An awards evening last night at Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire, honoured the achievements of six companies that feature in this year’s Thames Valley 250, the regional ranking of leading privately-owned companies.
The winners of the eighth annual awards were announced to a specially invited audience of 60 local business leaders by David Murray, publisher of The Business Magazine. He noted that between them, the TV250 companies have combined sales of £21.6 billion and employ over 100,000 people. “Your contribution to the economy of the region, and the UK, is significant,” he said.
Representatives from TV250 sponsors – bankers HSBC, business advisers Moore Stephens and law firm Gateley plc – presented awards for outstanding performances in six categories. All 25 finalists were profiled during the ceremony before the winners were revealed.
Mabey builds bridge from past to future
The evening’s guest speaker Juliette Stacey, chief executive officer of Mabey Group (37 in the TV250), gave a fascinating insight into how the company transformed in the face of significant challenges. Mabey is a leading international bridge and engineering services company headquartered in Reading.
Stacey explained how the nearly 100 year-old formerly family-run business coped with turbulence by taking drastic action. Today, Mabey embraces the latest digital technology and robotics to design and build bridges. She offered a glimpse into Mabey’s future beyond its traditional steel product heritage, emphasising that strong corporate values drive the company forward. “We keep construction safer through expert engineering, and help our customers deliver projects quickly, safely and efficiently,” she said.
Mabey recognises the importance of its people in meeting a goal to double the size of the business in the next five years. “We are finding new ways to attract, develop and retain quality people, who are first in our plans for the future,” she said.
And the winners are…
International Business Award
Finalists: Direct Wines, International Group (Stoke Park), Owen Mumford, Vectair
Winner: Owen Mumford
A company that is truly international and has developed its international presence over the past 10 years. It now has offices in the UK, USA, France, Germany, China, Mexico and Malaysia and is a specialist distributor across five continents.
Owner-Managed Business Award
Finalists: Chas A Blatchford, Direct Wines, Furniture Village, Huntswood
A company whose financial track record speaks for itself with revenues and profits increasing 10 and 50-fold since 2009. However, it is the company’s clear commitment to its 5,000 people, the fact it has featured in the Sunday Times Best Companies Awards since 2012, as well as its support for local Thames Valley causes, that has differentiated the business.
Fast Riser Award
Finalists: Chevron Traffic Management, GreenTech Distribution, Thames Materials, Westcoast
A fast riser that has had phenomenal growth this year and dramatically increased revenue by over £300 million. In the past 10 years, it has expanded rapidly to become the UK’s leading distributor for technology vendors, including HP, Apple and Microsoft.
Finalists: DAR Lighting, Hatch Mansfield, JSP, Surelock McGill
Winner: Hatch Mansfield
A company that in 2015 began an innovative project that has become an industry-first and despite challenges is proving a great success, bringing top-quality English sparkling wine to our tables.
CEO (under £25m) Award
Finalists: Lee Biggins, CV Library; Matt Franklin, Roc Technologies; Trevor Marshall, Direktek Distribution; Warren Richmond, Retail Marketing Group
Winner: Lee Biggins, CV Library
Biggins has developed one of the fastest-growing businesses in the UK – and indeed the pre-eminent site for live vacancies in the country. A true entrepreneur, he has built this highly successful company from a standing start.
CEO (over £25m) Award
Finalists: Howard Bellm, Intersurgical; Peter Digby, Xtrac; Peter Harrison, Furniture Village; Steve Hawkins, Xeretec; Joe Hemani, Westcoast
Winner: Peter Harrison, Furniture Village
Harrison had a vision in 1989 to establish a company that provided quality high-end furniture at the best price. He has led the business to be the largest privately owned independent furniture retailer with a team of over 900 staff and 50 stores across the country. This is an exceptional achievement given the macro-economic environment and competitive landscape. Alongside this, the company was voted as the number one employer in furniture retail in 2016 demonstrating its ability to build a positive culture throughout the business.
The Thames Valley 250 is also sponsored by Henley Business School.