Local Businesses Honoured At Bee's Knees Award Ceremony
Above - ri's Acting Chief Executive Fiona Maguire hands Ferguson Marine Engineering their award for Best Performing Large Business
ALDO Spella, a businessman considered a game-changer in the 1960s having introduced the bistro experience and accompanying carry-out trade, has lifted the Lifetime Achievement award in the Inverclyde Bee’s Knees Business Awards 2017.
Aldo joined ten category winners who took the top accolades at the 14th annual Chamber of Commerce gala dinner and awards ceremony, held in front of an audience of 300 in the Marquee at the Chartroom, Kip Marina.
Linda Scott, president of Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our warm congratulations go to Aldo and another fantastic line-up of Bee’s Knees Business Awards winners.
“The gala dinner and awards ceremony are the highlight of our Chamber calendar of events. The awards initiative gives companies the opportunity to show their achievements and their ambitions, providing the backcloth and foundation for continued Inverclyde growth. We thank all our sponsors for joining with us to recognise the great talent we have here in Inverclyde.”
As well as enjoying the accolades of success, category winners were awarded a crystal trophy and framed certificate. For their own promotional purposes, media sponsor Gryffe Studios provides them with a broadcast-quality DVD showcasing their business, which was screened for the first time at the awards dinner. Other Bee’s Knees Business Awards sponsors are Elaine Stewart Public Relations, Love & Humphries, Wild Rose Flowers and BEP Signs.
Riverside Inverclyde are premier sponsors of the Bee's Knees Awards. ri's Acting Chief Executive Fiona Maguire and Head of Business Investment Andrew Bowman were both judges alongside Lynn Rayner of Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce for the Best Performing Large Business category, which was awarded to Ferguson Marine Engineering. Runners Up were Caledonian MacBrayne and West College Scotland in a tightly fought contest and congratulations to all three businesses on their fantastic pitches.
Another pleasing element of the night was the large number of Riverside Inverclyde tenants that were both nominated and successful on the night, with Union Projects (Kelburn Business Park) winning Best Performing SME Business, Wet Wall Works (Lynedoch Industrial Estate) winning Excellence in Marketing and Communications and Ferguson Marine Engineering (Scarlow House) winning Manufacturer/Producer of the Year alongside their other award.
Above - The 2017 Bee's Knees Award Winners
Bee’s Knees Business Awards 2017 Category Winners
Best Performing Small/Medium Business, sponsored by Waterfront Cinema
Winner: Union Projects
Best Performing Large Business, sponsored by premier partner Riverside Inverclyde
Winner: Ferguson Marine Engineering
Most Promising New Business, sponsored by Holiday Inn Express Hotel
Winner: Lose It and Love It
Emerging Young Talent, sponsored by Texas Instruments
Winner: Claire McParland, Deputy Manager, Holiday Inn Express Hotel
Excellence in Customer Focus, sponsored by premier partner Inverclyde Council
Winner: Waterfront Cinema
Excellence in Marketing and Communications, sponsored by premier partner Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce
Winner: Wet Wall Works
Best Use of New Technology or Innovation, sponsored by Autotec Scotland
Winner: RIG Arts
Manufacturer or Producer of the Year, sponsored by Union Projects
Winner: Ferguson Marine Engineering
Excellence in Skills and Learning, sponsored by West College Scotland.
Winner: Morton in the Community
Proud to be in Inverclyde, sponsored by CalMac Ferries
Winner: Scotland’s Boat Show
Lifetime Achievement Award - Aldo Spella
Aldo Spella, proud recipient of the Bee’s Knees Lifetime Achievement Award, is accompanied by sons Roland and Paolo, as he receives his trophy from Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce President Linda Scott.
Aldo Spella was selected as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 for his contribution to the economic well-being of Inverclyde. Up until 1964, dining out was a conservative and mainly middle class or higher preserve. For younger generations, café society was universal, with hot food the domain of the fish and chip shop.
Aldo is considered the game-changer for the local social scene. Having developed one of the most successful cafes in West Blackhall Street, Greenock, under the tutelage of his father, Aldo now believed that society was looking for change. He introduced the bistro experience with an accompanying carry-out trade. Gone were the café menus and, with talented Italian chefs, this new dining experience was an instant hit.
Aldo’s Griddle Grill became the fore-runner to the entire restaurant direct street trade, which flourishes to this day, with full bookings day and night and regular customers from Kilmacolm in the east, to Largs and Dunoon from the west. La Taverna Restaurant for fine dining followed and the spread of Aldo’s trained chefs and staff through the west of Scotland is well recorded.
With West Blackhall Street booming, Aldo turned to household goods and opened Electra, which covered all facets of household requirements. Despite fierce opposition from national chains and, more recently the further challenge of charity industries, Electra remains and is now one of the oldest established commercial businesses in West Blackhall Street.
Aldo then expanded into property, purchasing and developing Castle Levan Hotel and estate in Gourock, as well as completing numerous flat conversions throughout Greenock. He was also a leading partner and impetus for the Stewart Centre in West Stewart Street, including the opening of one of the first fast food shops, Quincy’s.
