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    Celebrating business success: The Pro Landscaper Business Awards 2017

    The inaugural Pro Landscaper Business Awards took place at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf on Friday 9 February, bringing the landscaping community together for an afternoon to celebrate the excellent standards set within the landscape industry. Pro Landscaper’s Jim Wilkinson, said: “Our industry is exceptional at celebrating the visual excellence of landscaping with industry awards and RHS shows that highlight how phenomenal landscapes can look, but with the launch of the Pro Landscaper Business Awards, we chose to highlight how well businesses operate -their processes, staff training, health and safety records and consistent positive customer feedback.”

    The ceremony, held at the stunning East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf started with an introduction and thanks from MD of Pro Landscaper Jim Wilkinson, and was followed by a three course luncheon. Then, the host for the day, former BBC business reporter Declan Curry spoke about the current state of the UK’s economy and what the future holds before he went on to the prizegiving for the eleven category winners, and the Sponsors Supreme Award, (presented by headline sponsor CED Stone Group’s MD Giles Heap), reading out the judges’ feedback before handing over to the sponsor to present the award. Finally, Jim Wilkinson presented Mark Gregory, MD of Landform Consultants with the award for having won most votes in 2017’s Pro Landscaper’s Most Influential.

    The judging panel for the awards was not only made up of people within the landscape industry, but also included those successful in areas such as marketing, HR, corporate social responsibility and business development. The panel, Richard Gardiner, John Wyer, Lynn Hunter, Ralph Collett and Sarah Curme praised the standard of the entries and found some categories a really close call.

    Judges’ comments on the winners were:

    Industry Partnership – Sponsored by FutureScape

    Winner: Gristwood and Toms, in partnership with Bristol City Council

    Judges said that the arboricultural consulting firm are: “A fantastic example of industry partnership [that] goes beyond the normal boundaries.”

    Apprenticeship Scheme – Sponsored by Horticruitment

    Winner: Glendale

    The diverse, all-encompassing scheme was described by judges as having: “[An] ongoing commitment to training and development at all levels, regardless of age, sex or disadvantage.”

    Landscape Architect Practice – Sponsored by Tobermore

    Winner: Gillespies

    This “pioneering” winner won this hotly contested award for: “Unprecedented year on year growth” and “powerful evidence of equal commitment to promoting from within,” as described by the judges.

    Garden Designer – Sponsored by Global Stone

    Winner: Butter Wakefield of Butter Wakefield Garden Design

    Love for what she does and relationships were the key to Butter’s success. “She has great testimonials from very satisfied customers,” and, “She is highly committed to the industry, mentoring young designers and raising significant money for an industry charity.”

    Garden Design Practice – Sponsored by Lateral Design Studio

    Winner: JPS Landscape Design

    “Clear and demonstrated commitment to their staff,” was crucial in JPS Landscape Design’s success in this category. Judges concluded that the practice demonstrates: “Excellent industry engagement and involvement, supported by superb client testimonials.”

    Supplier – Sponsored by Adtrak

    Winner: Green-tech

    The company showcases what judges describe as: “Great commitment to staff, understanding of training and development needs.” The landscaping supplier was also said to have: “Broad-reaching expertise, enabling support in broad reaching client circles.”

    Grounds Maintenance – Sponsored by Bourne Amenity

    Winner: Nurture Landscapes

    Nurture Landscapes holds a “very strong social engagement”, and with its rapid expansion still maintains “excellent, in-house training and development.” Judges concluded that this was: “An excellent entry from an excellent company.”

    Commercial Landscape Company – Sponsored by Green-tech

    Winner: Ground Control

    The company maintains: “A diverse programme of active community involvement, supporting schools, social organisations, parks and open spaces,” as described by one judge. With its rapid growth, the company still “Retains their key clients through ongoing commitment to quality.”

    Design & Build – Sponsored by Creepers

    Winner: Landform Consultants

    Managing to stave off the competition with “A solid and structured approach to training and development,” the adjudicators agreed that Landform Consultants has “Great customer feedback across projects of all sizes.”

    Landscape Company <£1m – Sponsored by Turf Group

    Winner: Acre Landscapes

    A strong record of client retention and commitment to CSR sealed the deal for Acre Landscapes. Judges commented on the company’s “Passionate advocation for the landscaping sector and strong commitment to staff.”

    Landscape Company >£1m – Sponsored by Pro Landscaper

    Winner: Oak View Landscapes

    With a diverse pool of entrants to choose from, the judges decided upon the winner, Oak View Landscapes for their “Strategic and structured approach, strong emphasis on staff and a phenomenal 89% staff retention figure over the past five years.”

    CED Stone Group Supreme Winner

    Winner: Gristwood and Toms in partnership with Bristol City Council

    Managing director of CED Stone Group, Giles Heap described Gristwood and Toms’ partnership with Bristol City Council as “An example of how remarkable things can be achieved when two businesses come together to create something in the best interest of the community.”

    Most Influential Overall

    Winner: Mark Gregory

    Chosen by peers in the landscaping industry, Mark Gregory received the most votes in Pro Landscaper’s Most Influential 2017. Industry leaders described Mark as “A great ambassador who gives back so much to the industry,” and, “A great leader who inspires the next generation as well as his peers.”

    To bring the ceremony to an end, Jim Wilkinson said: “Our grateful thanks go to CED, our headline sponsor and all the category sponsors, without whom we wouldn’t have been able to put on such a spectacular event.” He added:  We’re looking forward to getting on with organising next year’s event already, watch this space for developments”.

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