The annual Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards represents a broad range of industries and highlights the men and women making a difference in the districts workplaces who stand head and shoulders above the rest. Now in its 18th year, the latest get-together of the finest businesses around at The Burgess Hall, St Ives, on Friday night proved once again to be memorable. There were 14 hard-fought categories at the annual awards. And as youll see from reading their stories, firms received accolades in a range of categories including retail, community achievement and innovation. Walking away with four prizes, including the title of business of the year and employer of the year, was Buffaload Logistics Ltd. The judges were impressed by the quality of all the applications and those who won represented the highest-scoring entries for each category and embody the best practice and excellence within their fields. Employer of the Year sponsored by Luminus GroupA business that prides itself on its robust recruitment and induction procedures to maintain its number one position were the perfect contenders to win employer of the year and thats what Buffaload Logistics Ltd has done. The logistics company, in Ellington, operates the largest independent temperature controlled double deck trailer fleet in the UK. As a team, each member is assured that they are on board with the company ethos and focuses on the business objectives to ultimately guarantee continued success and growth. Managing director Julie Feltwell said: It is fantastic; we are really pleased to have been recognised. We try to make it a great place to work and we try to make it like a family. The judges felt the company was a worthy winner after demonstrating the commitment it has to develop its workforce, while remaining a committed family-run business. FINALISTS: Bright Vision; Giggs & Company; Living Sport.Small Business of the Year sponsored by the Federation of Small BusinessesBusiness is booming for a communications company that offers its clients a trusted blend of scientific understanding and marketing expertise. Working in a high tech niche market, St Neots firm KDM Communications is outperforming the rest. KDM was established in 1984 with a solid record of profitable growth which has remained debt free. The business has been under the same leadership of owner Trisha Keane and managing director Annabel Sedgwick for more than a decade. This has allowed it to form a stable and highly qualified workforce to work with clients at both a strategic and tactical level. Owner and chairman Mrs Keane said: We have the most amazing team which work hard and we are really proud of what we do. The award has come also because of our happy clients. Mrs Sedgwick added: It is absolutely amazing to have won this award, we are totally delighted. FINALISTS: Clarity Health and Beauty; Lilac James Co. Ltd; Quest Cloud Solutions; UK Membranes Ltd.Innovation Award sponsored by Discover Cambridgeshire Thinking outside the box has helped to keep one company ahead of the game when it comes to developing healthcare devices. Active8rlives (Aseptika Ltd) has been recognised for the innovation that could empower millions of people suffering from cardiovascular disease. The company was formed eight years ago by husband and wife team Jessica and Kevin Auton to enable everyone to have the tools to manage their own health and thereby live long and healthier lives. Mr Auton said: It is really exciting to be recognised by business leaders in Huntingdon, it is a big deal to us. The pair put their success down to developing their devices with those who will benefit the most. FINALISTS: Evolution Dome; Thomas Morris, Sales & Lettings.Business Development - sponsored by George Hay Chartered Accountants Sales director Graham Usher at Buffaload Logistics Ltd praised the team at the firm after it won the Business Development award. With some 30 years experience of selling within the transport industry, Mr Usher, working alongside business development director Ian Perks, and other management, have built up a sustainable business Huntingdonshire can be proud of. Mr Usher said: We didnt expect to win more than one award on the night. It comes down to the confidence we have in business. Mr Perks added: It was fantastic to win, we are a family owned business thats been get to be recognised. The judging panel said that the newly formed by incredibly strong management team at Buffaload have made significant progress in developing and implementing an impressive growth plan in a relatively short period of time. FINALISTS: Encocam Ltd; Sedgwicks Charcuterie; Wells Contract Ltd. Retailer of the Year sponsored by Barford + Co Everybody looks for that yearly escape to somewhere they can relax or enjoy a leisure activity holiday. Which is why a business that has the philosophy to offer personal service to every client that walks through its door has been crowned retailer of the year. St Ives independent travel agent Premier Travel has more than 40 years experience in providing jetsetters with the holiday they are looking for to create repeat bookings. Regional manager Steve Cox said: It is amazing to have won this award, for the last 12 months we have been providing great customer service and it shows by being recognised. We have put everything into this and I am impressed by all the staff. The judges thought that the team at Premier Travel were well trained, motivated and friendly. FINALISTS: Kiss Air Candles; Thomas Morris, Sales & Lettings.Employee of the Year sponsored by Jolique Facial Rejuvenation Clinic For the fourth year in a row, Le Mark Group has put forward an award-winning Employee of the Year. This years entry was Jessica Morris who has been central to creating an entirely new market for the group after she designed a technical protective glove that has been a great commercial success for the company. Jessica, 23, said: I am so happy to have won this award, my designs have been shown magazines and I have designed the marketing material for the company it is a huge achievement. Jessica shared the award with Borney UK Ltd employee Emma Dolby. After joining the company two and half years ago, she has mastered the sales and approached her bosses seeking more work and responsibility. Emma has now taken up the responsibility for HR as well as many admin roles. FINALIST: Katie Kitson, Beacon Wealth Management Ltd.Young Entrepreneur sponsored by Le Mark Group For the second year running, 22-year-old Lincoln Miles has been crowned with the Young Entrepreneur award after launching four successful businesses in only two years. Lincoln, of Eynesbury, started his first business BelchFire Surf after his first year at Aberystwyth University