Well, what a night folks! thanks to 400+ of you who joined us, including our prestigious guests, the thoroughly entertaining Gyles Brandreth, our amazing Finalists and thoroughly worthy Winners! We had such a fantastic night celebrating business success in the region and the outstanding contributions of those going the extra mile! 

What a region we have to celebrate, and celebrate it, we did! 

The former chairman of ANM Ltd, one of the UK’s largest farming co-operatives, was tonight (THURSDAY, JUNE 29) awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 at the Elevator Awards, the North-east’s most prestigious annual business event.

20170629 Elevator Awards 030Patrick Machray OBE, also a former chairman of Scottish Enterprise Grampian, was presented with the accolade at the annual award ceremony, which was held at the Mercure Ardoe House Hotel.

Attended by a sell-out audience of more than 400 guests, the Elevator Awards recognise business excellence, entrepreneurial behaviour and outstanding community contributions made by top businesses in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.

The winners – from a shortlist of 27 – represent a wide range of start-up companies, innovative organisations and firms from sectors including energy, technology, sport, food and drink, beauty and professional services.

Several categories, including Most Promising New Business, Emerging Entrepreneur, the Innovation Award and Spirit of Enterprise, saw a significant increase in the number of applicants this year. 

The black-tie event was hosted by charismatic and well-known writer, TV personality and former MP, Gyles Brandreth.

Presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr Machray, Russell Whyte, director of commercial banking at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Although a deeply family orientated man, when Patrick is in business mode there are few who are more capable, more incisive or more decisive. A straight-talking, ambitious motivator, as this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Pat has seen his own passion for agriculture transform him into one of the industry’s foremost advisers and transform Johnston Carmichael into a £20m business during his tenure as Chief Executive.

“In praise of his achievements across so many different fields; from the boardroom to the golf course, it is an honour to present Patrick with this outstanding accolade and recognition.”

Pat is a former chairman of the ANM Group – who stepped down at the 2017 AGM - and was also Chief Executive from April 2012 to April 2015.

Qualifying as a CA in 1978, Pat was chief executive of Johnston Carmichael Chartered Accountants, chair of Scottish Enterprise Grampian and an advisory member of the Scottish Enterprise National Board.

Pat was appointed as chairman of the Scottish Agricultural College (SRUC) and is also chair of Food, Drink & Agriculture on Opportunity North East (ONE). A former chairman of the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Pat was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to the local economy and charity.

20170629 Elevator Awards 029Meanwhile, the judges’ choice Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Martin Gilbert, co-founder and Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, the holding company of the fund management group that was established in 1983.

Under Martin’s leadership, Aberdeen has become one of the world’s leading independent asset managers through a combination of organic growth and acquisition.

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Elevator Chief Executive Professor Gary MacEwan said judging this year’s entries had once again been extremely difficult given the number of high calibre entries.

“We received some truly inspirational entries this year and the judges faced a challenging task to select the winners from a very strong shortlist of 27 finalists. This cements our belief that our corner of Scotland really is home to some of the finest examples of true entrepreneurial spirit, particularly in the face of the challenging economic climate.

“We are delighted that several companies which have emerged as start-ups following redundancy or hard times have been recognised tonight, which is a positive celebration of the amazing businesses and entrepreneurs here in the North-east.

“Congratulations to all the finalists and especially to all the winners – you should be very proud.”

Royal Bank of Scotland is the principal partner and sponsor of the awards, and Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council are event partners.

Mark Gall, regional director of corporate and commercial banking at Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said: “This evening’s awards have once again proved to be a huge success and shows that the North-east is a place to do business in Scotland.

“All of the winners tonight are a credit to themselves and the area, reflecting the enterprise, ingenuity and effort companies and organisations here make every day.

“We are delighted to confirm that we are supporting the Elevator Awards for 2018 and hope the story of this year’s winners inspires others to enter.”

The Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Chris Farman of Aberdeen Combat Centre, UK Fitness Food and Jack’s Steakhouse, with the judges paying tribute to his “breathtaking array of entrepreneurial activities, in many ways the embodiment of a true modern entrepreneur”. 

The award for Business Success Over Three Years went to Aberdeen Sports Village, for its “clear vision”, leadership, provision of customer service and position within the community.

Most Promising New Business went to Fierce Beer, with the judges applauding the company’s innovation and “ambitious journey towards achieving significant growth”, surpassing its forecasts.

Step Change Engineering took home the award for Business Success Under Three Years as the judges commended the enterprise as having “a high level of professionalism and maturity, with a strong ability to grow and thrive during the most challenging economic conditions”.

Me Too! Magazine, for the parents of children with additional support needs, was presented with the Alick Buchanan-Smith Enterprising Communities Award in recognition of its commitment to achieving tangible change, having identified “a gap that existed in service provision and becoming a catalyst for positive change within the community”. 

The Spirit of Enterprise award went to Arizona Brodie of Arizona Botaniq, an anti-chlorine moisturiser made with natural ingredients.

The judges said: “To say that Arizona’s journey to this point in time has been challenging would be a gross understatement and the strength she has demonstrated in overcoming these was truly inspirational. We were particularly impressed by her inner strength, the transformational change in circumstances and her ambition to provide opportunities to impact positively on other people through the growth of the business.”

