Entrepreneurial spirit and business success celebrated at annual Elevator Awards

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The former chairman of ANM Group Ltd, one of the UK’s largest farming co-operatives, was last night (THURSDAY, JUNE 29) awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 at the Elevator Awards, the North-east’s most prestigious annual business event.

Patrick Machray OBE, also a former chairman of Scottish Enterprise Grampian, was presented with the accolade at the awards ceremony, which was held at the Mercure Ardoe House Hotel.

Attended by a sell-out audience of more than 400 guests, the Elevator Awards recognise business excellence, entrepreneurial behaviour and outstanding community contributions made by top businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire.

The winners on the night were –

Lifetime Achievement of the Year – sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland

Pat Machray OBE

Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland

Martin Gilbert

The Grampian Award for Innovation – sponsored by Murgitroyd

DDK Positioning

Business Success Over Three Years – sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland

Aberdeen Sports Village

Most Promising New Business – sponsored by Business Gateway

Fierce Beer

The Alick Buchanan-Smith Enterprising Communities Award – sponsored by Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council

Me Too! magazine

Spirit of Enterprise – sponsored by The Prince’s Trust

Arizona Brodie, Arizona Botaniq

Entrepreneurial Supporter of the Year – sponsored by FSB

Ann Johnson, Blaze Manufacturing Solutions

Business Success Under Three Years – sponsored by Scottish Enterprise

Step Change Engineering Ltd

Employer of the Year – sponsored by Avensure

Cammach Recruitment Ltd

Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by the University of Aberdeen Business School

Christopher Farman of Aberdeen Combat Centre, UK Fitness Food and Jack’s Steakhouse


Presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr Machray, Russell Whyte, director of commercial banking at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Although a deeply family orientated man, when Pat is in business mode there are few who are more capable, more incisive or more decisive. A straight-talking, ambitious motivator, as this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Pat has seen his own passion for agriculture transform him into one of the industry’s foremost advisers and transform Johnston Carmichael into a £20m business during his tenure as Chief Executive.

“In praise of his achievements across so many different fields; from the boardroom to the golf course, it is an honour to present Patrick with this outstanding accolade and recognition.”

Pat is a former chairman of the ANM Group and was also Chief Executive from April 2012 to April 2015.

Qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1978, Pat was chief executive of Johnston Carmichael Chartered Accountants, chair of Scottish Enterprise Grampian and an advisory member of the Scottish Enterprise National Board.

Pat was appointed as chairman of the Scottish Agricultural College (SRUC) and is also chair of Food, Drink & Agriculture on Opportunity North East (ONE). A former chairman of the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Pat was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to the local economy and charity.

Meanwhile, the judges’ choice Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Martin Gilbert, co-founder and Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, the holding company of the fund management group that was established in 1983.

Under Martin’s leadership, Aberdeen has become one of the world’s leading independent asset managers through a combination of organic growth and acquisition.

Elevator Chief Executive Professor Gary MacEwan said judging this year’s entries had once again been extremely difficult given the number of high calibre entries.

“We received some truly inspirational entries this year and the judges faced a challenging task to select the winners from a very strong shortlist of 27 finalists. This cements our belief that our corner of Scotland really is home to some of the finest examples of true entrepreneurial spirit, particularly in the face of the challenging economic climate.

“We are delighted that several companies which have emerged as start-ups following redundancy or hard times have been recognised tonight, which is a positive celebration of the amazing businesses and entrepreneurs here in the North-east.

“Congratulations to all the finalists and especially to all the winners – you should be very proud.”

Royal Bank of Scotland is the principal partner and sponsor of the awards, and Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council are event partners.

Mark Gall, regional director of corporate and commercial banking at Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said: “This evening’s awards have once again proved to be a huge success and shows that the North-east is a place to do business in Scotland. All of the winners tonight are a credit to themselves and the area, reflecting the enterprise, ingenuity and effort companies and organisations here make every day.

“We are delighted to confirm that we are supporting the Elevator Awards for 2018 and hope the story of this year’s winners inspires others to enter.”

The Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Chris Farman of Aberdeen Combat Centre, UK Fitness Food and Jack’s Steakhouse, with the judges paying tribute to his “breathtaking array of entrepreneurial activities, in many ways the embodiment of a true modern entrepreneur”.

The award for Business Success Over Three Years went to Aberdeen Sports Village, for its “clear vision”, leadership, provision of customer service and position within the community.

Most Promising New Business went to Fierce Beer, with the judges applauding the company’s innovation and “ambitious journey towards achieving significant growth”, surpassing its forecasts.

Step Change Engineering took home the award for Business Success Under Three Years as the judges commended the enterprise as having “a high level of professionalism and maturity, with a strong ability to grow and thrive during the most challenging economic conditions”.

Me Too! Magazine, for the parents of children with additional support needs, was presented with the Alick Buchanan-Smith Enterprising Communities Award in recognition of its commitment to achieving tangible change, having identified “a gap that existed in service provision and becoming a catalyst for positive change within the community”.

The Spirit of Enterprise award went to Arizona Brodie of Arizona Botaniq, an anti-chlorine moisturiser made with natural ingredients.

The judges said: “To say that Arizona’s journey to this point in time has been challenging would be a gross understatement and the strength she has demonstrated in overcoming these was truly inspirational. We were particularly impressed by her inner strength, the transformational change in circumstances and her ambition to provide opportunities to impact positively on other people through the growth of the business.”

The Entrepreneurial Supporter of the Year award went to Ann Johnson from Blaze Manufacturing Solutions. The judges said she was “extremely passionate about using her experiences in a successful business to help others do the same, playing an active role mentoring entrepreneurs and supporting youth entrepreneurship playing a key role in nurturing the development of our local economy”.

The Employer of the Year award went to Cammach Recruitment Ltd for its supportive and stimulating staff development environment, and DDK Positioning took the Grampian Award for Innovation for its early-stage product “with the potential to be a worldwide and game-changing across a wide range of industries”.


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