Best in business recognised at KDCCI awards
A new, Oscars-style event format complemented a glamorous Hollywood theme at the Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Business Excellence Awards on Friday night.
Glittering dresses and tuxedos filled the Red Earth Arts Precinct foyer for the Karratha business community’s annual night of nights, with more than 200 people attending to see the region’s top businesses and individuals awarded across 16 categories.
Among the night’s main organisation-wide winners were Karratha Signs (best business 5-10 employees), Hunter Mechanical (best business 11-20 employees), Cherratta Lodge (best business 20+ employees) and Brida (best Aboriginal business).
In the individual awards, the big winners were Blanche Bar Group owner Bart Parsons (business leader of the year), Soul Cafe co-owner and Blue Beanies Project co-founder Sandra Spadanuda-Heathwood (business woman of the year) and Tara Hodnett, of Cheveux by Tara (best young business achiever).
Mr Parsons said he was surprised to have won his category and attributed the win to the current expansion of his businesses after riding out a difficult few years at the end of the mining boom.
“The biggest thing, I would think, is that we’ve been here since the last boom and we were up against it, and there aren’t many hospitality businesses left that went through that,” he said.
“We had to completely turn ourselves on our heads and dig ourselves out ... and I think the fact that we’re still doing what we’re doing is testament to the quality of what we do.”
A new award category this year was best innovation, won by KAW Engineering.
KAW Engineering founder and director Jared Fitzclarence said an innovative approach was critical for companies to stay afloat in today’s fast-paced business world.
“We continued to grow every year through the downturn and we’ve been able to do it with very minimal debt exposure, and it’s given us the foundation to be able to make big decisions now as the market’s starting to develop,” he said.
“By having the ability to make decisions without those strings attached, we can be dynamic and responsive and make decisions that may not make sense in a boardroom in Sydney but can make sense on the ground in the Pilbara as the Pilbara is re-emerging as a powerhouse of the economy.”
KDCCI chief executive Tanya Dodd said the award night’s new format — a cocktail-style event rather than a traditional sit-down dinner — had been done to encourage businesspeople to network and connect.
“This way people can network, because that’s what business is about – you network, you meet someone new, and that’s how you grow your business because you might click with them and start collaborating or thinking I can help you with this,” she said.
She said a new KDCCI team, following a staff changeover midyear, had worked “tirelessly” to pull the event together in less than six months.
The KDCCI received 48 nominations for the awards, with winners for the first time selected by a panel of judges in Perth.
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