Northern Star Business Awards

The Northern Star Business Awards is the Chamber’s annual awards evening which recognises companies around the North-east for exceptional accomplishments across a range of fields, from energy to innovation, customer service to people development.

Thirty-nine finalists joined the 700 guests on September 22 2016 to celebrate excellence and entrepreneurship during the spectacular evening at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Congratulations to all of our 2016 winners and finalists.

To view more images from the evening, visit our image gallery.

"Despite the difficult economic climate, Northern Star entry levels remained high in terms of quantity but most importantly quality, making these awards a true benchmark of business excellence in North-east Scotland."

Russell Borthwick, chief executive of the Chamber
Read the 2016 • winners review
Dates for your diary
  • Northern Star Business Awards 2017 Launch: Wednesday March 1, 2017 – 4-6pm, Macdonald Norwood Hall
  • Nominations close: Friday April 21, 2017 – 12 noon
  • Judging: Tuesday May 30
  • Lunch with the president: Thursday June 29, 2017 – 12-2.30pm, Macdonald Norwood Hall
  • Finalists Reception: Thursday September 28, 2017 – 4.30-6.30pm, Macdonald Norwood Hall
Interested in being a 2017 sponsor?

If your business is looking to raise their profile in 2017, we have a range of sponsorship opportunities available for next year's awards. 

To find out more, read our Sponsorship Proposal.


2016 Charities

Over £5,600 was raised for local charities through the generosity of the guests who attended our 2016 event.

The five charities chosen to benefit from this year's Northern Star Business Awards are:


At the safe, we make safety fun. Using interactive education, we created a safety funfair to make learning an experience to remember. Experience dangerous situations so you can learn to make safe decisions and mitigate the risks you’re exposed to every day. 

North East Sensory Services

North East Sensory Services (NESS) helps blind and deaf people achieve independence. From rehabilitation to youth clubs, NESS is an award winning charity which supports over 4800 people in the North-east of Scotland by providing practical, emotional and social support. 

Royal National Lifeboat Institution 

The RNLI – the charity that saves lives at sea. 

Our vision is to end preventable loss of life by drowning.  We do this by providing a rescue service, safety education, supervision on beaches and influencing others.

Respect the Water.


Scarf is a vibrant social enterprise delivering services to alleviate fuel poverty and create a fairer society. We aim for a world class service for customers with an award-winning approach to creating a positive working environment for staff.

CLAN Cancer Support

CLAN Cancer Support provides emotional and practical support to people affected by cancer, their family, supporters and friends. Through support and wellbeing centres located across north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland, CLAN offers support from pre-diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.

Winners & Finalists

2016 Finalists

Lifetime Achievement sponsored by Barclays Bank

  • Rob Wallen, NESCOL

Achievement in International Business sponsored by Alix Partners

  • Churchill Drilling Tools
  • Downhole Products
  • John Ross Jr Aberdeen - WINNER

Best Campaign of the Year sponsored by Frasermedia

  • Aberdeen Festivals
  • Korero PR and SMART, in partnership Robert Gordon University (RGU)
  • Step Change In Safety - Highly Commended
  • Tricker PR - WINNER
Commitment to Innovative Use of Research & Development sponsored by Scottish Enterprise
  • Churchill Drilling Tools
  • Quayside Fabrication - Highly Commended

Commitment to People Development sponsored by Maersk Training

  • Richard Irvin Energy Solutions
  • Scarf - WINNER
  • Swagelok Scotland

Excellence in Customer Service sponsored by James Gibb Residential Factors

  • Aberdeen International Airport
  • Control Valve Solutions
  • Simblox Technologies - Highly Commended
  • Thorpe Molloy Recruitment - WINNER

 Excellence in Health and Safety sponsored by IOSH

  • Aberdeen International Airport
  • Interwell
  • Sodexo Energy and Resources - WINNER

Outstanding Contribution to Society sponsored by Balmoral Group

  • Aberdeen FC Community Trust
  • Aberdeen Performing Arts
  • Score (Europe) Limited - WINNER
  • The Spotty Bag Shop 

