Shropshire Star Excellence in Business Awards 2017: Telford-based Dodd Group named county's best company at glittering ceremony

Electrical installations company Dodd Group was named Shropshire's best business as the cream of the local economy was celebrated.

The company landed the top Business of the Year award, sponsored by Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, at the Shropshire Star Excellence In Business Awards ceremony at RAF Cosford last night.

The Stafford Park-based company, which marks 70 years in business this year and which employs more than 800 people around the country, has worked on high profile projects including HSBC's new headquarters in Birmingham and Wolverhampton Civic Centre.

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That success helped it fend off competition from Orchard Valley Foods, based at Burford near Tenbury Wells, and fellow Stafford Park business Reconomy, a waste management firm, in the race for the top prize.

Dodd Group now joins Telford prototyping specialist Proto Labs, Newtown telematics company Quartix, and TTC Group, the road safety company from Hadley Park in Telford, on the list of winners of the prize since the ceremony was first held in 2014.

The Business of the Year Award was one of eight gongs handed out on a night of celebration that lasted until the small hours in the magnificent surroundings of hangar one at the Royal Air Force Museum.

More than 300 guests enjoyed dinner beneath the wings of the historic aircraft which are on display in the hangar, before the awards were handed out by sponsors.

Shropshire Star editor Martin Wright said: "The calibre of entries for this year's awards was exceptional, and the winners really are there on merit.

"They also demonstrate the rich variety of businesses that exist in Shropshire, ranging from specialists in electrical engineering to businesses which are helping keep alive breeds of animals that are under threat of extinction.

"It has been a magnificent celebration of the very best of Shropshire and Mid Wales business, and perfectly reflected the strength and diversity of companies that are plying their trade in our area."

One big winner was Whitchurch-based Stallion AI Services, an expert in artificial insemination which has worked with champion racehorses and the preservation of rare breeds.

The company walked away with two awards – the Agriculture, Food and Farming Category sponsored by Higgs & Sons, and Small to Medium Sized Business of the Year, sponsored by Greenhous Group.

Shrewsbury-based Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants was the first company up on stage after taking home the Customer Champion Award, sponsored by Rybrook BMW Shrewsbury.

Hendra Healthcare in Ludlow fended off stiff competition to land the Apprentice Employer Award, sponsored by the University of Wolverhampton.

Civil engineering firm Beaver Bridges won the Young Business of the Year category, sponsored by Rent A Space.

Best Place to Work, sponsored by Star Employment Services, was won by FBC Manby Bowdler solicitors, which has offices in Telford, Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth.

And the Micro Business of the Year category, which was sponsored by the Shropshire Star, was won by medical buying consortium Caradoc Medical Services, which is based in Shrewsbury.

The ceremony was produced by Shrewsbury company Yarrington, and compered by BBC Radio Shropshire breakfast show presenter Eric Smith.

He told the assembled guests: "This evening is for celebration, to acknowledge the very best in business, the best this region has to offer.

"This year, the quality of entries was more outstanding than ever.

"We have 24 businesses that are worthy finalists, including three who have made it through in more than one category. Tonight, is your night and we are here to recognise your success."

The event also included a fundraising raffle on behalf of the Midlands Air Ambulance, which has to raise £7 million a year to keep its three helicopters in operation. Roger and Diane Cole, who support the service, spoke on behalf of the charity.

Prizes on offer in the raffle included first class rail tickets from Virgin Trains, four tickets for the opening night of Funny Girl with VIP reception from the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre – an associate sponsor of the ceremony, and six bottles of Champagne.

Mr Wright added: "The atmosphere at this year's event was absolutely phenomenal.

"The Excellence In Business Awards have gone from strength the strength over the last four years, and that was reflected by the enthusiasm on show at last night's ceremony.

"We're extremely grateful to all the sponsors for their role in the awards, and are delighted to have been able to represent such a rich diversity of businesses.

"Even those that didn't win can be exceptionally proud, and we want to recognise the role that they all play in taking part in this ceremony."

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