LOCAL Businesses Honoured At Bee's Knees Award Ceremony

Inverclyde Chamber directors join the Bee’s Knees winning line-up for 2017

ALDO Spella, a businessman considered a game-changer in the 1960s having introduced the bistro experience and accompanying carry-out trade, has lifted the Lifetime Achievement award in the Inverclyde Bee’s Knees Business Awards 2017.

Aldo joined ten category winners who took the top accolades at the 14th annual Chamber of Commerce gala dinner and awards ceremony, held in front of an audience of 300 in the Marquee at the Chartroom, Kip Marina.

Bee’s Knees Business Awards 2017 category winners    (Scroll down for photos and profiles of all winners)

Best Performing Small/Medium Business, sponsored by Waterfront Cinema

Winner: Union Projects

Best Performing Large Business, sponsored by premier partner Riverside Inverclyde

Winner: Ferguson Marine

Most Promising New Business, sponsored by Holiday Inn Express Hotel

Winner: Lose It and Love It

Emerging Young Talent, sponsored by Texas Instruments 

Winner: Claire McParland, Deputy Manager, Holiday Inn Express Hotel

Excellence in Customer Focus, sponsored by premier partner Inverclyde Council

Winner: Waterfront Cinema

Excellence in Marketing and Communications, sponsored by premier partner Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce 

Winner: Wet Wall Works

Best Use of New Technology or Innovation, sponsored by Autotec Scotland

Winner: RIG Arts

Manufacturer or Producer of the Year, sponsored by Union Projects

Winner: Ferguson Marine

Excellence in Skills and Learning, sponsored by West College Scotland.

Winner: Morton in the Community

Proud to be in Inverclyde, sponsored by CalMac Ferries

Winner: Scotland’s Boat Show

Linda Scott, president of Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our warm congratulations go to Aldo and another fantastic line-up of Bee’s Knees Business Awards winners.

“The gala dinner and awards ceremony are the highlight of our Chamber calendar of events. The awards initiative gives companies the opportunity to show their achievements and their ambitions, providing the backcloth and foundation for continued Inverclyde growth. We thank all our sponsors for joining with us to recognise the great talent we have here in Inverclyde.”

As well as enjoying the accolades of success, category winners were awarded a crystal trophy and framed certificate. For their own promotional purposes, media sponsor Gryffe Studios provides them with a broadcast-quality DVD showcasing their business, which was screened for the first time at the awards dinner. Other Bee’s Knees Business Awards sponsors are Elaine Stewart Public Relations, Love & Humphries, Wild Rose Flowers and BEP Signs.

Winners’ Profiles

Lifetime Achievement Award -- Aldo Spella

Aldo Spella, proud recipient of the Bee’s Knees Lifetime Achievement Award, is accompanied by sons Roland and Paolo, as he receives his trophy from Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce President Linda Scott.

Aldo Spella was selected as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 for his contribution to the economic well-being of Inverclyde. Up until 1964, dining out was a conservative and mainly middle class or higher preserve. For younger generations, café society was universal, with hot food the domain of the fish and chip shop.

Aldo is considered the game-changer for the local social scene. Having developed one of the most successful cafes in West Blackhall Street, Greenock, under the tutelage of his father, Aldo now believed that society was looking for change. He introduced the bistro experience with an accompanying carry-out trade. Gone were the café menus and, with talented Italian chefs, this new dining experience was an instant hit.

Aldo’s Griddle Grill became the fore-runner to the entire restaurant direct street trade, which flourishes to this day, with full bookings day and night and regular customers from Kilmacolm in the east, to Largs and Dunoon from the west. La Taverna Restaurant for fine dining followed and the spread of Aldo’s trained chefs and staff through the west of Scotland is well recorded.

With West Blackhall Street booming, Aldo turned to household goods and opened Electra, which covered all facets of household requirements. Despite fierce opposition from national chains and, more recently the further challenge of charity industries, Electra remains and is now one of the oldest established commercial businesses in West Blackhall Street.

Aldo then expanded into property, purchasing and developing Castle Levan Hotel and estate in Gourock, as well as completing numerous flat conversions throughout Greenock. He was also a leading partner and impetus for the Stewart Centre in West Stewart Street, including the opening of one of the first fast food shops, Quincy’s.

His career influence and achievements over the decades have resulted in major jobs creation and economic benefit to the lower Clyde, making him a worthy recipient of the Bee’s Knees Business Awards 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Category Winners:

Best Performing Small/Medium Business -- Union Projects

Union Projects director Michael Parker, centre, and office manager Mags Douglas, accept their Bee’s Knees Award for Best Performing Small/Medium Business from category sponsor David Shaw of Waterfront Cinema.

Union Projects was created in 2012 by a team of like-minded construction professionals. The business had been built via a truly collaborative approach through which it operates as a stand-alone main contractor. Via this approach, it has steadily developed into an exciting and reliable business. Its aim is to continue to grow the company into a successful and sought-after regional contractor in Scotland. Projects range from £10,000 to £5 million. Union Projects works in partnership with clients, consultants and design teams to ensure the successful delivery of every project and that the client’s expectations are exceeded.

Best Performing Large Business and Manufacturer or Producer of the Year -- Ferguson Marine

The Ferguson Marine team pick up their Best Performing Large Business award from Fiona Maguire, second right, acting chief executive with category sponsor Riverside Inverclyde

By autumn, this year, £25 million will have been invested in Ferguson Marine, transforming a tired and broken shipyard into one of the most advanced in the world. Despite a two-year demolish-and-rebuild programme, the team launched their third hybrid battery ferry and are now building two 100-metre liquefied natural gas (LNG) ferries for CMAL, the first in the UK.