Outstanding Contribution to the Energy Sector sponsored by Redwave 

  • FIS Chemicals - WINNER
  • Optimus Seventh Generation
  • READ Cased Hole

 Overall Business of the Year sponsored by Mattioli Woods

  • Balmoral Group Holdings - WINNER
  • FIS Chemicals
  • Hudsons Catering

 Rising Star sponsored by Wood Group

  • Hutcheon Mearns - Julita Stachowiak
  • Mackie's of Scotland - Stuart Common - WINNER
  • Sureclean - Mathew Pirie 

Student Placement sponsored by Robert Gordon University

  • Aberdeenshire Council - WINNER
  • Johnston Carmichael
  • Marathon Oil 

The Green Award sponsored by Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council

  • Deeside Activity Park - WINNER
  • Scarf
  • VG Energy



The winner of the final award, for lifetime achievement, is announced on the night.

For information regarding attendance or sponsorship, visitwww.northernstarawards.co.uk, call 01224 343901 or follow #TimeToShine on Twitter.



Meet the panel of judges for this year's Northern Star Business Awards.


Jacqueline van den Akker, director of Redwave (Aberdeen) Ltd

Jacqueline has been Director for Redwave (Aberdeen) Ltd since 2008 and has been active in Personnel Recruitment and HR Management within the oil, gas and energy industry for more than 15 years. 

Jacqueline values in being part of a community and has regularly volunteers for charitable work and is a member of local community organisations.

Barry Fraser, EY

Barry Fraser leads the transactions team at EY in Aberdeen and has advised corporate and financial clients on strategy and transactions for over 20 years. 

Barry also sits on the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce policy council.


Fiona Mann
Fiona Mann, AECC

Fiona has worked for the past 14 years at AECC managing all of the operational aspects of the venue, from events to facilities management and specialising in health and safety. Offshore Europe the largest event that AECC hosts biennially, is project managed by Fiona and has been for the past six.

Currently Fiona is working with the Aberdeen City Council and their developers, on the design of the new AECC due to open early 2019.

Prior to working at the AECC Fiona worked for Fifth Ring Ltd as production manager, Covey McCormick and Aberdeen Journals Ltd also in administrative and production roles.

Fiona started her career in the BBC back in early 1990 as a freelance assistant floor manager on shows such as Beechgrove Gardens and Reporting Scotland.


Steve Nicol, Wood Group PSN

Steve Nicol is Wood Group PSN’s chief financial officer with responsibility for all aspects of WGPSN’s finance and administration including commercial, IT & security, real estate and legal services.

Steve has more than 20 years’ oil and gas experience with an in-depth knowledge of reporting, auditing, mergers and acquisitions, and financial management.

He is a key member of WGPSN executive committee and sits on the board of the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce.


John Brebner, Clydesdale Bank

Born in Aberdeen, John is a career banker who has 33 years banking experience. 

John works for Clydesdale Bank as head of their regional Customer Banking Centre and is also regional head of specialist and acquisition finance.

He has been involved in various roles within retail, business and corporate banking as well as roles within the banks risk and credit functions.

John is a non-executive director and Vice President of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce.


Judith Thorpe, Thorpe Molloy Recruitment Ltd

Judith is a co-founder and director of Thorpe Molloy Recruitment.

Since start up in 1997, the business has extended its specialist recruitment services across 10 disciplines.

Judith is the local Chair of Entrepreneurial Scotland, an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland, and a board member of the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and Developing the Young Workforce North East Scotland.

She is actively involved in supporting local charity, The Sandpiper Trust.


Austin Baird, IOSH

Austin is a chartered safety and health professional with over 25 years experience of leading workforce health and safety in international oil & gas operations.

Experienced in providing innovative solutions to challenging, high value, safety sensitive operations at all levels of organisations.

He is a respected HES professional who combines extensive HES knowledge with the ability to drive team performance and deliver incident free operations.  

Austin is currently the Chairperson of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) in Scotland.


Lynn Carter, Scottish Enterprise

Lynn Carter is strategic relationship manager with Scottish Enterprise in the oil and gas team.

Her main focus is engaging with senior industry representatives from Scotland and other strategic partners across government and Industry bodies.

Lynn is also on the project team for the Energy Jobs Task Force.


Carl Hodson

Carl started his working life with RBS in Shetland some 30 years ago.

