HUDDERSFIELD honoured the best in business last night.
The town's top firms and business personalities gathered at the Galpharm Stadium for the Huddersfield Examiner Business Awards.
There was enthusiastic applause for companies and individuals nominated in categories covering aspects of business ranging from international trade and creativity to environmental issues, start-ups and community involvement.
And there was jubilation for the winners as they stepped up to the stage to receive their trophies.
Town and Giants chairman Ken Davy won the accolade of Business Person of the Year in recognition of his outstanding business acumen and contribution to the town.
The award was presented to Mr Davy by Jeremy Garside, managing partner of awards sponsor Chadwick Lawrence.
BBC Look North TV presenter Harry Gration compered the glittering dinner and awards event, which was attended by more than 300 guests.
Introducing proceedings, Examiner managing director John Griffith said: "These awards are a celebration and an inspiration - a celebration of Huddersfield businesses, their leaders and their staff from top to bottom and an inspiration to others to emulate their success."
Mr Griffith, who chaired the judging panel said Huddersfield had grown and thrived due to the enterprise of its people.
He added: "Judging these awards has demonstrated to me that this quality still exists in abundance in Huddersfield in 2006."
The evening's main speaker was Dr John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, who recalled his own colourful career in business - and gave a receptive audience food for thought about tackling homelessness by encouraging enterprise.
Dr Bird grew up in care and as a teenager turned to crime - involving himself in shoplifting, housebreaking, arson and vandalism.
Mending his ways, he was inspired to start a street paper, The Big Issue, by Gordon Roddick, co-founder with his wife Anita of The Body Shop.
He said: "When I launched the Big Issue 15 years ago, there were 500 charities helping the homeless in London.
Today, there are 2,000.
"I didn't want to be charity 501 - I wanted to give homeless people the opportunity to do something other than accepting handouts.
"I wanted to provide a business-like solution to the problems of homelessness - the opportunity for them to make their own and stand on their own two feet."
The awards event included a raffle for Kirkwood Hospice at Dalton and the Forget Me Not Trust - with Barclays Bank generously pledging to match the sum raised by guests.
During the evening, entertainment was provided by jazz pianist Joss Peach.
OFFICE design firm Space2Work has come a long way in a short time.
The business was formed by Stephanie France just a year after she completed a master of business degree at Bradford University School of Management.
Delighted Stephanie said: "I became really nervous and was absolutely shaking when the video clip was focusing on my business. Winning this award has been a great end to a wonderful first year.
"I'll be in early to show the award to staff. I was born in Huddersfield and my business is in Huddersfield which makes it all so extra special."
Stephanie spotted a gap in the market to provide office design and refurbishment services for middle-ranking firms.
She said: "If you are a major corporate, you bring in consultants to do a feasibility study for an office move or refurbishment.
"They handle the design, commissioning construction work, buying furniture, fitting phones and ensuring it is a great place for everyone to work.
"If you are - say - a law firm with 10 partners, you still need the help, but no-one was offering an affordable, tailored service.
"We can take on the lot and give a really personal service."
The firm, based at the Media Centre has carried out work for a range of clients, including Huddersfield solicitors Ridley & Hall and specialist internet imaging company Myfotowall.com.
* Also nominated in the category sponsored by Huddersfield Business Generator were Toniq Ltd; Bailey Pet Products.
COUPLE David and Luisa Scacchetti set up Mamas and Papas following the birth of their first child in 1979.
Now they are making business success child's play.
The couple were prompted to make the move after being disappointed by the style and quality of nursery products available in the shops.
Spotting a gap in the market, they brought a distinctive Italian style to the nursery industry with products that were both practical and fashionable at an affordable price.
The company's highly-skilled design teams now create innovative products covering all areas of the sector.
The firm has its headquarters and distribution base at Colnebridge as well as 32 stores across the UK. It has also set up a design base in London to attract the cream of the capital's emerging design talent.
David and Luisa had a clash of events and were in London last night so were represented by managing director Mark Wilson.
He said: "We never forget where we started as a small nursery in Marsh to where we are today with stores nationwide.
"The Mamas And Papas brand name has become synonymous with fashion, design and safety. We are very proud to remain in Huddersfield where we employ 430 people, yet have a supply network that reaches around the world."
Mamas & Papas employs more than 1,000 staff, sells more than 2,500 products and has turnover totalling £100m.
The firm's products are used by celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney and Sara Cox.
* Also nominated in the category sponsored by Walker Timber were Yorkshire Bank; BNH Associates Ltd.
A MELTHAM firm mopped up in one of the categories at last night's awards.
Hygiene and cleaning specialist Disposables UK Ltd was formed in 1987 by directors Trevor and Diane Storer.
The group is best known for making paper towels and toilet rolls - but has grown over the years to provide a wide range of paper cleaning products.
