AUGUSTA — The Kennebec Valley business community turned out Friday to celebrate its accomplishments at the 2024 Kenney Awards.

With about 900 people looking on at the Augusta Civic Center, six people or organizations were honored during the annual black-tie event.

Three award honorees, Lifetime Achievement, Large Business of the Year and Special Service Award, were announced in advance. The winners of the Cynergy Professional, Community Service and President’s Circle awards were determined by text voting by attendees.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Charlie and Nancy Shuman were honored for their contributions to their community with the Peter G. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Charlie Shuman, founder and president of Charlie’s Motor Mall with dealerships in Augusta and Winthrop, and Nancy Shuman have supported the Kennebec Valley Humane Society, the Children’s Center and the United Way of Kennebec Valley.

The Shumans weren’t able to attend, but in an interview with the Kennebec Journal, Charlie Shuman said winning the award feels tremendous.


“To think the community thinks of us with a lifetime award,” he said. “It feels really positive. I always had a saying, if I made it in business, we would share it, and that’s just exactly what we do.”

Charlie and Nancy Shuman, seen in December 2013, received the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Special Service Award on Friday at the annual Kenney Awards ceremony. The Winthrop family owns Charlie’s Motor Mall in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

He said he’s most proud of their children, Stephen and Elissa and their grandchildren. And he noted the contributions the Shumans were able to give toward the new Humane Society facility which is named for Nancy Shuman, and the fundraising they were able to help with.

“The people of Kennebec County are tremendous, in friendliness, in giving, in their friendship and just helping one another,” he said. “Kennebec County is not a huge population but when you compare what we raise for some of these projects, it leaps over other areas.”

He said he and Nancy are pleased to give to the community that has given so much to them.

“It’s been good to us and we, in turn, are being good to the community,” he said.

Large Business of the Year 

J.S. McCarthy Packaging and Print in Augusta was honored as the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Large Business of the Year.


The company, which got its start as a commercial printer, has shifted its emphasis after adding folding carton packaging, which is now the majority of its business.

Jon Tardiff, Amy Tardiff and Matthew Tardiff accepted the award Friday.

Siblings, from left, Jon Tardiff, Amy Tardiff and Matthew Tardiff, of J.S. McCarthy Packaging and Print, walk the red carpet Friday night for their entrance as Large Business of the Year at the 2024 Kenney Awards, hosted by the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce at the Augusta Civic Center. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Jon Tardiff said he and his siblings are proud of the company’s employees, who have built the company’s success since their parents acquired it in 2000.

“Looking at our journey since that time, the biggest contributor to our success has been our willingness to embrace change,” he said. “To us, embracing change has meant acquiring five other companies, expanding our building five times and having plans for a sixth expansion already in the works. It has also meant investing $14 million in new equipment in the last 10 years, with another $7.5 million invested this year alone.”

In 2019, the company changed to 100% employee ownership. Amy Tardiff thanked the company’s 130 employee-owners, for being part of the company’s success, and she also thanked the community, where she and her siblings returned after time away.

“We are so lucky to be able to make a difference here and try to make a meaningful impact to both J.S. McCarthy and the Kennebec Valley,” Matthew Tardiff said.


Ryan Eldridge proudly holds the Special Service Award that was given Friday night to Kennebec Cabin Company and The Woodshed during the 2024 Kenney Awards ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center. The awards banquet was hosted by the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Special Service Award 

The Kennebec Cabin Company and The Woodshed were honored with the chamber’s Special Service Award, which is not given out every year.

The Cabin Company is the retail and entertainment headquarters in Manchester for Maine Cabin Masters, the cable television show that gives viewers across the country a chance to see the team renovate camps, many of them in central Maine.

“We are so humbled and so very, very proud of this award and so proud of this area,” said Ryan Eldridge, who accepted the award on behalf of the Cabin Masters. “We get a lot of credit for all the energy and things going on around here in interviews. We stop them right there. We’re a small part of this and it’s all because of you guys.”

When Eldridge and his friends were growing up in the 1980s, they couldn’t wait to get out of the Kennebec Valley and they were never coming back. But now, he lives in West Gardiner, and he and his friends wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“On behalf of all of us, we are so proud and this is because of all of you,” he said.

Cynergy Professional

Heather Hemphill, executive director of the Travis Mills Foundation, was named Cynergy Professional.


Heather Hemphill, the executive director of the Travis Mills Foundation, stands to receive her award. She was chosen by the audience in live text voting Friday night as the winner of the Cynergy Professional Award at the 2024 Kenney Awards, hosted by the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce at the Augusta Civic Center. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

The Litchfield native, who now lives in Vassalboro, joined the foundation in 2019 to oversee the financial and administrative departments and was promoted to executive director in 2022. The foundation has offices in Mount Vernon and its veterans retreat is in Rome.

“The cloth of Kennebec County is ingrained in who I am, but in a way, I feel like my work is just getting started here,” she said.

Amanda Cooley, vice president and marketing and community officer at Kennebec Savings Bank, and Benjamin Coolidge Gagnon, client support manager with Serra Public Affairs, were also nominated.

Community Service 

Dr. Kieran Kammerer of Kennebec Pediatrics was honored with the Community Service Award.

Kammerer, who lives in Hallowell, said it was wonderful to witness the recognition of the hard work and dedication of so many businesses and individuals in the community, who go above and beyond what’s expected.

In addition to his medical practice, Kammerer has volunteered with several organizations, including Hallowell’s Pride events, and mentors Hall-Dale High School seniors. As a sideline, through Hallowell Woodworks, he makes wooden baby rattles designed to stimulate the senses of developing infants.


Dr. Kieran Kammerer, center, holds his award Friday night after being chosen by the audience as the Community Service Award winner at the 2024 Kenney Awards, hosted by the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce at the Augusta Civic Center. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Among those to whom he gave thanks, Kammerer thanked his wife, Tamara.

“Without your unwavering love, support and understanding, nothing I’ve accomplished would have been possible,” he said. “As I frequently tell people, we are testament to the fact that OCD,” he said pointing to her, “and ADHD,” he said pointing to himself, “can co-exist and flourish.”

Christine Durgin, director of Community Arts for Snow Pond Center for the Arts, and Lonney Steeves, director of the Winthrop Area YMCA and director of the Winthrop Recreation Department, were also nominated.

Ryan Gallant, center, of Gallant Therapy Services, stands on stage with his team Friday night after being named winner of the President’s Circle Award at the 2024 Kenney Awards ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center, hosted by the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

President’s Circle

Gallant Therapy Services, which runs three pediatric therapy clinics and four adult community support programs for people with developmental delays and intellectual and developmental disabilities, was honored with the President’s Circle Award.

Owner Ryan Gallant credited his team members and the work they do for the success of Gallant Therapy Services.

“Our team of talented and caring people are the ones who really make a difference in others’ lives every day, and GTS wouldn’t be here without them,” Gallant said, also thanking friends and family for the help, support and leading by example.

“To my wife and kids, thank you for always being there to support my crazy ideas and keeping my on track,” he said.

Statewide Towing of Chelsea and the Weathervane Restaurant & Lounge in Readfield were also nominated.

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