after spotting a gap in the market to sell surfing accessories. Since then the entrepreneur has used the trend of beards to break his way into the male grooming market by setting up Beard Shop UK and The Beard Box. Both stores are dedicated to beards and sell everything men need to grow and style a beard or moustache. Lincolns father Jay said: I am very proud of him, he just finds something to set up and works on it. FINALIST: Merille Duff from Make Up by Merille.Training and Development Award sponsored by Alconbury Enterprise CampusIt is about forward thinking - according to this years winner of the Training and Development award Buffaload Logistics. After scooping up four awards on the night the family-owned business were head and shoulders above the rest when it came to the growth of its team. Now in its second decade, the company has started to experience rapid growth which has been associated with the appointment of a professional management team. Owner Ross Taylor said: It is my team that has made this possible, they think about the future to grow the company. The company were praised for its robust procedures to measure performance, identify training needs and address those needs on an individual basis that highlights the effectiveness of training at the company. FINALISTS: Clarity Health and Beauty; Living Sport; TEAM Engineering Ltd.Business in the Community sponsored by Ace Tech Teaching the future company leaders, artists, counsellors and teachers can sometimes by a challenge but the business which received the award for Business in the Community has gone beyond its role as an educator. The entire management team at Huntingdonshire Regional College are united in their strategy to not only provide certificates of education but to deliver young people ready for work and to make the future of Huntingdonshire better. The judges felt that the college had strong leadership that has created a fabulous culture of passion and pride. Principle Susanne Stent said: We are all really, really pleased to have won this award, it is so important to us as a college of the community and to the community itself. FINALISTS: Huntingdon Racecourse; Huntingdonshire Society for the Blind; Thomas Morris, Sales & Lettings.New Business of the Year sponsored by Lovett Sales & Lettings Xtreme Events is known for supplying stag and hen parties and corporate events with zorb globes and other fun games. But young entrepreneur Warren Whitfield also supplies quality sporting venues with qualified and accredited coaches. And since being formed in 2013 the firm has grown from four people to now 16 fulltime and 45 nationwide part-time coaches. Mr Whitfield said: We are a fantastic team, everyone gets along and everyone in the business is dedicated to the cause. Everyones hard work and dedication has got us this award. We didnt expect to win this prestigious award. The judging panel said: The financial results to date are amazing with clear achievable goals that include overseas opportunities already in progress. FINALISTS: JEO Recruitment Ltd; Etyres Huntingdon.Online Business of the Year sponsored by Huntingdonshire District Council Clean, easy to navigate and its purposed defined, that is not something that internet users can say about all websites - but thats what the judges found of Cambridge Digital Academys. Operated by Hallneg Ltd, under the directorship of Will and Stephanie Hall, the pair bring their knowledge and approachable industry professionals to provide expert training to give people the tools to make their business work better. Managing director Mrs Hall said: We are delighted and absolutely amazed to have won this award. Technical director Mr Hall added: For us it a big community push to give people a better start in business. In just two months the company will have trained 60 people free of charge to use a multiple of platforms to interact with audiences, build a website and know how to get better value out of their online presence. FINALISTS: Local Buzz Marketing; Dirty Rigger Gloves & Accessories; Benchmark Services.Business Person of the Year sponsored by Leeds Day Solicitors After being crowned Business Person of the Year in 2013, managing director of Forward Composites Paul Jackson has received the accolade once again. Mr Jackson started his career in the composites industry as an apprentice pattern maker in his uncles business in 1982 and has had numerous roles since then including project manager, sales executive and commercial director. However, Mr Jackson said that winning the award isnt just down to him, it is the hard work of his team and co-owner Ed Collins. He said: Its a privilege to win this award for the second time. Our staff are hugely important, and key to our success. We are all very proud of the products we produce, and proud to be a British manufacturing company. FINALISTS: Philip Mashinchi, Bright Visions; Linda Gibbons, Le Mark Group; Anthony Larkins, Beacon Wealth Management.Judges Award sponsored by Huntingdonshire Chamber of CommerceA forward thinking business, with personality, ethics and ambition was crowned as a winner in Huntingdonshires business community. The judges unanimously decide to acknowledge the efforts of Thomas Morris, Sales and Lettings after it was felt that the seven-branch estate agency achieved phenomenal results on behalf of its clients. Business manager Nick Clark said: This is the first time we ourselves into a local business award so we are very proud to have been chosen by the judges It is a fantastic place for and we have been working within the community in since 1991. We have great connections with areas we are based and a lot of the staff have been with us a long time. It was acknowledged that Thomas Morris excelled in its market place and goes beyond expectations when it comes to corporate social responsibility.Business of the Year sponsored by Marshalls Being the market leaders in temperature controlled trailer fleets in the UK hasnt stopped Buffaload Logistics being proud of where it has come from. The Ellington company, owned by Ross Taylor, is currently achieving great commercial success and has a 150-strong work-force. And its a combination of a family -ounded ethos and a number of professional managers that won the judges over at The Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards. Head of people Caroline Bosworth said: We are all absolutely delighted and overwhelmed to have won this award. Means a huge amount to us to have exceptional recognition for the business community. It is all about having a great team, pure and simple, Ross Taylor and Julie Feltwell have worked very hard on pulling together an amazing group of people who all work hard and have mutual appreciation of each other.