Business organisations and individual achievers from across the Hunter were awarded and recognised at the Business Hunter 2022 Hunter Business Awards, sponsored by the University of Newcastle, at NEX on Friday night.
It was a year in which resilience and innovation inevitably figured prominently in the judges’ deliberations.
· The Hi-Viz Group was announced as the region’s inaugural Business of the Year award winner.
Awards were presented in 17 categories before over 500 people at a ceremony that truly celebrated business resilience and success after another tough year for many of the regions industry sectors.
Justin Hales was named Business Leader of the Year in recognition of building one of the largest RV rental companies in Australia but also developing the concept, design, and technical roadmap to deliver an industry-leading solution for the RV rental industry.
Viv Alanson CEO of Maroba Aged Care was recognised for her outstanding advocacy and support for the Aged Care sector, a sector impacted and challenged more than most others by the Covid pandemic.
Out of the Square were recognised for their support for local entrepreneurial businesses and extensive patronizing of community causes which includes pro bono campaigns promoting businesses and the Region.
The Young Business Leader award to Scott Lynch recognises his journey to establish Community Therapy an organisation started in 2017 to serve the needs for better community and allied health access across and now beyond the Hunter Region. The organisation services more than 2,000 homes each week and has grown to a team of over 90 people.
The inaugural Hunter Business of the Year winner was taken out by the Hi-Viz Group. This award is judged as a ‘winner of the winners’ in business categories across the program.
Hi-Viz was recognised for its growth to become one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of road, safety and specialty custom signage and safety products. The family owned and operated business continues to lead in innovation and combining technological advances and sustainability into its practices which set it apart from an impressive list of other business category winners. Hi-Viz also took out the winners’ tag for Excellence in Sustainability and Excellence in Large Business award categories.
Business Hunter President Tony Rhodes congratulated all winners and finalists on their determination, commitment and entrepreneurship in what has been another challenging year for business owners and operators.
“Winning a Hunter Business Award in any year is a significant achievement and we must recognise the real challenges many businesses have faced over the last two years. For the Awards to attract so many quality entries was a real delight and surprise and a gauge on confidence for the prospects of the region looking ahead,” Mr Rhodes said.
“The past twelve months for businesses have demanded flexibility, versatility, courage and innovative thinking when you think back on the circumstances that have influenced and impacted the business environment.
“The admirable qualities reflected in all of the finalists represented in our Awards collectively demonstrate the strength and resilience of our diverse business community right across the Hunter.
Innovative clothing manufacturer Borne Clothing won the award for Excellence in Micro Business and Aussie Ark took out the Small Business Award in recognition of their commitment to the long term future for Australian threatened wildlife.
The Outstanding Community organisation award went to Home in Place (formerly Compass Housing), now one of the largest non-government providers of subsidised housing in Australia.
The Excellence in Export award was taken out by Batrium, a young company that creates lithium battery monitoring systems sold around the world to 54 different countries.
Resourceful Living, a company that recycles post-consumer plastic waste into brand new products took out the Outstanding Start up Award.
The highly contested Excellence in Innovation was awarded to Saphi Engineering for their work in technical integration on Australia’s first Microclimate control project.
The Employer of Choice award went to PKF Sydney and Newcastle based on some innovative and considered actions to ensure employee wellbeing through the worst of Covid.
Muswellbrook Chamber of Industry and Commerce won the Local Chamber of Commerce Award for its continued and growing support for businesses in the Muswellbrook community.
A full list of Business Award Winners and Highly Commended recipients is on the website.