It has been a busy week for the Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce, launching this year's annual business awards, and announcing their new president, and vice-presidents.

Held at EIT on Tuesday night, attendees of the launch of the 19th annual Westpac Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Awards heard from the winner of two awards last year, local design and manufacturer KILT, who spoke about the value they received from last year's process.

The awards are open to any organisation with its principal place of business based and trading in the Hawke's Bay region, with six awards ranging from the ACC Workplace Safety to the Pan Pac Large Business Award.

The launch was also a chance to meet the convener of judges - Rebekah Dinwoodie, head of business and computing at EIT.


While winning an award in November was an achievement, and a good marketing opportunity for businesses, Ms Dinwoodie said the awards process itself was an opportunity for businesses to develop.

"It should be a really positive experience for businesses," she said.

Although EIT had been involved with the awards before, this was their first time in this role, which Ms Dinwoodie said they were really excited about.

As judges, the EIT staff and other industry individuals on the panel would "really dive into the businesses and see what they're all about", Ms Dinwoodie said, providing entrants with helpful feedback to identify which parts of their business were going well, and which needed improvement.

Applied for the first time, the Baldrige Excellence Framework was an internationally recognised judging criteria, which judged for excellence across seven key areas, and was used by the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation.

Giving businesses experience with these criteria was a benefit, and meant internationally Bay businesses could "compare like for like", she said.

Yesterday, Chamber of Commerce CEO Wayne Walford announced David Trim as the new president, stepping into the shoes of retiring president Brent Linn.

Mr Trim was elected at the first meeting of the board following the 2016 AGM, with vice-presidents Dennis Hall and Ian Hill.

Mr Walford said the board members were keen to consolidate the great work of the previous board and develop a strategic direction which would support and encourage chamber members to grow and develop as appropriate.

"The board would like to acknowledge the contribution to the board by retiring president Brent Linn, retiring vice-president Adele Rose and retiring board member Rebecca Mackenzie. Their work on the board has enabled the new board to hit the ground running," he said.

Murray Cowan and Vaughan Walsh were also elected as board members.

Discussions to co-opt two additional members to the board were under way to ensure its skills mix was appropriate for governance in today's business environment.