Northern Star Business Awards

Nominations are now closed for the 2018 Northern Star Business Awards, the Chamber’s annual celebration of North-east business success.

Key dates

February 20           Nominations open

March 7                 Nominations workshop

May 22                  Finalists announced

September 20       Finalist’s reception

September 27       Awards ceremony

With an audience of around 600 guests, the Northern Star Business Awards recognise the exceptional accomplishments of organisations across the North-east.

From pioneering innovation and outstanding customer service to excellence in people development, environmental outlook and marketing prowess, the Northern Star Awards provide the a high-profile platform for showcasing success.

Now in their 15th year, the 2018 awards have been refreshed to better reflect the dynamic, progressive and diverse range of businesses who are doing good things in our area.

The winners will be unveiled during a glittering black-tie ceremony at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre on Thursday, September 27.

2017 Winners

2017 Winners



Each year we work with five member organisations (registered charities) to be the beneficiaries of envelope donations made on the night.

Through the generosity of attendees, the Northern Star Business Awards have raised more than £30,000 in the last five years towards helping local charities

For the 2018 Awards, Dial-a-Bus, Me Too!, Marie Curie, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation and Mental Health Aberdeen have been nominated as charity partners.

Dial-a-Community Bus

Dial-a-Community Bus is a social enterprise which focuses on reducing social exclusion through the provision of high quality community transport delivery and support services.  It is a community owned Company Limited by Guarantee and Scottish Charity which has been operating for over 20 years





Mental Health Aberdeen 

Charity that offers free Counselling and information in the North-east to those suffering from problems with their mental health.


Meet the judges


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


John Brebner, director, Brebner Consulting Ltd

In 2016, John established his own consultancy business Brebner Consulting Ltd focusing on business advisory services, targeting a mix of direct Board appointments (executive and non-executive) as well as project based advisory work.

This followed a 34 year career with Clydesdale Bank where he undertook various senior roles, latterly head of Regional Business & Private Banking Centre – East Scotland and Regional head of Specialist & Acquisition Finance – North of Scotland.

Derren McRae, managing director, CBRE

Educated at University of Aberdeen, Derren joined commercial property advisers CBRE in July 2009 and was appointed MD of the Aberdeen office in 2012.

Derren has been involved in a number of major commercial developments across the city including Marischal Square, The Silver Fin Building, Union Plaza and Union Square.

Derren is also a board member of both AGCC and Aberdeen Inspired and a Director of local hospitality operator, The McGintys Group.

Stephen Hepburn, head of customer banking, Clydesdale Bank

Stephen Hepburn is a chartered banker and a graduate of both Napier University and The University of Glasgow Business School where he completed an MSc in Organisational Development.

He has more than 25 years’ experience in banking and over the last 15 years has held senior leadership positions in retail, private and business banking across Scotland with Clydesdale Bank.

He is currently a member of the Banks Senior Leadership team in Scotland via his role as Head of Customer Banking based in Aberdeen where he has responsibility for implementing a local Banking strategy for the City and Shire across all customer segments.

Rachel Elliott, manager, Developing the Young Workforce North East Scotland

Rachel joined in September 2016 as manager of the Developing the Young Workforce team, the industry-led group which has been set up to facilitate more engagement between businesses and education. Rachel has day-to-day responsibility for delivery of the initiatives and programmes being devised by the team and is a passionate advocate for apprenticeships.

Rachel was previously policy executive at the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, and was responsible for delivery of the Chamber’s policy work which included engagement with politicians and civil servants and policy development with Chamber members. She also spent four years working in the world of politics, supporting a North East MSP on local campaigns, research and media relations.

In her spare time Rachel is a leader in a local Girls’ Brigade company and is also part of the Scotland-wide training team, supporting trainee Girls’ Brigade leaders through their leadership programme.

Tom Sanders, senior audit manager, EY

Tom is a Senior audit manager at EY Aberdeen with over 8 years’ experience in the industry. Tom has a varied portfolio of clients including oil and gas operators as well as others in different sectors. In addition to his role, he leads recruitment activities for EY Aberdeen and hosts various technical forums. Tom is also a member of the AGCC policy council and participates in the Vanguard series. Tom is also passionate about promoting the region as a vibrant and dynamic area.

Dr Deborah A. O'Neil, chief executive Officer, NovaBiotics Ltd

Deborah is the founder & CEO of NovaBiotics, a leading global biotechnology company developing anti-infective drug candidates for medically unmet infectious diseases. Deborah is editor of the European Biopharmaceutical Review & International Pharmaceutical Technology, a member of the Scottish Life Science Industry Leadership Group, Advisory Board of the Scottish Life Sciences Association, the Life Sciences board of Opportunity North East & a proud Trustee of Crohn’s in Childhood Research Association.

Pádraig McCloskey, external relations manager, Shell U.K. Limited

After graduating from Imperial College in 2002, Pádraig joined Shell, initially working on the Pernis Refinery in the Netherlands in a technical role. After three years in Holland Pádraig made a significant career move into communications when he moved back to Ireland for the first of two spells working on the Corrib Gas Project. Pádraig has subsequently worked in the US and Canada before moving to Aberdeen in 2012. 

Pádraig believes the North-east has great potential and is excited by the opportunity to support the Chambers vision for the region.

Angela Greenhalgh, commercial manager, Skene House HotelSuites

With over 20 years’ experience in the Hospitality industry, working with both Chain and Independent hotels across the UK, Angela joined Skene House HotelSuites in 2014, just as the downturn took effect.  With a degree in Hospitality Management, as well as her experience, Angela has aided Skene House through this challenging time using her knowledge of the market, hotel systems and revenue experience. Recent implementation of a new business model that she created has resulted in a better product offering for longer term guests, which is proving to be in high demand in the City.

Steve Nicol, chief financial officer, Wood

Steve Nicol is Wood’s Asset Solutions, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, chief financial officer with responsibility for all aspects of finance and administration including Commercial, IT & S, 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 the Wood’s Leadership Team and sits on the Board at Aberdeen Grampian Chamber of Commerce.


Business of the Year

Is your company the true star of the North-east for 2018? This award is for that one company who has shown excellent practice and inspiration to all businesses by being a market leader.

Customer First

The award is designed to celebrate those exceptional companies who put the interest of the customer at the heart of everything they do.

ECO Hero

Is your business passionate about the planet? If your business actively reduces impact to the environment to make a change, you should be in the running for this award.

Excellence in Health & Safety

If your business demonstrates exceptional processes to keep everyone safe, you should enter this category.

Family Business

Are you a fantastic family run or owned business? We are looking for a beacon of a North-east family business with an outstanding reputation and true integrity.

Going Global

Has your business made an impact overseas? This award will go to a company that has been successful in growing internationally. 

Inspiration from Innovation

This award will be rewarded to the company that is at the forefront of latest thinking and is using technology or innovation to drive the future

Making the Difference

Does your company have a big heart? Are you committed to positive change within the community? Celebrate this commitment by entering this category.

Marketing Magic

This award is for the company that has created a successful marketing campaign that has driven customers through the door or grown exposure.

Rising Star

Do you have a future star in your organisation? Are they destined for great things with your business? If you or a colleague has made a significant impact in your organisation apply for this award today.

Staff Matter

For organisations who take care of their people so their people take care of their business.

Inspiring Futures

This award is for a school and business who have worked together in partnership to deliver either work inspiration, work practice, work experience and jobs (or them all) to ensure young people are moving into work.