Aviation experts fly high to capture the Stars
A Perthshire-based international aircraft component company is flying high after being crowned Perthshire’s top business.
Vector Aerospace Component Services UK lifted the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce 2015 Business Of The Year title at a glittering Star Awards ceremony, supported by GS Group, in Crieff at the weekend.
Business Director Mick O’Connor and delighted staff from the Almondbank-based centre celebrated after securing the Perth and Kinross Council Internationalisation category trophy before going on to claim the overall title.
A sell-out audience of nearly 400 - including Scotland’s Depute First Minister John Swinney MSP - heard how Vector Aerospace, which employs over 200 at the Almondbank facility alone, captured the judges’ vote for their “passion, resilience, adaptability and determination to survive and thrive”.
Chamber President Mike McDiarmid described the winner as a superb example of business survival after they lost 60% of their business overnight in 2012 in a retraction of MoD work.
“Losing a huge bulk of public sector funded work - right in the middle of the recession - required the company to harness incredible innovation and determination to survive by securing new commercial work streams,” detailed Mr McDiarmid.
“The passion demonstrated by the workforce ensured that survival, sustainability and the continued and growing success of this amazing engineering and manufacturing facility with over 200 employees - many highly skilled - right here in rural Perthshire.
“What a shining example of business success and a worthy winner of the area’s most prestigious business accolade.”
Established in 2008, Vector Aerospace’s Component Services UK provides a one-stop-shop capability for the repair, overhaul, modification and testing of an extensive range of critical components for a wide variety of rotary and fixed wing aircraft. Some of the most important aircraft platforms used by the UK armed forces are supported by Almondbank, including C-130 Hercules and Chinook and the company has approved status by key suppliers such as Rolls-Royce Deutschland, Boeing, Airbus Helicopters and Ryanair.
Almondbank’s expertise includes dynamic, hydraulic and structural components, along with engine accessory and propeller capabilities. The facility also has extensive electroplating, machining, manufacturing, NDT, surface coating and composite repair capabilities which support both in-house deep refurbishment activities and stand-alone customer requirements.
A delighted Mick O’connor said the Perthshire Business Of The Year title was a fitting reward for the dedication and hard work of all the staff at Vector Aerospace.
“I am genuinely surprised and humbled - and more than a little emotional - to accept this award on behalf of the whole team,” he said. “It is a real landmark for us.
“When I joined the company in 2012 we were in a very precarious position. I was tasked with turning things around and I am extremely proud of how everyone has dug in and worked hard to reposition the business, adapt work practices, improve systems, heavily invest in people and harness new markets.
“I leave the company in December having watched Vector Aerospace re-emerge in the past three years as a global force again - albeit with still some way to go - and the entire workforce shares in this award which recognises what they have achieved. It’s a real honour and privilege for all of us at Vector Aerospace to receive this accolade from Perthshire Chamber of Commerce and our business peers in Perth and Kinross.”
Chamber Chief Executive Vicki Unite reflected on “an amazing evening”.
“It was a fantastic event,” she said, “and so great to see the very best in local business being applauded by their peers and rewarded by the business sector for their outstanding work.
“We know from experience that there can be a real business benefit for winners – and finalists – and that is the underlying purpose of the Star Awards. “It’s a privilege to be able to showcase them at Perthshire’s leading business awards ceremony and witness their success and the genuine support from the local business community.”
Ms Unite was also praised and presented with flowers by President Mike McDiarmid to mark 10 years of organising the Chamber’s glittering awards ceremony.
This year’s event attracted almost double the normal number of entries and the largest audience ever to the Crieff Hydro black tie gathering.
The business showcase event was hosted by popular media duo Maureen Young and Gary Robinson and entertainment was provided by local band Lost In Music.
In addition to the overall Business Of The Year title, 14 category Star Awards and four Highly Commended certificates were presented.
Perth and Kinross Council Developing Our Young Workforce Award
Vasart Cleaning (partnered with Perth Academy)
McLeod Glaziers Employee of the Year Award
Hollie Millar, Scott Hospitality Services
Perth College UHI Apprentice of the Year Award
Scott Mason, Gary Bruce Electrical Contactors Scotland
Highly Commended: James Munro, Binn Group
Elevator & Business Gateway Most Promising New Business Award
The Anglers Inn
Graham Environmental Services Excellence in Customer Service Award
Binn Group Excellence in Business Innovation Award
Scott Hospitality Services
Highly Commended: Tower Bakery
Royal Bank of Scotland Commitment to the Community Award
Bank of Scotland Excellence in Tourism & Leisure Award
Highly Commended: The Enchanted Forest Community Trust
Stagecoach Group Contribution to Sustainability Award
Perth & Kinross Council Internationalisation Award
Vector Aerospace Component Services UK
Johnston Carmichael Chartered Accountants Business Growth Award
AGB Small Contracts
Fairways HR Business Support and Recruitment Specialists Excellence in E-Commerce Award
Blackadders Independent Retailer of the Year Award
Loch Leven’s Larder
Highly Commended: Provender Brown Delicatessen
The James Hutton Institute Excellence in Food & Drink Produce Award
Mr C’s Hand-Crafted Pies
Support sponsorship for the glamorous event came from GS Group and media sponsor was The Perthshire Advertiser.Trophies were designed, crafted and donated by Caithness Glass.Guests enjoyed a sumptuous dinner with wine and once again Highland Spring provided the water for the evening.The event was hosted by journalist Maureen Young and presenter Gary Robinson.Sound and light production and expertise for the show was provided by Catalyst EPS.Johnston Media handled all video work before and during the event while Daybreak studios recorded the voiceovers used in films of the shortlisted entries.A charity prize draw of a “Just The Tonic” prize package with champagne chauffeur drive came courtesy of Crieff Hydro Hotel.Coach transport to and from the event was provided by Stagecoach.Photographer Graeme Hart of Perthshire Picture Agency was on duty throughout the evening to catch all the drama and excitement.