hight Family of Dealerships was awarded the 2020 Ford President’s Award and One Ford Elite Award for the second year in a row. To celebrate, they broke ground on a new building to expand its services. From left are Bryan Belliveau, Skowhegan code enforcement officer; Sam Hight, dealer principal at Hight Ford; Jeff Hewett, Skowhegan director of economic & community development; Greg Dore, Skowhegan road commissioner; David Bucknam, Skowhegan police chief; Christine Almand, Skowhegan town manager; and Corey Hight, dealer principal at Hight Chevrolet. Contributed photo

SKOWHEGAN — Hight Ford has been recognized with two of the highest awards given by Ford Motor Company for the second consecutive year. The dealership has received the Ford Motor Company President’s Award and the One Ford Elite Award for 2020, after previously winning both awards in 2019, the President’s Award in 2016, and they are expanding their service garage to keep up with their growing customer base.

Being recognized with these two awards simultaneously is something that few Ford dealers accomplish each year. For perspective, the President’s Award is awarded to only 335 Ford dealers nationwide, or about 10%, the One Ford Elite Award was earned by only 160 dealerships nationwide, and only 1% of Ford Dealerships are awarded both awards. The President’s Award is one of Ford’s most prestigious awards, recognizing dealers who have achieved the highest levels of customer satisfaction, and sales performance. The One Ford Elite Award is awarded to the top President Award winner in their respected areas.

Hight Ford stands out as one of only 13 Ford dealers in the Northeast Region, and the only Ford Dealership in Maine to receive the One Ford Elite award this year, and one of two dealers in the Northeast to win the award back to back in 2019 and 2020. “These two awards back to back in 2019 and 2020 make me incredibly proud of my staff, our customers and our communities. With constant focus on customers and community, we were able to overcome great odds and continue to support our 110 year legacy — you put us first in sales, we put you first in service,” said Dealer Principal at Hight Ford Sam Hight, according to a news release from the dealership.

Not only is Hight Ford the only dealership in New England to receive this honor, they are also the oldest dealership in New England. In 1911, Walter Hight began selling Model T cars in Skowhegan, and through four generations, two world wars, and two pandemics, they still are family owned and operated in Skowhegan. Hights now consists of four dealerships: Hight Ford in Skowhegan; Hight Chevrolet Buick GMC in Skowhegan; Hight Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Madison; and Hight Chevrolet Buick GMC in Farmington.

“It has been a very strange 12-plus months in the car business. Throughout 2020, even during the panic of the pandemic, the dealership did not make any cuts or layoffs for our nearly 100 employees. By focusing on customer experience, and doing our best to stock inventory and pricing it fairly, we were fortunate enough to not only have a strong year, but also give back to our communities,” said Hight. “We are excited to now have the opportunity to expand our brand and service products with a new 3,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility on Madison Avenue.”

The new facility, currently being constructed, will be located at 250 Madison Ave. adjacent to the Hight Ford dealership. It will be home to Hight Protection, a full lineup of Line-X bedliners and truck accessories, and Valugard undercoating products. “By bringing these highly trusted, quality products to our line up we will be able to help enhance our customer experience by offering products to protect their investment,” said Hight.

Hight Ford staff, front from left, are Samantha Burdick, Shelby Nelson, Scott Wilson, Chip Salisbury, Chris Conner, Scott Spencer, Pete White and Sam Hight. Back from left are Justin Grant, Bo Locke, Mason Sullivan, Taylor Herbert, John Cannon, Justin Elliott Roode, Chris Dickey, Shane Davis and Brandon Rossingnol. Contributed photo

All Maine birthing hospitals Safe Sleep Certified

AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced April 23 that all 26 Maine birthing hospitals are now Safe Sleep Certified, making Maine the second state nationally to achieve this milestone that protects babies from sleep-related deaths.

DHHS and the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention worked with Maine’s birthing hospitals, those with dedicated maternity and birthing facilities, to increase the number certified through the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program. This initiative was part of the Department’s Safe Sleep Maine education campaign, launched in April 2019 with the goal of reducing infant deaths due to unsafe sleep conditions.

To become certified, hospitals must develop and maintain a safe sleep policy, train staff on safe sleep guidelines, and educate parents on safe sleep practices prior to discharge. All 26 birthing hospitals in Maine have now achieved at least a bronze-level Safe Sleep certification, and Maine joins Delaware in having all of its birthing hospitals certified.

