A Somerset County insurance man, Philip Tawes, 60, was named Maryland's "Economic Development Volunteer" for 1982 by the 17 member-states of the Southern Industrial Development Council.

Tawes, the son of former Maryland governor J. Millard Tawes, won the development award for his efforts in bringing industrial growth to Somerset County, one of Maryland's least prosperous areas.

Tawes recently completed a two-year chairmanship of the Somerset County Economic Development Commission, which the county set up in October 1980 to retain and expand local industry and bring in new investment. uring his tenure, Tawes promoted economic development intensely among the small businessmen, farmers and watermen of Somerset County, a largely rural area on the southernmost tip of the Delmarva peninsula whose economy depends primarily on shellfishing and produce.

The Somerset commission brought in William Argo, of Resource Consultants and Developers, Inc., to design a development strategy, and Tawes readily credits Argo with the success of Somerset's modest program. In two years the commission raised $50,000 in public and private money to finance a full-time staff and obtained a $1 million grant to create an industrial park just outside Queen Anne, the county seat.

The Somerset County Economic Development Commission also successfully promoted the use of industrial revenue bonds to provide low-income financing for county businesses. The first beneficiary last year was the Chesapeake Plywood Corp. A second issue went to Lankford Food Distributors. Pending, but approved, is an issue to finance a project for the Eastern Shore Foods division of Meatland Stores.

"There is one thing to our credit," Tawes commented, "and that is that we started a project in the worst economic times. We had optimism at a time when nobody else has. The situtation is depressed all over."

John Sundergill, a board member of the Southern Industrial Development Council, praised Tawes' successful efforts to raise $50,000 for a full-time staff for the Somerset County development office. "In any other place that's kindling, but in a depressed area like Somerset that's a lot, and it means people are taking the commission seriously."

Sundergill cited the drive to obtain funding for the new industral park.

Financing for the park from the U.S. Department of Commerce has just been approved, and one industry, Suntree Juices, Inc., has signed up for five acres of space. Fifty jobs are expected from the new plant. In agricultural Somerset, where seasonal unemployment soared to 32 percent last January and was at 14 percent at the peak of the harvest season this summer, that's a lot.

Layoffs, Cutbacks: About 180 employes of the General Electric television manufacturing plant in Suffolk, Va., will be laid off in late November, a spokesman said. Seventy employes had been furloughed two weeks ago.

The total layoffs of about 250 leave the plant with a work force of about 2,000.

The company blamed the indefinite layoffs on slumping industry sales of color television sets and to GE's decision to cease domestic production of black-and-white television sets.

In Lynchburg, Va., the Lynchburg Foundry is laying off 725 workers due to declining orders. The foundry announced that 175 workers at its medium castings foundry in Radford will be laid off indefinitely this week and that the Lower Basin operations in Lynchburg will be shut down in mid-November, idling 550 workers. The company said 450 to 500 of the laid off workers will be recalled when the Lower Basin operations resume in January.

The foundry said orders began dropping off three years ago when auto industry sales plummetted.

In Charleston, W.Va., The Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of West Virginia announced that its workforce has been reduced by about 400 employes since January. Most of the cutbacks have been made through attrition, relocations, early retirements or offers of termination pay.

C&P says the workforce reduction is necessary because of increased automation and the company's plan to enter a joint operating agreement with three other C&P companies in other states.

In Petersburg, Va., the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. will lay off an additional 282 employes next year due to high inventories.

Brown & Williamson had announced in February plans to lay off 933 of the plant's 2,800 workers. So far, 740 workers have been laid off.

First American Bank of Maryland has opened its newest Columbia facility, the Town Center office in the Clark Building at 5565 Sterrett Pl.

Dividends: Peoples Drug Stores Inc. declared a quarterly cash dividend of 9 cents per share on all shares outstanding following the 5 for 4 stock split on Oct. 6. The latest dividend payment is payable Jan. 3 to stockholders of record Nov. 26. . . .United Services Life Insurance Co. declared a fourth quarter dividend of 25 cents per share, payable Nov. 15 to stockholders of record Nov. 1. . . .Penril Corp. has declared a dividend of 8 1/2 cents, payable Nov. 29 to stockholders of record Nov. 1.