2008 NHBR Business Excellence Hall of Fame Script

Mary Ann Esposito

Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of honoring people from different walks of life who have had a lasting impact on New Hampshire’s social, cultural and civic life. But this is the first time we’re honoring someone who has done it from her kitchen.

Mary Ann Esposito has been on TV screens since 1989 as host of public television’s “Ciao Italia,” the longest-running cooking show on television. The show, like any entrepreneurial venture, is there as the result of Mary Ann’s tenacity, optimism and confidence. All of the ingredients in a recipe that successful business owners in particular will understand.

For all the years since Mary Ann convinced the powers-that-be at public TV to air her show, she has been renowned, not only for her knowledge of Italian cuisine, but also her warm, encouraging approach to instructing her audience-of-all-ages.

On her show, she’s not just a cook, but a teacher, which is not surprising, considering her first career was as a high school history teacher. She’s also — dare I say it? — a companion for viewers around the world. All you have to do is look at the success of her 10 cookbooks to see how many people admire and respect her taste and ability.

Mary Ann has been recognized by countless organizations for her efforts to preserve the traditions surrounding Italian food and culture. Tonight, she’s being honored for something different — for her almost 20 years of being one of our state’s brightest and most recognizable ambassadors, bringing a little bit of New Hampshire into homes around the world.

Because of her dedication, vision and the sterling example she sets, we honor Mary Ann Esposito tonight.

Karl Norwood

Forty years ago, Karl Norwood decided to leave his milk delivery business behind in pursuit of a career in real estate. It was, as they say, a match made in heaven.

In 1968, Karl and his wife Louise launched The Norwood Group. By the early 1980s, the company had about 250 employees, 23 offices and a major effect on the residential and commercial development of southern New Hampshire. In fact, Karl is one of a handful of people who had the vision and unwavering optimism all those years ago to not only understand the kind of changes the Granite State was about to undergo but to play an essential role in creating them. As both a commercial broker and developer, Karl has shaped not only what New Hampshire has become but remains a key player in helping to shape what New Hampshire will be.

Karl also has played a major part in his community, both in the greater Manchester area and throughout the state. A past chairman of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, he has been a key part of the region’s business community for decades now. And his involvement in such organizations as the New Hampshire Easter Seal Society, of which he was chairman, the New Hampshire Charitable Fund, the Elliot Hospital board of directors and as a trustee of Amoskeag Industries he has played an important longtime role in furthering opportunities for and addressing the needs of people around state.

And that unwavering optimism I talked about? It’s still very much alive. Witness his and Louise’s decision to relaunch The Norwood Group’s residential division 26 years after the subsidiary was sold. Let’s be honest, a decision like that does seem to go against the grain today. But that’s exactly why Karl Norwood is being honored tonight. He sees the opportunities where many others don’t. And for that alone, he deserves to be in the NHBR Business Excellence Hall of Fame.

Categories: Top Story