Trevor said: "This firm has shown a never-say-die spirit when times were tough in the past. Now we've an annual turnover of £14m.
"We have built a strong team and business is all about teamwork. We are absolutely thrilled to win."
The Meltham-based business is well-known for its Bay West and Optimum Professional paper tissues - together accounting for 85% of group turnover.
Bay West is exported to countries around the world.
Disposables UK operates from three site in Meltham and one in Milnsbridge. It employs more than 100 people.
The company and its staff are keen to support their local communities - and have raised many hundreds of pounds for charities such as the Forget Me Not Trust, Hollybank School at Mirfield and ChildLine with a variety of sponsored events.
The company has also supported Holme Silver Band and Huddersfield Giants.
* Also nominated in the category sponsored by NatWest were Air Parade Ltd; Novus Sealing Ltd.
A BUSINESSMAN in Huddersfield is using space-age technology to put the heat on his competitors.
Mohammed Ashfaq is managing director of Thermilate Ltd, based at the Media Centre in Huddersfield.
He was described last night by one of the judges as "a serial entrepreneur."
Mohammed said: "I never stop thinking. What drives me is to come up with creative ideas and then see them come to life.
"We have new products which we are developing all the time."
Mohammed's firm supplies a fine powder - first developed by space agency NASA - which is mixed with decorating paint to reduce heat loss or heat build-up in buildings and cut energy costs.
The non-toxic substance can be added to any paint. It can be used on interior and exterior walls, roofs, industrial ovens and other plant, air-conditioning ducts, boats and ships.
Ashfaq, an engineer by profession, has a string of successful business ventures to his name.
He joined Huddersfield Business Generator with web-based Elite Media, but expanded to develop several websites.
He came across Thermilate while surfing the web and quickly recognised its potential.
Now he has the sole licence to distribute Thermilate across Europe and much of Asia.
* Also nominated in the category sponsored by Rockford Insurance were Phil Mundy, of Creative North; Gavin Wheeldon, of Applied Language Solutions.
TOWN and Giants chairman Ken Davy was honoured at last night's awards.
Mr Davy was named winner in recognition of his achievements in the worlds of finance and sport.
The award was presented by Jeremy Garside, managing director of awards sponsor Chadwick Lawrence, who hailed Mr Davy as "a problem solver, a wealth creator and a substantial employer".
He said: "He is a man who has built up a substantial business not once, but twice.
"And in between, he helped develop Huddersfield Giants into a significant rugby league force and rescued Huddersfield Town from administration."
A delighted Mr Davy said: "I'm gobsmacked. I have been sitting here watching the dynamism and diversity we have in Huddersfield - and the last possible thing on my mind was that I would be involved in any aspect of these awards.
"What we have shared tonight has been fantastic for the town and the wider community of Kirklees."
He added: "What I am trying to do at the Galpharm Stadium is to build a real community facility with two successful sports clubs."
Many people in Huddersfield know of Mr Davy's involvement with Town and the Giants.
He stepped forward to lead a dramatic rescue of the football club after it was put into administration.
Since then, he has been at the helm of both of Huddersfield's leading professional sports clubs.
But Mr Davy first came to prominence in 1983 when he founded DBS Financial Management to provide support for independent financial advisers.
As chairman, he guided the company to become the UK's largest network of IFAs, serving more than 3,000 member firms.
He left the Lindley-based company in 2002 after it was sold in a £75m deal.
In addition to his commitments with Huddersfield Town and Huddersfield Giants, Mr Davy is chairman of SimplyBiz.
The firm, formed by Mr Davy four years ago, provides support services for more than 1,250 independent financial advice firms across the UK.
SimplyBiz helps IFAs with compliance, business development, training and marketing support.
Earlier this year, Mr Davy was made an honorary fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Mr Davy has been closely involved for many years in efforts to improve the training and competence of IFAs.
HAULAGE firm The Pink Link is a familiar name on the roads around Huddersfield.
The Netherton-based company provides a nationwide palletised distribution service - and runs a fleet of eye-catching bright pink lorries.
The family-owned business offers a unique range of services from delivery to storage.
The Pink Link recently signed a five-year deal to sponsor the south stand at the Galpharm Stadium.
Earlier this year, The Pink Link launched a service delivering small consignments to mainland Europe.
The firm is distributing to Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, France and Germany through Palletways, a distribution network which numbers The Pink Link among its member companies.
The company is already developing its next network to cover Spain and Portugal, which will go live later this year.
Managing director Richard Allen, who received the award with his sister Vicki Davenport, sales and commercial director, said: "This award is all down to the great staff we have. It is a great team to work with.
"Our links with the Stadium are also helping us put something back into the community".
* Also nominated in the category sponsored by Mazars were Andel Ltd; PSG Franchising Ltd.
A SOCIAL enterprise providing facilities for music production and training is celebrating its 21st anniversary.