His career influence and achievements over the decades have resulted in major jobs creation and economic benefit to the lower Clyde, making him a worthy recipient of the Bee’s Knees Business Awards 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Best Performing Small/Medium Business -- Union Projects
Union Projects was created in 2012 by a team of like-minded construction professionals. The business had been built via a truly collaborative approach through which it operates as a stand-alone main contractor. Via this approach, it has steadily developed into an exciting and reliable business. Its aim is to continue to grow the company into a successful and sought-after regional contractor in Scotland. Projects range from £10,000 to £5 million. Union Projects works in partnership with clients, consultants and design teams to ensure the successful delivery of every project and that the client’s expectations are exceeded.
Best Performing Large Business and Manufacturer or Producer of the Year - Ferguson Marine Engineering
By autumn, this year, £25 million will have been invested in Ferguson Marine, transforming a tired and broken shipyard into one of the most advanced in the world. Despite a two-year demolish-and-rebuild programme, the team launched their third hybrid battery ferry and are now building two 100-metre liquefied natural gas (LNG) ferries for CMAL, the first in the UK.
In 2016, Ferguson Marine was proud to be appointed to the MoD Roster, to help build the next generation of Royal Navy frigates, and started to secure the long-term future for the yard and Inverclyde, with 35 new apprentices and more to be added this year.
Most Promising New Business - Lose It & Love It
Christy Hyslop of Lose It & Love It is a fully accredited private weight loss practitioner and nutrition coach based in Kilmacolm. She carries out personalised weight loss consultations, on a one-to-one basis and online, coaching clients who believe they are overweight or are looking to improve their nutrition for overall health benefits. Christy provides advice on weight loss, nutrition, how to maintain a healthy weight and the importance of an active lifestyle. Her approach ensures that clients make lasting changes to their diet and lifestyle.
Emerging Young Talent - Claire McParland, Deputy Manager, Holiday Inn Express Hotel
“Stars of the Future” is part of the hotel’s core values. At each level of staffing, the team is continually developed to ensure they can competently meet the needs of a promoted position within the hotel. This continues through succession planning up to, as with Claire, deputy general manager positions. With this focus, it maintains an ability to progress, achieve and develop an ambition that is embraced by all staff, giving them a reason to strive and maintain their performance. Claire was presented as a candidate in Emerging Young Talent having shone throughout this process.
Excellence in Customer Focus - Waterfront Cinema
As Greenock’s local independent four-screen cinema, the community is extremely important. The team strive to provide the best quality customer service by creating a welcoming atmosphere, offering more content and investing in refurbishment and digital machinery. To aid its community, it works closely with local schools, charities and activity groups, providing donations and accommodating their needs with specific private screenings. As investing in young people in the Inverclyde community is also important to the business, it has undertaken training schemes for young members of its team. It is very proud to have been awarded an Investor in Young People Award for its efforts.
Excellence in Marketing and Communications - Wet Wall Works
From supplying and installing bathrooms for more than 30 years with its Bathroom Elegance business, the team identified a gap in the market for alternative waterproof wall and ceiling panels, a cost-effective, hassle-free alternative to tiles. In October 2014, Wet Wall Works was born. An effective brand logo was created with a distinctive ‘tick’ in a water droplet, symbolising that the waterproof product works. It is featured on signage, marketing materials, company uniforms and vehicle liveries. Along with the slogan, Goodbye tiles, Hello Wet Wall! the brand has become synonymous with quality and value for money, driving rapid business growth with three locations in Greenock, Hillington and Kilmarnock, and an e-commerce website.
Best Use of New Technology or Innovation - RIG Arts
RIG Arts is a socially-engaged arts charity that brings artists and the community together in a collaborative and creative way using art, film, media and animation. The team create and deliver a dynamic programme of visual arts, film and media projects, workshops, lessons, training, community events and exhibitions. RIG Arts engages young people through cultural activities and heritage, enhancing their lives, developing new skills and encouraging citizenship, community development and education.
Excellence in Skills and Learning - Morton in the Community
Morton Community is the charitable organisation run by Greenock Morton Football Club. Its work is focused on supporting the community of Inverclyde. Since 2013, Morton Community has been committed to being ‘The Heartbeat of Inverclyde’. The small organisation has four key focuses of work, which are to encourage mass participation and enjoyment in sport, including football and hockey; to develop creative and meaningful educational projects; to deliver employability programmes engaging with those furthest from the labour market; and tackling health inequalities through its health and well-being projects.
Proud to be in Inverclyde - Scotland’s Boat Show
Scotland’s Boat Show is the largest boat show in Scotland and largest brokerage (pre-owned) show in the UK, attracting more than 16,000 visitors to Inverclyde each October. As well as more than 150 new and used boats, attractions include the West College Scotland Food and Drink pavilion with celebrity chef Nick Nairn, 70 local craft and artisan traders in the Clyde Lifestyle Pavilion, luxury cars, helicopter flights, a children’s fun area and the Riverside Inverclyde ‘Get On The Water’ Pavilion, which shows how to get involved in sailing and boating. Entry to Scotland’s Boat Show is free so as to attract visitors from all walks of life and encourage them to enjoy Inverclyde and Scotland’s world class sailing waters.