A north-east entrepreneur who founded and built a successful international engineering group was posthumously honoured with a lifetime achievement award at an event attended by 600 people in Aberdeen last night.
There was pride mixed with sadness as Score International managing director Conrad Ritchie collected the accolade on behalf of his late father, Score Group founder Charles Ritchie, during the black-tie Northern Star Business Awards ceremony.
Mr Ritchie senior died, aged 69, after a short illness earlier this year, having already been chosen for his prestigious Northern Star gong.
Organised by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) and now in their 14th year, the annual awards recognise exceptional business accomplishments in the region.
A total of 42 finalists were at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre last night to find out who would lift awards across 14 categories.
The business of the year accolade went to energy services company Aisus Offshore, which has expanded into new markets including Trinidad, Norway, Denmark and the Mediterranean, with plans for Malaysia and the Middle East.
It achieved profitability after just six months of trading and has exceeded financial growth targets.
Churchill Drilling Tools came away with the award for achievement in international business, while Absafe scooped the accolade for outstanding contribution to society.
Also celebrating are Korero PR – winner of the public relations campaign of the year award – and TWMA, which was honoured for its commitment to innovative research and development.
A strong commitment to people development earned Huntly-based kitchen and plumbing firm James Laing and Sons one of the other awards, while Aberdeen Performing Arts received its gong for excellent customer service.
Construction firm Stewart Milne Group won the award for excellence in health and safety and there was an honour too for Craig Group subsidiary Craig International, which was rewarded for excellence and innovation in procurement.
The rising star award went to Andrew Johnson of Blaze Manufacturing Solutions, with Marathon Oil and Douneside House picking up student placement and green honours respectively.
A partnership between Stonehaven’s Mackie Academy and the Royal Air Force won the “inspiring the next generation” award.
AGCC chief executive Russell Borthwick said: “Companies in this part of the world and their staff are renowned for their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, and these awards provide a great stage to showcase and celebrate this.
“If we’re not prepared to talk ourselves up, no one else is going to do it for us.”