Carl has a wide range of experience in local and regional businesses through different sectors holding senior positions in property, finance and third sector businesses throughout his time in the North-east.


Craig Stevenson, Bon Accord & St Nicholas Shopping Centre

Craig is centre manager for Bon Accord & St Nicholas Shopping Centre having had extensive retail experience as store manager of BHS, House of Fraser and latterly Debenhams, where he won the Scottish Retail Award for Store Manager of the Year 2010.


Kevin McCormick, ARCHIE Foundation

Kevin is managing director of The McCormick Consultancy (Aberdeen) Ltd, specialists in marketing and PR communications, a role which he fulfils on behalf of The ARCHIE Foundation.

A Fellow of the IOD he is a trustee of ARCHIE and Grampian Transport Museum, and a member of the Board of Governors of Lathallan School.

He chairs the Chamber’s Skills Network Group and sits on the Board of the ‘Invest in Young People’ initiative.


Simpson Buglass, Savills

Simpson is a director and head of the Aberdeen Office at Savills.

As well as his role on the Chamber policy council, he is Honorary Consul for the Republic of Estonia and a member of the RICS Dispute Resolution Panel.


Beverley Tricker, Tricker PR

Beverley, managing director of Tricker PR, is a member of the CIPR and the PRCA and one of only seven Scots to make it into the industry's definitive guide: The PR Powerbook.

Beverley has built a reputation for offering creative PR and marketing solutions to her clients.


James Dunphy, Robert Gordon University

James Dunphy is head of the department for the enhancement of learning, teaching and access at Robert Gordon University (RGU).

His responsibilities include e-learning, study support, academic staff development and outreach activity. 

James is also responsible for the university’s relationships with partner colleges, most notably the North East Scotland College.

Previously a staff governor of RGU, James is University Trustee of the RGU Union, a member of the policy council of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Scottish Funding Council’s Access and Inclusion Committee.


Eileen McBay, Eastern Airways

Eileen, an Aberdonian educated at Albyn School Girls, has worked in the oil & gas industry and in the hospitality industry as a sales manager for Holiday Inn Bucksburn and local hotelier Stewart Spence.

She then pursued a career in the Airline industry, working with Gill Airways before moving to North-east England where she worked as business development/account manager for over six years with Air France and Air France KLM, before joining Eastern Airways in 2008.

Eileen is a member of the Burgess of Guild and an associate member of Institute of Marketing.


Mike Reid, Mattioli Woods plc

Mike has worked in the financial services industry for over 28 years, and has specialised in strategic employer advice, change management, flexible benefits and employee engagement.

Mike is located in the Aberdeen office, where he heads up the north division employee benefits consultancy team.

Mike’s role involves working closely with senior HR professionals to design, implement and communicate employee benefits programmes which link their organisational business goals and reward strategy.

Mike also heads up the flexible benefits and total reward team at Mattioli Woods.


Stephen Williams, Macdonald Pittodrie House Hotel

Stephen is regional managing director for Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, with responsibility for Norwood Hall, Pittodrie House, Drumossie and Forest Hills.

Previously he was a resort general manager of Macdonald Aviemore Resort.

Before joining Macdonald Hotels, he held various roles with Village Hotels, and the Malmaison & Hotel du Vin Group.

Bill Beattie, Chief Executive, Matrix Risk Control Ltd

Bill joined Matrix in January 2015 as chief executive. He has 40 years experience in the construction and development industry rising to become the chief executive of a major Development and Construction Group with a turnover of £80 million and 350 direct employees.

Douglas Rennie, Business Development Executive, Aberdeenshire Council

Douglas is a business development executive within the Economic Development Department of Aberdeenshire Council. Based in Inverurie the role involves providing business support and advice to local businesses.

This work brings him into contact with a very wide range of businesses. The main aim is to help SME’s realise their growth potential that  assists economic growth in the north east.

John Abate, Managing Director, Maersk Training

John Abate is the Managing Director of Maersk Training in Aberdeen, specialist training providers for the Oil & Gas and Renewables sectors.

Prior to his appointment in August 2014, John worked for Amazon, a Dragon’s Den entrepreneur and John Lewis, in addition to being self employed.

Educated at Imperial College in Mechanical Engineering, John gained chartered status on the Institute of Mechanical Engineering during his time in the military.