Hamilton healthcare and life science manufacturer and exporter DEC Pharmaceutical was the supreme winner at the Waikato Chamber of Commerce business awards, as well as being recognised for international trade and service excellence.
The twice-postponed 2021 year awards saw Tainui Group Holdings chief executive Chris Joblin named CEO of the year, in acknowledgement of the work on multiple large-scale projects including the Ruakura Superhub by Waikato-Tainui's commercial development arm.
Overall champion DEC Pharmaceutical won the Foster Construction Group 2021 Supreme Award.
The company specialises in the development and manufacture of innovative technologies and pharmaceuticals solutions for human and animal health, and is another Waikato success story that flies under the radar, said judges.
They praised the established exporter's talented leadership team, highly skilled and diverse staff, uncompromising quality and processes and strong international partners and distribution. Also of note, they said, was the company's continuous focus on technical innovation and financial improvement as it consistently delivered world-class results, in heavily regulated overseas markets.
Awarding the 2021 CEO of the year title, judges said Joblin's strategies put the collective good above "pure financial success".
"He has created a culture of purpose, inclusiveness and enablement. He works with and leads his team sharing the responsibility to build and improve the organisation through the outcomes they achieve. With clarity of purpose, he articulates his vision and builds a high performing team."
Community foundation Momentum Waikato were recognised in the Not for Profit and Community Contribution categories.
Other winners included Fish City Hamilton (Marketing & Social Media), Designwell (Micro Business of the Year), Spring Sheep Milk Co (Innovation), Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari (Social & Environmental Sustainability), Shift 72 (Business Growth & Strategy) and Raewynne Pearson from SVS Laboratories Limited (Emerging Leader of the Year).
Waikato Chamber of Commerce chief executive Don Good said after two postponements of the awards gala dinner due to Covid restrictions, it was good to finally celebrate the successes of finalists and winners.
"It has not been an easy two years for the business community and we are so proud of the resolve shown by Waikato-based businesses during Covid."
The Omicron outbreak forced the chamber to push back the already-postponed gala dinner from February 9 to March 11 and transition the physical event to a hybrid physical and virtual event.
Representatives from each finalist organisation and core sponsors were invited to two black-tie dinners – one at Claudelands Event Centre, the other at the Atrium at Wintec – with each limited to 100 attendees. The event was also livestreamed to enable the teams of finalist organisations to feel part of the night, said Good.
The full list of winners:
• Not for Profit award (sponsored by Trust Waikato): Momentum Waikato
• Marketing & Social Media (Chow:Hill Architects): Fish City Hamilton
• Micro Business (Sleepyhead): Designwell
• International Trade (SkyPoint Technologies): DEC Pharmaceutical
• Innovation (Company-X): Spring Sheep Milk Co.
• Community Contribution (Montana Food & Events): Momentum Waikato
• Social and Environmental Sustainability (Wintec): Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari
• Service Excellence (Tompkins Wake): DEC Pharmaceutical
• Business Growth and Strategy (Deloitte): Shift72
• Emerging Leader of the Year (Mitre 10): Raewynne Pearson, SVS Laboratories Limited
• CEO of the Year (Waikato University): Chris Joblin, TGH
• Foster Construction Group 2021 Supreme Award: DEC Pharmaceutical