Leaders of four Maryland communications firms were among the honorees at the Maryland Daily Record’s “2017 Most Admired CEO’s” event held at the BWI Hilton. A total of 27 executives were recognized.

“These are leaders at the top of their industry and ones we can all learn from,” said Daily Record Publisher Suzanne Fischer-Huettner. “What comes out loud and clear in their profiles is the clarity of their vision, their selfless approach to building teams, and their sense of calling to a higher purpose.”

Among those recognized was Laura Van Eperen, founder and CEO of Van Eperen, a Capitol Communicator sponsor. A former broadcast journalist, Van Eperen founded the strategic communications firm in 2004. The company is based in North Bethesda and in 2016 acquired JD/PR and opened an office at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.

Other communicator CEOs receiving the engraved crystal awards were Rob Weinhold, chief executive, Fallston Group; Greg Abel, president & founder, Abel Communications; and Matt Doud, co-founder & president of Planit.

The CEOs were chosen by an outside panel of judges for his professional accomplishments, community service and mentorship. Nominations are supported by letters of reference submitted by co-workers, board members and community leaders demonstrating their leadership and vision.

Jack Spaulding, executive director of strategy at Planit, provided a letter of support for Doud’s nomination. “Matt believes that a CEO may be the leader of his team, but that he must serve them more than just lead them. He genuinely listens. He stays involved. His door is open to even the newest, youngest employee—and on rare occasion when it isn’t, it’s built out of glass for a reason. Transparency matters to him,” said Spaulding.

The Daily Record created the Most Admired CEOs awards program to recognize talented business CEOs and nonprofit executive directors throughout Maryland for their leadership and professionalism. The awards were presented by Fischer-Huettner and Daily Record Editor Thomas Baden, Jr.

Pictured, left to right, are Van Eperen’s Emily McDermott, Hillarie Turner, CEO Laura Van Eperen and Jeffrey Davis. Photo by The Daily Record.

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