29 January 2018
The winners of the second annual Sutton Coldfield and Lichfield & Tamworth Chambers’ New Year Business Dinner and Awards were unveiled at a glittering event at the world famous The Belfry Hotel & Resort.
The Business of the Year winners were Pickerings Solicitors (Tamworth), McDonald's franchisee Wright Restaurants (Sutton Coldfield) and Crown Highways (Lichfield).
And it was a double success for Wright Restaurants, with owner Douglas Wright winning the Sutton Coldfield Chamber President’s Award.
Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell presented Douglas Wright with the Business of the Year award.
The Lichfield & Tamworth Chamber President’s Award went to Ruth Forster FIRP of Wagstaff Recruitment.
The event was hosted by former Aston Villa TV presenter Jack Woodward, and HSBC and Fairway Training Healthcare were the headline sponsors.
Pickerings is a Tamworth-based law firm which was founded 20 years ago. The firm, based in Bonehill Road, employs 50 people. It started with just 12 employees, but today, no less than 18 of its lawyers are listed in The Legal 500, the ‘bible’ of the legal industry.
The firm has managed a 39 per cent increase in turnover since 2014.
Pickerings has a ‘long and proud history of involvement with the wider local community’ and says its engagement with the local community is the key to its success.
The firm can certainly back this claim up – it is a major sponsor of Tamworth Football Club, and stood by the firm even when it was embroiled in a relegation battle. The firm is also a longstanding sponsor of Tamworth Athletics Club.
Pickerings property team acts on a pro-bono basis for The Peel Society, a charitable organisation which promotes the life, works and times of Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the modern day police force.
The Sutton Coldfield winner is Wright Restaurants, which operates the largest McDonald’s franchise organisation in the UK.
Owner Douglas Wright started as a part-time employee at McDonald’s back in 1981. After working for the firm for 22 years, he resigned and set up his own limited company in 2002.
His dream was to own three McDonald’s – today, his fast-food empire extends to 17 restaurants.
Wright Restaurants has expanded significantly in the last three years, with turnover practically doubling, from £21 million to more than £41 million.
The firm’s workforce has also grown, from 745 people in 2014 to today’s 1,465.
On the corporate responsibility side, Mr Wright’s chosen charity is Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham, of which he is chairman.
The facility provides free home away from home accommodation to the families of children who are patients at nearby Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Wright Restaurants has raised more than £580,000 for Ronald McDonald House since 2002.
The Lichfield winner is Crown Highways of Chasetown, which has 130 employees and works for Highways England and various local authorities on the maintenance of the road system.
The firm started life in 1994 as a civil engineering contractor but has subsequently moved into several new sectors, including technology, street lighting, sign installation and drainage.
Among new markets for the firm is electric vehicles, where it will be involved in the installation of charging points.
The firm has increased its turnover in the past three years from £8.5m to £15m.
The firm is also active in the local community, and supports and sponsors various local clubs and schools, as well as individuals such as up-and-coming motocross competitor Dan Leadbetter and professional golfer James Adams.
The three Business of the Year award winners were chosen by a panel of judges chaired by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s chief operating officer Russell Jeans and which included Solihull Chamber president Kevin Johns, Future Faces president Sian Averill and Asian Business Chamber vice-president Manjit Kang.
Mr Jeans said: “The high calibre of entries for all three categories offered a great reminder of the quality of businesses in these parts of the region and drawing up the shortlist certainly proved to be a difficult task for the judges.”
Winners in full:
Sutton Coldfield President’s Award
(Sponsored by Power Minerals)
Lichfield & Tamworth President’s Award
(Sponsored by Greater Birmingham International Business Hub)
Ruth Forster FIRP
Sutton Coldfield Business of the Year
(Sponsored by Bracebridge Corporate Finance)
Lichfield Business of the Year
(Sponsored by Proftech)
Crown Highways Limited
Tamworth Business of the Year
(Sponsored by Vantage Motor Group)
Pictured: The winners and award sponsors