“We’re grateful to Maine’s hospitals for their collaboration in becoming Safe Sleep Certified and join them in recognizing this significant achievement,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew, according to a news release from DHHS. “A healthy life starts in childhood, so we appreciate this partnership that provides Maine families with the education and support they need to protect their young children.”

“Maine hospitals are pleased to be involved in this effort to teach parents safe sleep strategies and protect our youngest patients,” said Steven R. Michaud, president of the Maine Hospital Association. “Maine hospitals believe that our role includes educating our patients and their families, and we were happy to work with the state on this initiative.”

The Safe Sleep Maine campaign identified birth hospitals as key partners for safe sleep education. DHHS worked with the Perinatal Quality Collaborative for Maine to provide quality improvement support and education to hospitals including collecting monthly data on safe sleep practices and expanding education for new parents on safe sleep guidelines. Data on infant deaths because of sleep-related causes in 2020 is expected to be finalized in June.

Safe Sleep Hospital Certification is awarded for five years, requiring an annual report to maintain certification. More information on the program is available on the Cribs for Kids website cribsforkids.org/hospitalcertification.

Maine female leaders to discuss leading through change, solutions for reinventing your business

Mainebiz announced its 11th annual Mainebiz Women’s Leadership Forum will be hosted virtually on Thursday, May 6, in Remo. This year’s topic will address the art of reinvention and leading through change. Mainebiz brings together a panel of female executives to provide their unique experience and perspective on leadership, discussing ideas and solutions around leading through change and reinventing your business such as an organization’s product, service, communications, distribution system and workspace.

The panel of business leaders will include Tina Hewett-Gordon, general manager at Nonantum Resort; Stefa Normantas, owner of Green Tree Events; Clayton Spencer, president of Bates College; Melanie Tinto, chief human resources officer, WEX; and Whitney Reynolds Waxman, president/COO of American Roots. The panel will be moderated by Kristina Egan, executive director, Greater Portland Council of Governments.

The forum will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Remo. Tickets are free because of support of its sponsors. This event is sponsored by Camden National Bank, Eaton Peabody, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Work Health. For more information or to register, visit mainebiz.biz/WLF.

Local Real Estate agency donates $15,000 to Family Violence Project

FARMINGDALE — Laflin & Wolfington Realty recently donated $15,000 to the Family Violence Project as part of an ongoing partnership between a domestic violence resource center and a real estate agency. Laflin & Wolfington has taken on the challenge of ending domestic abuse within its community by raising more than $65,000 for the cause. They have built a system in which a donation is made each time a home is purchased or sold through their agency. The staff has donated items for holidays, back-to-school programs, and more.

“The agency has been one of our strongest community partners to date,” said Nathan MacDonald, development and community engagement director for Family Violence Project, according to a news release from the agency. “Not only has Laflin & Wolfington Realty contributed significant funds to the agency, but they have also gone out of their way to educate home buyers and sellers on domestic abuse in their presentations, newsletters and promotional material.”

“Laflin and Wolfington Realty’s commitment to supporting victims/survivors of domestic violence is evident through their ongoing partnership with Family Violence Project. They are community leaders by speaking out for this cause, as well as securing regular donations that help the people we serve,” said Family Violence Project’s Executive Director Pamela Morin. “With each donation we receive, we become all that much closer to our shared goal to end domestic violence. I want to express a special thank you to them for consistently making a difference through their awareness, generosity and dedication!”

Franklin Memorial Hospital nationally recognized

FARMINGTON — Franklin Memorial Hospital received an “A” grade in the spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a national distinction recognizing the hospital’s achievements protecting patients from errors, injuries, accidents and infections. This is the second consecutive time that FMH has received an “A” grade in the same survey period. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to all general hospitals across the country and is updated every six months. It is the only hospital rating program based exclusively on hospitals’ prevention of medical errors and other harms to patients in their care.

“FMH and the entire community health network is always working toward process improvement and making sure the processes we do have in place are working as they should to ensure patient safety,” said Barbara Sergio, FMH chief operating officer, according to a news release from the hospital. “Safety is every hospital’s number one priority, and at Franklin, we collaborate across departments to monitor, educate and improve all aspects of quality and safety to make sure we provide the best care to our community members.”

“An ‘A’ safety grade is an elite designation that your community should be proud of,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, and a Maine native. “The past year has been extraordinarily difficult for hospitals, but Franklin shows us it is possible to keep a laser focus on patients and their safety, no matter what it takes.”

For more business news, visit CentralMaine.com.