Two leaders in business were honored Thursday night at the Liriodendron by the Town of Bel Air, as Upper Chesapeake Medical Center received the 2012 Archer-Bull Award and MaGerk's Bar and Grill was named the town's Business of the Year.
Upper Chesapeake Health President and CEO Lyle Sheldon accepted the award from the Bel Air Economic and Community Development Commission, which recognizes a residential or commercial building project every year for its design and construction achievements.
The medical center was honored for its office space and parking garage on the campus in Bel Air.
"Thank you for the continued support from every aspect," Sheldon said to the crowd of local business people, politicians and town employees.
Sheldon was given several citations from the county executive's office, the Harford County Council, Maryland Senate and House of Delegates.
"It is really critical that we have such a wonderful facility," Harford County Director of Administration Mary Chance said. She noted that the Patricia D. and M. Scot Kaufman Cancer Center will open on Upper Chesapeake's campus next year and said how grateful she is as a citizen to have those available in the community.
County Councilman Jim McMahan said he has never received "as great service at a hospital as I've had the last several years" than at Upper Chesapeake.
The "timeliness, courtesy and efficiency" of the staff, he continued, is a "model for all the other hospitals."
Sen. Barry Glassman called Upper Chesapeake a "linchpin in health care in Harford County."
Even though Sheldon had a good feeling he would be receiving the award, he still felt "surprised and excited," he said Monday.
The parking garage and office space were constructed in 2009, 2010, Sheldon said, and with that came a few challenges.
"There are challenges any time you're trying to do something on an existing site," he said. "Where do you maximize where you can build from an access standpoint without limiting future growth?"
One of the trickiest aspects of the construction was "placing it in such a way [that] we're not inhibiting future expansion," Sheldon explained.
Upper Chesapeake seemed to achieve just that, creating more convenient parking and bringing more physicians on board who weren't part of the medical center.
"[The office space] allowed us to bring in other physicians on campus that weren't readily available or couldn't expand their practice," Sheldon said. "Like pediatric specialists. People don't have to go to the University of Baltimore to access those doctors and can stay in Bel Air."
What Sheldon is proudest of, however, is being in a position to "expand or grow the confidence this community has in what we're doing from a health care standpoint."
He credits this to everyone who works for the medical center.
"We have a dynamic staff that's very engaged, a supportive board of directors and a committee group of team members," Sheldon said. "And most of us live here."
Right now, Upper Chesapeake is focusing on the cancer center, which is slated to open fall of 2013.
The main message of the center, Sheldon said, is "hope and healing close to home."
The most important thing is to provide those diagnosed with cancer and that individual's family with treatment, support and education locally without needing to leave the county.
"It struck me how many people have cancer diagnoses and how prevalent that disease is," Sheldon said, "and how much it not only changes the individual, but the family members being affected."
MaGerk's named Business of the Year
Mayor Eddie Hopkins presented Bridget Lloyd of MaGerk's with the Business of the Year award for its "dedication to community service in the Town of Bel air."
Hopkins referred to the restaurant's non-profit night every Wednesday, when 10 percent of sales are given to a charity. He added that a Thursday night community group fund-raising program just began there, as well.
"We recognize that our community is only as strong as our [businesses]," Chance said. "We appreciate you know what community service is about."
After the award ceremony, Lloyd, who attended with her husband, Christopher, and 17-month-old daughter, Alex, said she wasn't originally planning to come.
When the town called two weeks ago and strongly suggested that they might want to attend the ceremony, however, she got the hint that something may be in store for her.
"This is amazing," she said. "You never think that the little thing you do deserve a big recognition."
Lloyd opened MaGerk's more than six years ago with two business partners and has felt the love from the Bel Air community since.
"The small town of Bel Air is about community and celebrating local business," she said, adding that's why small businesses thrive in the town. "If we didn't have community support, it wouldn't happen."
Although she can put a proud award on her mantle, Lloyd said her proudest achievement has been creating a family environment at the restaurant and receiving that same feeling in return from the community.