Four Businessmen to Be Honored

By KATIE ARCIERI Staff writer

Comcast awards set next week

A well-known Annapolis developer. The founder of a car dealership empire. Wine and insurance entrepreneurs.

The Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce will honor these four members of the local business community at its fourth annual Comcast Business Hall of Fame and Annual Business Awards Dinner Thursday.

The event, held at Loews Annapolis hotel, will celebrate the achievements of Park Place developer Jerry Parks; George Moran, founder of Moran Insurance; Hillard Donner, founder of Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis; and Creston Tate, president of Tate Chevrolet Inc.

“The people who are inducted into the hall of fame exemplify what corporate citizenship is all about,” said Bob Burdon, president and chief executive officer of the chamber whose hall of fame event is underwritten by Comcast.

See list of other businesses award nominees on Page B2.

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Hillard Donner

The dockside wine store he founded in 1946 is hard to miss: Mills Fine Wine and Spirits at 87 Main St. has been a landmark in downtown Annapolis for more than half a century. It can be traced to Mr. Donner, who returned home from the Navy and told his father he was ready to go to college.

“He said ‘No you’re not going to college, we’re going into business,’ ” Mr. Donner said. “He said ‘We’re buying a store.”

Mr. Donner then traveled throughout Europe, contacting suppliers in France, Italy and Spain. The fruits of his labor are still evident in the shop’s extensive wine collection of more than 2,000 brands. He has spearheaded the annual Great Grapes Wine, Art & Food Festival.

Mr. Donner also serves on Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Foundation board and headed up the hospital’s capital campaign that raised $22 million to help pay for the new hospital site on Medical Parkway, having raised $14 million himself with help from friends.

The hospital’s Donner Pavilion also is named for his late parents Joseph and Rose.

“I’ve been a part of the community since we started, my father and I,” he said. “We always said if we can make it here, we’re going to give back to the community.”

George Moran

Mr. Moran’s insurance career began in Severna Park, where he started his business in 1977. Moran Insurance now serves more than 1,500 customers, though he has since sold the business.

For roughly a dozen years, Moran Insurance has sponsored the Moran Golf Classic raising $300,000 for the Providence Center, which provides services to the developmentally disabled.

“He’s the kind of guy that when you call him, he’s always willing to help out,” said Larry Ulvila, CEO of Insurance Solutions in Annapolis.

Mr. Moran has worked with a number of organizations from the Greater Severna Park Chamber of Commerce to the Chesapeake Academy and Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. He has won the Distinguished Alumni Award for exemplary community service from Leadership Anne Arundel and the Bernard Cook Meritorious Leadership Award from the United Way of Central Maryland.

He has served on the board of trustees at Anne Arundel Medical Center since 2003. This month, he will become vice chairman of the board and also head up the board’s strategic planning committee.

“All these boards have a real positive mission, that’s where I get my energy from, serving with such wonderful people and you’re continually learning. I think that’s the key right there,” Mr. Moran said.

Jerry Parks

Mr. Parks is known as one of the most prolific developers in Annapolis, with signature projects ranging from the Maryland Capital Yacht Club to the $250 million Park Place on inner West Street.

Mr. Parks is a “pioneer” who took on innovative projects like the Chesapeake Harbour mixed-use complex, said Dennis Murphy, president of the Anne Arundel Commercial and Industrial Association.

For 15 years, Mr. Parks has been involved with the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, spending three of those years as chairman of the organization. The foundation provides scholarships and support for promising young artists.

Mr. Parks, who remains active on the foundation board, said he’s passionate about the organization because he can see the results of an artist’s accomplishments.

Now Mr. Parks is planning to build a performing arts center at Park Place. The 1,200-seat Maryland Theatre for the Performing Arts is now looking to raise $70 million to fund the center, which is slated to open in 2012.

“We’ve got an incredible city here,” Mr. Parks said. This type of center will be able to “attract national, (and) international artists of all different walks. We’re working so hard to get that done.”

Creston Tate

Mr. Tate is as much of a local business legend as he is a philanthropist.

Starting out in the auto industry back in the 1950s, Mr. Tate rose to become a household name in auto circles. Car dealerships across Anne Arundel County now bear the Tate name.

Additionally, Mr. Tate and his wife Betty Jane, have contributed $3.5 million to support a variety of projects at Baltimore Washington Medical Center since 1997, said hospital spokesman Allison Eatough.

That includes the Tate’s gift of $1.5 million for the Tate Cancer Center at Anne Arundel Medical Center that opened in March 2003. The Creston G. Tate and Betty Jane Tate Foundation Chesapeake Hospice House also cares for individuals with terminal illnesses who live alone.

Mr. Tate is moving around several of his dealerships after Tate BMW/Mini of Annapolis was sold to Group 1 Automotive.

Mr. Tate recently moved his Chevy dealership to the West Street location formerly home to Tate Dodge, which is consolidating with the pre-existing Tate Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Glen Burnie.

In addition to the Comcast Hall of Fame inductees, winner of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce’s business award categories will be announced. Roughly 35 businesses, organizations and individuals were nominated by the business community for the awards.

The nominees are:

Capital-Gazette Newspapers Business Leader of the Year

Bryan Levy, SSI Homes

Mark Powell, Sidus Group

Community Outreach Award

City of Annapolis

Varuna Aveda Salon Spa

Meadow Hill Wellness

Anne Arundel County CASA Inc.

Developer of the Year

Westfield Annapolis

BAA Maryland

Greenberg Gibbons Commercial

Emerging Business of the Year

M&T Bank

Chesapeake Cartridge Co.

Buan Consulting

Idle Time Advertising

Improvement Zone

McCormick & Schmick’s

UltraVision Security Systems Inc.

Entrepreneur of the Year

Steve Samaras, owner of Zachary’s Jewelers

Non-Profit of the Year

BWI Partnership

The Summit School

USNA Alumni Association

Anne Arundel County Public Library

Sons of the Severn


Hospice of the Chesapeake

The Friends Foundation

National Achievement Award

Severn Savings Bank

Small Business of the Year

CBAY Advisory Group

Annapolis Community Bank

Chesapeake Cartridge Co.

Sidus Group

Wedding Savvy Inc.

New Focus Realty

Lifetime Achievement Award

James Walker, former president and CEO Baltimore Washington Medical Center

Government Leader of the Year

Col. Kenneth McCreedy

Legislator of the Year

Del. Ron George, R-Arnold {Corrections:} {Status:}

(c) 2008 Capital (Annapolis). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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