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Maryland Chamber of Commerce names four Carroll County businesses as finalists

Four Carroll County businesses are among the 13 finalists for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce's Business Breakthrough Award this year. The four businesses make up almost a third of the finalists.

NoWorriesIT and UTZ Real Estate are finalists for the one to 10 employees category, while Apple Plumbing and Heating Inc. and Well Advantage were named finalists for the 11-50 employees category. The winners of the award will be named June 6.

The award is given to companies that show growth, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, according to the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

Employees at NoWorriesIT, a company with four employees, feel honored and thrilled to be named a finalist, said Jean Burgess, the marketing manager and wife of founder Don McCombie.

"We're kind of a winner for getting this far," she said.

The business tries to give back to the Carroll County community and hosts a biannual Recycling Computers for Charity, where they match the money made through the recycling, Burgess said. The money is donated to The Arc Carroll County or Neighbors in Need, according to their website.

McCombie established the business 14 years ago.

Utz Real Estate/Utz Properties is also honored to be one of the four Carroll County businesses to be named a finalist, CEO Jenni Utz said.

"This can't be done without a great staff," she said.

Utz Real Estate tries to maintain long-lasting relationships with its customers and uses different volunteer and networking events to keep ties with property owners.

"They're the backbone of a company," Utz said.

The recognition from being named a finalist validates the reputation of Apple Plumbing and Heating Inc., a family-run company with 11 employees, said Vice President Benjamin Scheper, whose parents own the company. Apple Plumbing is owned by Patrick and Sue Scheper.

Working with his parents helps strengthen their relationship and the company, Scheper said. It is a different dynamic, he said. The family atmosphere extends to the other employees, where everyone works together to advance the company.

"Almost like a kitchen-table atmosphere," Scheper said.

Founder Patrick Scheper named the business after the apple orchard behind his house when they started the company, Benjamin Scheper said.

Well Advantage, a company that works with different global companies, is honored to be a finalist.

"Just to be picked as a finalist is so exciting, we can't stand it," Jeanne Sherwood, registered nurse and CEO, said.

The company works with different business, including McCormick spices and Amtrak, to help business employees balance an active, stress-free life with a work life.

People who are healthier and happier are more productive, which increases the productivity of a company, Sherwood said. The company uses a clinical approach to help different companies, including putting together and implementing a plan to address employee needs, educating in the workplace and evaluating the health of the employee population.

"We do everything," Sherwood said.

The company, which started in 2001, helps the Carroll County community by helping the economy and hiring employees from the county as well.

Both Sherwood and her Chief Operating Officer Jeannie Nichols live in Sykesville, where the business is also located, Nichols said.

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