Have you got what it takes to be a 2018 Leicester Mercury Business Executive of the Year?

Business leaders who have gone above and beyond to stake their claim within the local economy will be celebrated at the 2018 Leicester Mercury Business Executive of the Year Awards, which are launched today. As in past years, the awards will honour the most influential and successful business people in our city and county. Past winners have included the likes of Norton CEO Stuart Garner, Joules founder Tom Joules and Leicester City chief executive Susan Whelan.

Now in their seventh year, the awards have become an established part of the local business calendar, marking individual success and the contribution those individuals through their businesses and organisations make to life in our region. As ever, in the coming weeks and months, we will be going through a long list of distinguished candidates to determine the awards for the top executives in small, medium and large businesses. And this year we are opening the awards up to external nominations – so if you have a boss, colleague, partner or even a friend who you think has made a significant contribution to the local business scene, click on the website and sign them up.

One of those three main category winners will also be chosen as our overall business executive of the year.

Andrea Hodgson last week presented a Leicester Mercury Business Executive of the Year Award to Ravi Karia of Universal Textiles

The judges – hand picked by the Leicester Mercury business desk – will also be looking for someone to take the titles of young executive and non-executive of the year, and help pick someone to collect our annual lifetime achievement award. This year’s black tie event takes place at the King Power Stadium on Thursday, November 1. Last year’s overall executive of the year was Paul Baker, founder Leicester commercial waste business Bakers Waste.

He also won the medium-sized business category. It was an honour he was clearly delighted with as he collected his award on stage at the King Power Stadium seven months ago. On the night, he said: “It was great to be nominated, let alone win anything.

“To win the big one as well has blown me away. “I am totally shocked and still taking it in to be honest.”

Leicester Mercury Business Executive of the Year finalist Paul O'Leary with partner Helen ParkerHelen Parker and 2017 Business Executive of the Year finalist Paul O’Leary

Bakers Waste celebrated its 15th anniversary last summer, and Paul said that milestone would be a springboard for the next decade-and-a-half. When he launched the business in 2002, he sold his car to buy his first truck – a second hand lorry for GBP10,000.

He and his family then spent the first weekend leafleting premises looking for potential clients. Bakers Waste’s services range from commercial recycling and waste clearance to skip hire.

To nominate someone for a 2018 award fill in the form here

It added a dedicated paper and card recycling facility when it acquired Berridges, in Desford, three years ago. Paul said turnover grew 20 per cent in the year to September thanks to new customers and a new depot in Northamptonshire.

Bakers Waste has 5,000 customers and he anticipates similar organic growth having moved to its new headquarters in Beaumont Leys. The five-year plan is to hit GBP20 million. Last year Ravi Karia, who runs Leicester online clothes supplier Universal Textiles, collected the award for executive in a small business.

His honour came five years after he collected the Mercury’s very first young executive of the year award.

David Samworth received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Leicester Mercury Business Executive of the Year Awards

Executive in a large business went to Duncan Green, managing partner at national property and construction consultancy Pick Everard, based in Charles Street, Leicester. Last year’s young executive was Shane Thakrar, chief executive of HKS Retail, which is in Belgrave Gate, Leicester. In the past few years, he has led a major and successful expansion of the family-owned petrol station business.

Non-executive director of the year went to marketing specialist John Day who is a past and present member of various trusts, committees, school boards and sporting bodies including the Home-Start South Leicestershire family support charity. The lifetime achievement award was presented to recently retired Leicestershire Lord Lieutenant Jennifer, Lady Gretton, for 14 years of service supporting the business community. Between them, the companies supported by those business executives employ thousands of people and contribute tens of millions of pounds to the UK economy.

This year’s sponsors include the University of Leicester, Bakers Waste, Cambridge and Counties Bank, AON, Handlesbanken, East Midlands Airport, Howes Percival and Morningside Pharmaceuticals.

For further details and ticket information for the night, call Nikki Kandola on 0116 366 5126 or click here to e-mail her.

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