A record number of nominees celebrate Business Excellence in the West

Published on 19 September 2018

2018 City of Melton Business Excellence Awards

Local panel beating and mechanical repairs business Fixwell Smash Repairs has taken out top honours in the City of Melton 2018 Business Excellence Awards, beating out over 100 local businesses – a record number of nominees for the event.

An audience of more than 400 attendees – also the largest turnout for our awards gala to date – enjoyed an evening of sublime food and entertainment at Tabcorp Park, as nervous category finalists and their supporters anxiously awaited the announcements.

Tabcorp Park provided guests with a mouthwatering three-course meal that came perfectly complemented by fine red and white wines from local vineyard Russo Estate’s Green Leaf collection.

Emcee Paris Zachariou commenced proceedings by introducing, City of Melton Mayor Cr. Bob Turner’s welcome speech. Cr Turner paid tribute to the success of the many local businesses throughout the community. He also reflected on the importance of Council’s Economic Development and Tourism unit as a willing partner in that process.

“Melton City Council is committed to creating a robust and vibrant local economy that nurtures strong business and employment opportunities for our whole community,” said Cr Turner. “The importance of business development and jobs growth in a municipality such as ours cannot be underestimated. Tonight recognises the contribution businesses make to our economic and social fabric.”

Peter Bean, General Manager of Corporate Services at the City of Melton, echoed the Mayor’s sentiments on economic growth and opportunity. He also used the occasion to drive home the important role the business community can play in partnering with council to lobby both state and federal governments for help funding a much-needed Melton hospital.

With a record number of nominations received this year, the judges’ task was not an easy one. Narrowing the applications down to finalists in each category, the judges visited each of the finalists’ operations, to examine their business in action and interview the owners. From this robust process, not only were the category winners selected but so too were the Access and Inclusion, Recognition of Excellence and Business of the Year Awards.

With opening formalities concluded, anticipation grew for the announcement of the award winners. The first, Best Creative Industries Business Award, was presented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University, Marcia Devlin, with Same Day Printing taking out the honours. Acknowledging the relationship Same Day Printing have with their employees and customers, the judges felt their long-time contribution to the community had continued over the past twelve months and made them worthy of the recognition.

Presented by Anthony Cook, Business Development Manager for WestWaters Hotel and Entertainment Complex, the Best Hospitality and Tourism Award went to Compass Expeditions. Already, Compass Expeditions has attracted worldwide attention as the only motorcycle tour company to make National Geographic magazine’s ‘Top 50 Tours of a Lifetime’ list. Their recognition at a more local level made perfect sense.

Mayor Cr. Turner returned to stage once again, this time to present the prestigious Mayoral Achievement Award for the Best Micro or Home-Based Business Award, which went to beautician Kylie Martin and her business, Beauty on Avebury. “Having achieved in four years what most businesses take a lifetime to achieve,” noted the judges, “Kylie and her staff inspired us.”

Acting Managing Director of Western Water, Rob Murphy, then announced Lady and the Hair as the winner of the 2018 Best Professional Services Business Award. In conveying the judges’ decision, MC Paris Zachariou told guests, “Lady and the Hair’s ongoing research of hairdressing trends and innovation, effective staff engagement and an ethos of access and inclusion, and giving back to the community, made them stand out in a quality field of applicants.”

To present the Best Retail Business Award, Cr. Ken Hardy – representing the award sponsor, GEO Group – announced Melton Pools and Spas as victorious to a rousing reception from their staff and supporters in attendance. The judges were impressed by the organisation’s commitment to access and inclusion in staff hiring practices. Additionally, their use of innovation and diversification helped tipped the scales in Melton Pools and Spas’ favour. 

In an ultra-competitive field, Fixwell Smash Repairs collected their first award for the evening, this time in the Best Trade and Construction Business Award category. Sponsored by Atherstone Exchange, Nicole Donnison from Lendlease handed out the award, with the judges noting how Fixwell had managed to seamlessly integrate its many services into “a true one-stop shop”, while introducing practical initiatives to support the disadvantaged members of our community.

Next, Grant Harrison, Dealer Principal of Melton Toyota took great delight in announcing that Pacing Dynamics had won the 2018 award for Business Transformation. Strong community involvement was, again, a factor in the judges’ decision but their pivot to a “more unique offering in a competitive and crowded marketplace” proved hard for the selection panel to overlook.