And fittingly, Beaumont Street Studios - set up in 1985 by the Huddersfield West Indian Association - marked the anniversary with the Community Award.
Since its inception, it has helped many hundreds of people on the path to employment.
Chief executive Sean Leonard said: "It's terrific. It is really nice to be recognised, both as a business and a community organisation.
"It is our 21st year and it is great to receive this award as we come of age".
The not-for-profit company, based at St Peter's Street, is geared to helping disadvantaged communities across Yorkshire.
Services include a professional recording studio which combines services to leading artists with subsidised access for local jobless clients.
It provides media skills training in music technology, video, multimedia/website production and radio production and broadcasting
It also has a record label providing an outlet for local talent and a work-based training programme for local unemployed people.
There is also a mentoring service for people seeking employment.
* Also nominated in the category sponsored by O2 were Music and the Deaf; Barclays Bank
THE Southdale Group has been building quality homes throughout the north of England for almost 20 years.
Southdale is billed as the region's largest social housing developer, providing low cost housing for rent and sale for its development partners.
But its award was for the work it has done in Huddersfield - playing a major part in revitalising communities.
Southdale partnered Kirklees Council on a major scheme to revitalise Brackenhall.
Managing director Chris Harris said: "We are very pleased that we have won, but there are three winners of this award. We want to thank Kirklees Council, who have been our regeneration partner in Deighton and Brackenhall, and also the residents in those areas who have been very much involved in our work and in revitalising the area".
A Southdale spokesman added: "Southdale Homes has earned a first class reputation with both its client base and the construction industry alike.
"This has been achieved by uncompromising quality, operational efficiency and unrivalled customer focus across a continually expanding range of building and development projects throughout Yorkshire and surrounding counties."
The group looks after its staff through training and development, personal care, pay reviews, a pension scheme, staff discounts and paying attention to the working environment.
MEDIA Centre Network provides offices, studios, live-work spaces and support for firms in the creative industries.
The network manages the Media Centre on Northumberland Street in Huddersfield and a creative programme which includes international residencies, an exhibition programme, a digital music festival and arts events focusing on digital media.
The centre, led by chief executive Teo Greenstreet, has 20 employees.
He said: "We were nominated by one of our employees so we already felt we had won. There have been a lot of organisational changes this year so to win the award was extra -special. And it's my appraisal next week!"
The Media Centre is home to 200 companies and more than 500 people - making it one of the most innovative organisations of its kind in the UK.
In its latest expansion move the Media Centre is building a 3.5m five-storey glass building on Friendly Street, off Northumberland Street.
The new building - standing alongside the centre's innovative Creative Lofts - will provide 52 new offices to let to media businesses when it opens next May.
The centre prides itself on creating an efficient, professional and friendly atmosphere for staff and clients as well as giving prominence to training, social events and working condition s for employees.
* Also nominated in the category were The Southdale Group; Monsoon Restaurant.
A MARKETING agency in Huddersfield is growing apace - with a string of new contracts.
Manifest Communications, based at Highfields, has attracted business from clients UK-wide in a range of market sectors.
The eight-strong company, based at New North Road, has clients in Leeds, Manchester, the Midlands and Scotland.
It has carried out work for clients including Birstall-based Kalon, Salford University, Bank of Scotland, software firm iSoft, carmaker Nissan and photographic film group Ilford.
It has organised and manned exhibition stands on behalf of clients at high-profile events in Europe and USA.
Partner Nev Ridley accepted the award with colleague Shaun Beaumont.
Beaumont said: "We are delighted to be recognised for our creative work but we also believe in customer service. That's the key and it is a belief we take into all areas of our business."
Ridley added: "Manifest has accelerated its growth in recent years.
"We offer all the services you would expect from a creative agency - from websites and new media to design, advertising and public relations.
"But we get to know everything about the client's organisation to make sure we can get their message across."
* Also nominated in the category were Design Junkie Ltd; Chameleon Digital Medias.
THE winner of this award is the UK's largest leak detection company.
The Marsden-based business won the Queen's Award for Innovation in 2001 - since when it has gone on from strength to strength, increasing exports and expanding into new areas.
Operations director Julie Greenwood said: "We are so pleased as this is such an important category. The environment is a new side to the business which we are committed to taking forward.
"We are based in Marsden and do all we can to employ local people from the Colne Valley."
The company competed against larger US firms by offering a total package of services covering design and manufacturing, installation and ongoing service and maintenance.
It has developed electronic monitors and sensors to detect water leaks from pipes, tanks and washrooms in buildings such as art galleries, museums, libraries, banks, universities and prisons.
It has set up Pollution Prevention Ltd to advise firms on meeting regulations for oil storage.
And it has exported to customers in Australia, the USA, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, France, China, Holland, the Gulf States, Ireland, Singapore and Malaysia.
Andel has also established a company in Poland, Andel Polska.