Celebrating Successful Business at the Midlands Gateway Chamber Best in Business Awards 2014

The Midlands Gateway Chamber Best in Business Awards were held in The Annebrook House Hotel on a beautiful summers evening, last Friday 16th May 2014.  Guests were welcomed into The Old House by a fabulous red carpet Champagne and strawberries reception, sponsored by the Annebrook House Hotel which gave business people from across the Midlands an excellent Networking opportunity. Mr. Pat Whelan, President, Mullingar Chamber of Commerce welcomed everyone to this, the fourth annual Midlands Gateway Chamber Best in Business Awards, by stepping into the shoes of his dear friend John Humphries, President of Midlands Gateway Chamber.  Pat extended the welcome that John had prepared, but sadly was unable to give as he lost his brave battle with Cancer and was laid to rest just the previous day (Thursday 15th).  Pat echoed John’s words from last year’s Awards “Let’s be honest about it, business in today’s environment is tough. Taking the decision to start up a business is one of the hardest choices a person can make; it takes a certain type of person to take that initial leap of faith to start a business, for someone to be successful in that venture is a completely different story and encompasses personal qualities only those in business and their families can understand.” The hugely successful annual event was a sell-out and Mr Whelan continued by telling the business community “These awards recognise and honour that hard work, dedication and perseverance to help promote excellence and innovation in our regional business community” “There is much support for businesses available from the various agencies including the regional authorities, the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, the new Local Enterprise Offices, Community Development Agencies, Dept. of Social Protection and let’s not forget your local Chambers of Commerce.” “When the rain comes we shelter under an umbrella, when it’s raining economically the business community can shelter under the umbrella of the Chambers of Commerce and work together to protect ourselves from the rain and prepare ourselves for the advantages that will come our way when the sun returns.” Mr Whelan concluded his speech by saying: “In this room are our brightest and our best; experts across all fields of business where you will find the support you need. We will rise by lifting each other.” Cllr. Peter Burke, Chairperson Westmeath County Council addressed the audience stressing the importance of working together to support eachother. Last to speak before the Awards Ceremony officially got underway was Mr Frank Mulrennan, Chief Executive Officer, Celtic Media Group, who explained how they are now 132 years supporting the community.  Celtic Media Group is owned by an Irish management team, they provide jobs for 125 people across 4 counties and bring €5m in salaries each year into the community.  He continued by saying that they print their own titles & other national/regional titles and have a centralised pre-press editorial & graphic design. The awards ceremony got under way with Mr. Will Faulkner, Midlands 103 as Master of Ceremonies. The first award presented was to the Emerging New Business Award Category winner Let’s talk Solar, Mullingar.  A delighted Niall Malone, General Manager accepted the award, kindly sponsored by AIB, from Mr. Miles Gillespie, Branch Manager AIB Mullingar.  Other finalists in this category were Fix My i and LighterLife. The next award of the evening was Best Multi-National Business Award, kindly sponsored by the IDA. Ms. Breda O’Toole, Head of Regional Business Development with IDA Ireland presented the award to the winner, Ms Carol Finch representing Cameron Ireland, Longford. The other finalists in this category were Abbott Diagnostics and Covidien. The Best Cultural Tourism Award, kindly sponsored by MidlandsIreland.ie, was presented to winners Ballinahown Craft Village, Athlone.  The other finalists in this category who were highly commended were Athlone Castle & Luan Gallery and Mullingar Arts Centre. The winner of the Green Initiative Award was Brendan Dooley, The Print Factory, Co. Offaly.  The award was presented by Mr. Paul Riordan, Bord Na Mona’s Head of Stock.  The other finalists in this category were Dezynamite and Polar Ice Tech Ltd. The next Award was the first of three new Awards introduced this year and was the Employer of the Year Award, which was sponsored by our Charity Sponsor of the Year Midlands Simon Community.  Their CEO Mr Tony O’Riordan presented the Award to delighted winners Mergon Group, Co. Westmeath.  The other finalists in this category were The Greville Arms Hotel and Mullingar Credit Union The Retail Excellence Award, kindly sponsored by MUSGRAVE MarketPlace, was presented to the winners Market Point/Green Road/Austin Friar Pharmacies, Mullingar. The other finalists in this category were Colm Quinn BMW & MINI and Woodgrove Interiors. Next up was the Award that received the most number of nominee’s, making it a difficult one for the judges to choose,  the Best Business Website Award, newly introduced this year was kindly sponsored by BB Awards & Promotions (who incidentally supplied each of the beautiful quality Awards the winners received on the night).  