An automotive business that has flourished through the recession was the big winner at this year’s Birmingham Post Business Awards.
Pailton Engineering, which supplies parts to many of the major car makers, took the Company of the Year award at the glittering gala dinner at the ICC.
The Coventry firm, which saw off competition from some of the best known business names in the region, received its award from broadcaster Andrew Neil who was host for the event which attracted an audience of more than 500 guests from across the business community.
The night also saw Adrian Shooter, soon to be retiring boss of Chiltern Railways, receive a lifetime achievement award for his services to the region for his part in developing Chiltern’s Birmingham to London rail link.
Other winners on the night included Cogent Elliott which won the Communications, marketing and Creative category, seeing off competition from Headline Communications and Mask-arade.
The Professional Services category – which saw a record amount of entries – saw Wesleyan win ahead of Handelsbanken, Deutsche Bank and R&D Tax and Grants.
Solar panel specialist Alumet took the Environment category ahead of Minos Systems UK, Smurfit Kappa Recycling & Birmingham City Council and Linford C-Zero while Pailton won the Manufacturing category ahead of Hollywood Monster and Mercato Solutions.
In the Property, Regeneration and Estate Management category – again which received a record amount of entries – St Modwen took the top prize ahead of FleetMilne Residential and Squaredot.
For the Corporate & Regional Office category – new to this year’s awards – Deutsche Bank took the top award ahead of Handelsbanken, Midlands Co-op and the Wesleyan again.
Pertemps People Development Group took the Training category ahead of Progressive Educational Tools and Bournville College while Click Travel won the SME award ahead of Jaama, Contigo and Aceon Battery Technology UK.
Another new category for 2011 was the Emerging Professional which was won by Matt Taylor from Headline Communications ahead of Lee Summers from Alumet, Richard Smith from Alexander Daniels and David Kuczora from Clive Reeves PR.
The winner of the Hospitality award went to the Amadeus, the catering arm of the NEC which has transformed the fare at the group and has also won a number of contracts at some of the UK's largest events, beating Warwickshire County Cricket Club and Coventry's Ricoh Arena.
Editor Alun Thorne said all the winners and those shortlisted should be particularly proud considering the quality of the entries.
He said: “To have doubled the amount of entries we received compared to last year is a real testament to how well these awards have been received within the business community but it also made the task of choosing the winners even more difficult.
“In the end the judging panel believed that Pailton really stood out ahead of the rest having shown considerable success in on the sectors that has been so badly hit during the recent recession.
“But while there can only be one overall winner, the quality of the rest of those who made it onto the shortlist – and those who didn’t – means there is absolutely no doubt that the region’s business community is laden with top class organisations that have a fantastic story to tell.”
The judges for the event were Birmingham Mail business editor Jon Griffin, AE Harris chairman Russell Luckcock, Birmingham Science Park chief executive Dr David Hardman and Business Birmingham boss Wouter Schuitemaker.