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Gov. Paul R. LePage presented a 2017 Governor’s Award for Business Excellence to six Maine companies during a reception Wednesday at the Blaine House in Augusta.

The 27th annual awards, administered by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and sponsored by FairPoint Communications, recognize Maine businesses that demonstrate a high level of commitment to their community, employees and excellence in manufacturing or service provision.

“It’s an honor to recognize these businesses, all of which represent the best of the best here in Maine,” LePage said in a news release. “The businesses honored today are dedicated to quality workmanship, maintaining a loyal and dedicated workforce and giving back to the community. I thank each of them for doing business in our state and for serving as a great example for other Maine businesses.”

This year’s recipients are:

  • First National Bank: First National Bank has been serving Maine customers since 1864. A product of the mergers of the First National Bank of Bar Harbor and the First National Bank of Damariscotta, the bank has 16 locations along the coast from Wiscasset and Boothbay Harbor to Calais and Eastport with one inland branch, the newest, in Bangor. First National is the fourth-largest bank headquartered in Maine and has 237 employees.
  • Caron Engineering: Rob Caron started Caron Engineering in 1986 in the basement of his home in Wells after working in the computer numerical-control machine-tool industry for many years and realizing there were few products on the market for monitoring the health of cutting tools-with most of them being inadequate for the task. Caron Engineering’s first and most recognized product, TMAC, which stands for Tool Monitoring Adaptive Control, was released three years later. Caron Engineering develops advanced hardware and software solutions for more intelligent machining, focusing on unattended operation, machine process diagnostics, cycle time reduction and eliminating operator error.
  • Rockport Automotive Inc.: Rockport Automotive is an automotive service center located in Knox county. Its commitment to “Quality Service with Community Spirit” is exemplified in its “Giving Back” program in which each month, $5 from every oil change is donated to an organization. Believing education is the foundation of a great service experience, each year the company sponsors free car-care clinics for its customers. Rockport Automotive specializes in the maintenance and repair of European, Asian and domestic vehicles, employing six full-time people in Rockport.
  • International Grand Investment Corp.: The International Grand Investment Corp., or IGIC, purchased the pulp mill in Baileyville in 2010 from Domtar Corp. Shortly afterwards, IGIC initiated a string of key capital investments to make the mill more competitive. These projects included converting the pulp mill boilers and kiln from oil to natural gas and making selected process changes to reduce cost and improve quality. In 2014, IGIC announced the formation of a new company under the IGIC umbrella, St. Croix Tissue Inc. This additional investment of well over $150 million brought about the installation of two new tissue machines and the addition of 80 new, good-paying jobs in Washington County.
  • CRI-SIL Silicone Technologies LLC: CRI-SIL Silicone Technologies is an award-winning, customer-centric, technology-driven provider of silicone elastomeric bases and compounds that serve industries worldwide in healthcare, automotive, military, aerospace, consumer, industrial and electronic/electrical applications. The company was conceived by its current owners, Mark Stevens and Michael Hirschy in late 1993 and, just a few months later, opened its doors in Biddeford. CRI-SIL Silicone Technologies has been developing products for industry for almost a quarter of a century and continues to be a leader in the field of developing and marketing silicone rubber bases, compounds, additives and specialty silicone materials to include RTV products.
  • Vets First Choice: Headquartered in Portland and employing more than 800 people, Vets First Choice is reimagining the future of veterinary medicine on a global scale, enabling small veterinary businesses to meet rapidly changing client expectations for service, convenience and value. It is the leading provider of technology-enabled health care services for companion and equine veterinary practitioners. The company partners with veterinarians to create insight into gaps in patient care. Its proactive prescription management tools increase client engagement and improve compliance while driving practice revenues and profitability. Vets First Choice was founded by CEO Benjamin Shaw in 2010 with a seed grant from the Maine Technology Institute.