Niall Maher, MD presented the Award to a delighted Matt Buckley of Quality Tractor Parts, Mullingar.  The other finalists in this category were Birr Theatre & Arts Centre and Hip Baby. The Best Customer Focus Award, was kindly sponsored by Motivation Weight Management.  The Award was presented by Ms Stephanie Clayton to Mary Hensey, Manager of Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre.  Both Preston House and Red Earth were runners up in this tough category. The Outstanding Business Award, kindly sponsored by Celtic Media Group was next.  Dale Greenwood, Group Business Manager presented winners Colm Quinn BMW & MINI with their award, which they delightedly took back to Athlone. The other finalists in this category were O’Donohue’s Bakery and Red Earth. The final business award was the Business Person of the Year Award, kindly sponsored by Westmeath Independent. The winner was Cathal O’Donohue, O’Donohues Bakery, Tullamore. Unfortunately, Cathal was unable to make the evening so his daughter Louise accepted the Award on her Father’s behalf from Padraic Martin, Sales Manager with Celtic Media Group .  The other finalists were Mr. Bertie Dunne, Annebrook House Hotel and Ms. Alison Ritchie, Polar Ice. The Life Time Achievement Award was kindly sponsored by Westmeath Examiner and the Editor Mr. Brian O’Loughlin presented the award to the astonished winner Mr. Paddy Murphy, Chairman, Mullingar Credit Union.  Paddy joined the Board of Mullingar Credit Union in 1971 and continues to be a member of the Board to the present day.  He was appointed Chairman of Mullingar Credit Union in 1977 and held the position continuously until he stepped down in 2013.Paddy was joined on the night by many colleagues and family members. The Midlands Ambassador of the Year Award was kindly sponsored by Midlands Gateway Chamber. The winner of the award, Ms Anne Heraty, CEO of CPL Resources , unfortunately couldn’t be there in person to accept the award, due to a prior commitment.  Anne is one of the most prominent and wealthy women in Irish business, she co-founded recruitment agency CPL in 1989 and went on to become the first female CEO of an Irish company floated on the Irish Stock Exchange. She hails from Longford and holds a BA in maths and economics from UCD.  Anne is looking forward to working as Ambassador for the Midlands region in the coming year.  Anne’s award was accepted by Mr. Albert Fitzgerald, Managing Director of Midlands 103 on her behalf. Mr. Will Faulkner invited Kathy Sheridan (a native of Westmeath) to the stage to speak to the audience. Kathy is an Award-Winning journalist with the Irish Times and co-author with colleague Frank McDonald, of The Builders, a book about the small group of developers who fuelled the building boom.  Kathy congratulated all involved with the organisation of such an event and said how delighted she was to join in celebrating all that is good in business in the Midlands.  She said that “Awards like these are important. They are important because they give well deserved recognition to the entrepreneurial efforts of the men and women running locally traded companies. They also showcase to the public the hard work, drive, commitment and innovation of those involved in the regional business community”. Jennifer Meehan, Operations Officer and Event Organiser, Midlands Gateway Chamber said ”We were delighted to welcome over 250 business people to celebrate and showcase the best the Midlands has to offer.  We want to thank all the finalists who put themselves forward for the Awards this year.  It’s not an easy thing to do as you are putting your business in the spotlight to be judged, so it just shows the confidence these businesses have in their products, staff and their business capabilities.  Each of them should be proud of their achievements to date, they are all winners in the Midlands and beyond and we wish them all the best of luck in the future.” MC Will Faulkner wrapped up the formalities by thanking all who made the evening possible and encouraging all attendee’s to use the rest of the evening to network.  The Awards concluded with a tribute to the late John Humphries, President, Midlands Gateway Chamber. For a selection of the Event's photo's, click on our dedicated Best in Business Awards Page: http://midlandsgatewaychamber.ie/best-in-business-awards/  
Group Winners Awards Photo 2014

Midlands Gateway Chamber Best in Business Award Winners 2014 photographed together with Mr. Pat Whelan, President Mullingar Chamber and Mr Frank Mulrennan Chief Executive Officer of Celtic Media Group, Main Sponsor of this years Awards Ceremony

This entry was posted in Best in Business Awards, Enterprise, Events, News, Regional Projects & Issues. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.