Aico boss praises staff after being named Shropshire Company of the Year

The managing director of alarm maker Aico has spoken of his pride and delight after the firm was crowned Shropshire’s 2020 Company of the Year.

A video acceptance speech from Neal Hooper of Aico
A video acceptance speech from Neal Hooper of Aico

Neal Hooper paid tribute to all his colleagues as the Oswestry-based firm won the top award at Friday night's virtual Shropshire Chamber Business Awards.

The fast-growing business, based at Maesbury Road, picked up three awards in the 20th anniversary year of the competition. It also won the Workplace Health & Wellbeing and Corporate Environmental Responsibility awards.

Speaking on the night, Mr Hooper said: "It's an honour and privilege to have won the award.

"It means everything to us. We are very proud to be a Shropshire company and I am really hopeful we can all come out of this crisis.

"I'm so proud of everyone I work with. Thanks to the efforts of all my colleagues we are heading for another record year with turnover of about £150 million.

"I wish I was surrounded by my colleagues to celebrate."

Last year’s Company of the Year winner, Pave Aways of Knockin, won the Education and Apprenticeships award this time, while Aviramp of Telford, which makes products for the airline industry, won the International Trade award.

Shrewsbury-based events and production company Yarrington – which has built a new TV studio at its Frankwell site – won the prize for Digital Innovation.

The Manufacturer of the Year award went to Coopers Gourmet Foods of Roden, which has developed new products during lockdown, while 7video of Shrewsbury was named Best Small Business.

Market Drayton-based optician Style Optique won the Outstanding Customer Service title, and the Business in the Community Award went to the Dyslexic Dyslexia Consultant, based in Telford.

Richard Sheehan, Shropshire Chamber’s chief executive, said: “It has been an extraordinary 12 months. No-one could have foreseen the kind of changes we have all had to make to our lives.

“But in times of challenge, it is even more important to see the work of employees recognised, as well as the businesses themselves.

“This pandemic has proved that Shropshire businesses are resilient, creative and innovative – as the delivery of this event shows.”

Mandy Thorn, president of the chamber, added: "I think one of the things we have learnt this year is how enterprising and entrepreneurial businesses are, particularly in Shropshire."

Normally, a team of judges would have been visiting each of the shortlisted finalists at their premises before deciding on a winner – this year, those ‘meetings’ were held on Zoom.

In addition to the announcement of the 10 award winners, Friday night's broadcast also included a pre-awards wine tasting session from Tanners, and featured music from students at Telford College.

There was also an interactive quiz running throughout the broadcast, testing people’s Shropshire knowledge, with the winner taking home a £100 hamper full of county produce.

Anyone who missed the live stream of the awards, the show will be available on a catch-up service at shropshirebusinessawards.co.uk

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