With the celebrations now well and truly in full swing, the eighth award category for the evening – Community Contribution Award – was the next cab off the rank. Donna Ritcher, Manager of Matchworks employment agency in Bacchus Marsh, announced Hope Street Youth and Family Services as the worthy winner in a standout field of nominees. As the judges observed, Hope Street’s range of vital pilot programs is “being closely watched by other communities seeking ways to assist and engage homeless and disadvantaged youth.”

In the Innovation Award category, Reg Eustace, Chair of Western BACE (Business Accelerator and Centre of Excellence) announced FibreSand Solutions as the 2018 winners. Their revolutionary artificial turf solutions have been playing an important role in saving water, reducing landfill, while helping horse trainers produce more winners and creating innovative, world-class all-weather training facilities.

The therapeutic benefits of music are well known. For their passionate “commitment to mentoring and supporting customers with disabilities,” the team at Melton Music took great pleasure in accepting this year’s Best Access and Inclusion Business Award from Cr. Kathy Majdlik, Chair of the Melton Disability Advisory Committee. “Melton Music’s support goes beyond modifying teaching methods, they go out of their way to nurture social skills and situations that fully engage their clients,” noted the judges.

Local cabinetmaker Monte’s Kitchen Cabinets took out the honours in the Recognition of Excellence Award category, which was presented by Nikki Codman, retail manager at Woodgrove. The judges were impressed by Monte’s Kitchen Cabinets’ commitment to ensuring a state-of-the-art, safety-first workplace with “clever use of custom-designed ergonomic trolleys and lifting equipment” to minimise workplace injuries, as well as innovative “sawdust extraction equipment that provides a healthy dust-free environment” minimising disturbance to their neighbours.

With the major award of the evening looming closer, guests took a moment to acknowledge the inductees into the City of Melton Business Excellence Awards Hall of Fame: Abey Australia and Westcare Medical Centre. Grant Harrison an existing Hall of Fame member, led guests in a celebratory toast in honour of these outstanding businesses that have now been assured A1 status in Melton mercantile history.

Having called Melton home for more than 50 years, Abey Australia is a trusted and recognised name in bathroom and kitchen design technology around the country. Described as “loyally local”, Abey’s commitment to Melton’s business community has been hugely significant and their addition to our Hall of Fame was roundly welcomed.

Likewise, Westcare Medical Centre has been an invaluable part of the City of Melton community for almost 30 years. “Our goal is to attract the very best doctors to work in Melton,” said Dr Alistair Stark, Partner at Westcare. “Because of high-need, Melton really deserves the very best. Westcare has greatly benefitted from being nominated for the Business Excellence Awards in previous years and the process itself has helped us develop and improve the way we do things.”

The major award of the evening – Business of the Year – was what everyone was waiting for. This year, the supreme honour went to the deserving and hardworking team at Fixwell Smash Repairs and was presented by Natalie Bui, General Manager of Quest Caroline Springs. “I’m a perfectionist,” owner Victor Mercieca told local newspaper Star Weekly. “I like to ensure everything is done right – not just the panel beating, spray painting and other work carried out but also the way I run my workshop.”

As well as their efforts in garnering the Best Trade and Construction award, Fixwell’s pride in implementing industry-best practices, which has seen them acquire a number of awards, as well as being an outstanding contributor to assisting local community groups and providing employment pathways to marginalised youth in Melton.

Reflecting on the evening, Natalie Bui from Quest felt this year’s ceremony was the best to date. A part of the City of Melton’s business community since 2012, and having been the recipient of a number of Melton Business awards herself, Bui said that it was important to the team at Quest Caroline Springs to give something back.

“We’ve found that being part of a community is a fantastic way to encourage and motivate your staff,” she said. “But it’s also proof to our guests that we’re doing something right, and it’s great recognition as well.”

Congratulations to all of our award winners for 2018. Thanks also to our partners at Star Weekly newspapers and digital publications for their continued support of the Business Excellence Awards. We look forward to seeing even more nominations when we do it all again next year.

If you know of a hardworking business or enterprise in the City of Melton that deserves recognition, make sure you nominate them when nominations open for the 2019 awards event.