Ferguson Marine picked up the Manufacturer or Producer of the Year award from Mags Douglas of category sponsor Union Projects.

In 2016, Ferguson Marine was proud to be appointed to the MoD Roster, to help build the next generation of Royal Navy frigates, and started to secure the long-term future for the yard and Inverclyde, with 35 new apprentices and more to be added this year.

Most Promising New Business -- Lose It & Love It

Christy Hyslop of Lose It & Love It, collects her award for Most Promising New Business from Colin Moore, general manager with category sponsor Holiday Inn Express Greenock.

Christy Hyslop of Lose It & Love It is a fully accredited private weight loss practitioner and nutrition coach based in Kilmacolm. She carries out personalised weight loss consultations, on a one-to-one basis and online, coaching clients who believe they are overweight or are looking to improve their nutrition for overall health benefits. Christy provides advice on weight loss, nutrition, how to maintain a healthy weight and the importance of an active lifestyle. Her approach ensures that clients make lasting changes to their diet and lifestyle.

Emerging Young Talent -- Claire McParland, Deputy Manager, Holiday Inn Express Hotel

Winner of Emerging Young Talent was Claire McParland, right, deputy general manager, Holiday Inn Express Hotel, pictured with Pearl Lindsay, human resources manager with category sponsor Texas Instruments.

“Stars of the Future” is part of the hotel’s core values. At each level of staffing, the team is continually developed to ensure they can competently meet the needs of a promoted position within the hotel. This continues through succession planning up to, as with Claire, deputy general manager positions. With this focus, it maintains an ability to progress, achieve and develop an ambition that is embraced by all staff, giving them a reason to strive and maintain their performance. Claire was presented as a candidate in Emerging Young Talent having shone throughout this process.

Excellence in Customer Focus -- Waterfront Cinema

Winner of Excellence in Customer Focus was the Waterfront Cinema, part of West Coast Cinemas. The team picked up their award from Provost Martin Brennan, representing category sponsor and Bee’s Knees premier partner Inverclyde Council.

For Greenock’s local independent four-screen cinema, the community is extremely important. The team strive to provide the best quality customer service
by creating a welcoming atmosphere, offering more content and investing in refurbishment and digital machinery. To aid
its community, it works closely with local schools, charities and activity groups, providing donations and accommodating their needs with specific private screenings. As investing in young people in the Inverclyde community is also important
to the business, it has undertaken training schemes for young members of its team. It is very proud to have been awarded an Investor in Young People Award for its efforts.

Excellence in Marketing and Communications -- Wet Wall Works 

Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce president Linda Scott (right), awards the Excellence in Marketing and Communications title to the Wet Wall Works team

From supplying and installing bathrooms for more than 30 years with its Bathroom Elegance business, the team identified a gap in the market for alternative waterproof wall and ceiling panels, a cost-effective, hassle-free alternative to tiles. In October 2014, Wet Wall Works was born. An effective brand logo was created with a distinctive ‘tick’ in a water droplet, symbolising that the waterproof product works. It is featured on signage, marketing materials, company uniforms and vehicle liveries. Along with the slogan, Goodbye tiles, Hello Wet Wall! the brand has become synonymous with quality and value for money, driving rapid business growth with three locations in Greenock, Hillington and Kilmarnock, and an e-commerce website.

Best Use of New Technology or Innovation -- RIG Arts


The RIG Arts team pick up their award for Best Use of New Technology or Innovation from Alan McGuigan, procurement manager with category sponsor Autotec Scotland.

RIG Arts is a socially-engaged arts charity that brings artists and the community together in a collaborative and creative way using art, film, media and animation. The team create and deliver a dynamic programme of visual arts, film and media projects, workshops, lessons, training, community events and exhibitions. RIG Arts engages young people through cultural activities and heritage, enhancing their lives, developing new skills and encouraging citizenship, community development and education.

Excellence in Skills and Learning -- Morton in the Community

Morton Community representatives Brian McLaughlin and Gordon McKillop pick up their award for Excellence in Skills and Learning from Audrey Cumberford, principal and chief executive with category sponsor West College Scotland

Morton Community is the charitable organisation run by Greenock Morton Football Club. Its work is focused on supporting the community of Inverclyde. Since 2013, Morton Community has been committed to being ‘The Heartbeat of Inverclyde’. The small organisation has four key focuses of work, which are to encourage mass participation and enjoyment in sport, including football and hockey; to develop creative and meaningful educational projects; to deliver employability programmes engaging with those furthest from the labour market; and tackling health inequalities through its health and well-being projects.

Proud to be in Inverclyde -- Scotland’s Boat Show

Scotland’s Boat Show team Dorothy McDonagh, Gavin McDonagh, Kevin Blamire, Cheryl Fielding and Heath Gairns, pick up their Proud to be in Inverclyde award from Graham McFarlane, director of customer services with category sponsor CalMac Ferries

Scotland’s Boat Show is the largest boat show in Scotland and largest brokerage (pre-owned) show in the UK, attracting more than 16,000 visitors to Inverclyde each October. As well as more than 150 new and used boats, attractions include the West College Scotland Food and Drink pavilion with celebrity chef Nick Nairn, 70 local craft and artisan traders in the Clyde Lifestyle Pavilion, luxury cars, helicopter flights, a children’s fun area and the Riverside Inverclyde ‘Get On The Water’ Pavilion, which shows how to get involved in sailing and boating. Entry to Scotland’s Boat Show is free so as to attract visitors from all walks of life and encourage them to enjoy Inverclyde and Scotland’s world class sailing waters.

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