Top prize claimed at Northern Star Business Awards 2024

W M Donald takes the top prize at the Northern Star Business Awards 2024

W M DONALD landed the top prize at the 20th anniversary Northern Star Business Awards last night after being named 2024 Business of the Year.

Over 850 people packed P&J Live for the glittering ceremony, the biggest business party of the year, hosted by BBC radio and television star Edith Bowman.

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The awards – run by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, in association with Brodies LLP – recognise successful and growing businesses that make a positive impact on the North-east economy.

Other big winners on the night included Amuse by Kevin Dalgleish, Balmoral, Duncan Farms, Grampian Housing Association, Load Monitoring Systems and The Archie Foundation.

W M Donald claimed the Business of the Year title after nearly doubling its turnover in the two years to the end of March 2023.

The firm has been the lead civil engineering contractor on some of Aberdeen’s largest housing developments as well as being the main civil subcontractor on the £27million ONE Seedpod food and drink industry innovation hub.

It was a double win for the contractor as they also took home the Inspiring Futures award.

Led by its founders, husband-and-wife Willie and Elaine Donald, the firm has established a highly proactive program of engagement with organisations – including Developing the Young Workforce, North East Scotland College and Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils – to address the widening skills gap in civil engineering and construction.

There were also special awards for Trinity Centre owner Ardent Group, in recognition of its work to regenerate Union Street and support emerging entrepreneurs.

And it was also a special night for Alistair Robertson, the recently-retired managing director of Sport Aberdeen, who was given the Regional Contribution Award.

Throughout Alistair’s tenure the operator of Aberdeen’s leisure facilities was transformed – despite facing some unprecedented challenges in the form of the cost-of-living crisis, public sector budget restrictions and the pandemic.

BBC radio and television star Edith Bowman hosted the 20th anniversary celebration
BBC radio and television star Edith Bowman hosted the 20th anniversary celebration

Russell Borthwick, chief executive at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “These awards reflect what a brilliant place the North-east is to live, work, study, visit, invest and do business.

“All of our finalists deserve the recognition they have received tonight, and on behalf of the Chamber I want to say a huge congratulations to our winners.

“The Northern Star awards provide a unique stage to showcase and celebrate the brilliant work being done by businesses from all sectors, of all sizes, and from across the length and breadth of our fantastic area.”

Elaine Farquharson-Black, Partner at law firm Brodies, added: “Brodies is delighted to once again be headline sponsor for the Northern Star Business Awards, especially in this, its 20th anniversary. That’s 20 years of celebrating successful and growing businesses which make a positive impact on the North-east economy.

“Bringing people and businesses together and building relationships lie at the heart of the Chamber’s work and The Northern Star Business Awards is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of individuals and organisations across the region. Congratulations to all of the winners, and to those who were shortlisted for the awards this year.”

The 2024 awards were supported by Royal Bank of Scotland, Aberdeen International Airport, Gary Walker Wealth Management, Balmoral, CALA, University of Aberdeen, ANM Group, Port of Aberdeen, bp, Shell, RGU, True North Advisors, Luxe Scotland and Robert Gordon’s College.

During the evening, money was raised for three local charities Russell Anderson Foundation, Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust and Autism & Neurodiversity North Scotland.

The 2024 Northern Star Business Awards winners are:

Business of the Year (sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland)

W M Donald

Customer First (sponsored by ANM Group)

Load Monitoring Systems (LMS)

Driving Sustainability (sponsored by bp)

Duncan Farms

Family Business of the Year (sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland)

Katoni Engineering

Going Global (sponsored by Aberdeen International Airport)


Inspiration from Innovation (sponsored by Port of Aberdeen)


Inspiring Futures (sponsored by Robert Gordon’s College)

W M Donald

Making the Difference (sponsored by Balmoral)

The Archie Foundation

Marketing Magic (sponsored by CALA)

Maritime Developments Ltd

Rising Star (sponsored by University of Aberdeen)

Nicole Thompson – Grampian Housing Association

Staff Matter (sponsored Gary Walker Wealth Management)


Start-up Business of the Year (sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland)

Amuse by Kevin Dalgleish

Student Placement (sponsored by Robert Gordon University)

CNR International

The Archibald Simpson Award (sponsored by True North Advisors)

Ardent Group

Regional Contribution (sponsored by Shell)

Alistair Robertson – Sport Aberdeen

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