The Entrepreneurial Supporter of the Year award went to Ann Johnson from Blaze Manufacturing Solutions. The judges said she was “extremely passionate about using her experiences in a successful business to help others do the same, playing an active role mentoring entrepreneurs and supporting youth entrepreneurship playing a key role in nurturing the development of our local economy”.

The Employer of the Year award went to Cammach Recruitment Ltd for its supportive and stimulating staff development environment, and DDK Positioning took the Grampian Award for Innovation for its early-stage product “with the potential to be a worldwide and game-changing across a wide range of industries”.

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The complete list of winners of the Elevator Awards 2017 is:

Lifetime Achievement of the Year – sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland

Pat Machray OBE


Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland

Martin Gilbert 


The Grampian Award for Innovation - sponsored by Murgitroyd

DDK Positioning


Business Success Over Three Years - sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland

Aberdeen Sports Village


Most Promising New Business - sponsored by Business Gateway

Fierce Beer


The Alick Buchanan-Smith Enterprising Communities Award - sponsored by Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council

Me Too! magazine


Spirit of Enterprise - sponsored by The Prince’s Trust

Arizona Brodie, Arizona Botaniq 


Entrepreneurial Supporter of the Year - sponsored by FSB

Ann Johnson, Blaze Manufacturing Solutions


Business Success Under Three Years - sponsored by Scottish Enterprise

Step Change Engineering Ltd


Employer of the Year - sponsored by Avensure

Cammach Recruitment Ltd


Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year - sponsored by the University of Aberdeen Business School

Christopher Farman of Aberdeen Combat Centre, UK Fitness Food and Jack’s Steakhouse


About Elevator (just in case you don't know what we are all about):

Elevator works across Scotland to help facilitate the start-up and growth of new and existing businesses.  Delivering Business Gateway services, Elevator currently engages with 2,500 start-up businesses and assists around 1,000 organisations to growth annually with advisory support.  With the launch of the centre for entrepreneurship, Elevator aims to support an additional 200 start-ups per year through stimulating interests in launching and growing businesses, as well as welcoming global talent onto the Elevator Programme accelerating businesses. Elevator supports the entrepreneurs, business leaders and employees of today and tomorrow by providing expert business advice, teaching entrepreneurship and enterprising behaviour. 

Patrick Machray OBE CA (just in case you don't know about the legend that IS Pat Machray):

Pat was chairman of ANM Group Ltd, one of the UK’s largest farming cooperatives.

Throughout his career Pat has been heavily involved in both the voluntary sector and the economic developments field. He is a former chairman of Scottish Enterprise Grampian and the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Economic Forum, posts which he held in the public domain on a voluntary basis. His work was recognised with the award of an OBE in 2008.

Pat spent a large part of his career to date with accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael. He joined the firm straight from school in 1971, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1978 and working with a number of agricultural clients.

He became a Partner in 1980, and Chief Executive in 1991. During his time in charge Johnston Carmichael grew very rapidly and is now firmly established as Scotland’s largest independent accountancy practice, with a turnover in excess of £20m.

During his period of leadership the firm expanded far beyond its traditional north east base without ever losing touch with its roots or diluting its hard won expertise – not least in the agricultural sector.

Under Pat’s leadership, the firm grew from a staff of 112 to more than 400 at the time of his retirement. It also became one of the first professional practices to achieve Investors in People status.

Following his retirement from Johnston Carmichael in 2007, he has held a number of non-executive positions with various companies. In 2012, he was asked to take charge of ANM Group which has 5,000 farming members and completed a successful turnaround of the Group, making it a profitable, sustainable organisation.

In recognition of his progressive and hugely effective leadership style he was named Innovative Firm Leader of the Year, in 2005, by the Leading Edge Alliance, a major international network of accountancy firms.

Pat believes passionately that the long-term health of the Grampian region is inextricably linked to its wider economic success – across all sectors of the economy.

He has had a huge interest in agriculture from a young age, has extensive experience of farming and owns a prize-winning flock of Suffolk Sheep.

Martin Gilbert (If you haven't heard of Martin Gilbert, you haven't been reading the Press & Journal and shame on you!):

Martin Gilbert is a co-founder and Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, the holding company of the fund management group that was established in 1983.

Under Martin’s leadership, Aberdeen has become one of the world’s leading independent asset managers through a combination of organic growth and acquisition. The Group’s core expertise is in equities, fixed income, alternatives and property and it manages assets for national and corporate pension funds, central banks, financial institutions, charities, foundations and private individuals around the world.

Martin was appointed Chairman of the Prudential Regulation Authority's Practitioner Panel in December 2013. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Institute of International Finance. He is also a member of the International Advisory Panel of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the International Advisory Board of British American Business. Martin is also the Deputy Chairman of SKY PLC.

In 2008, Martin was named European Personality of the Year at the Funds Europe Awards. In 2009, he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of Aberdeen for services to business and entrepreneurship. In 2011, he was named Scotland PLC CEO of the Year at the Business Insider/PwC Scotland PLC Awards. Martin is Adjunct Professor of Finance at Imperial College Business School and in 2014 was awarded a Doctorate of Letters from Heriot-Watt University.

Martin, who was born in Malaysia, was educated in Aberdeen and has an MA in Accountancy and an LLB. He divides his time between Aberdeen, where the business has always been headquartered, and London, as well as overseeing the international operations of the Group.


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