Region celebrates its rising stars

The three finalists in the Rising Star category of this years Northern Star Business Awards.
The three finalists in the Rising Star category of this years Northern Star Business Awards.

The future for North-east business is shining brightly, if the dynamism and talent of the next generation is anything to go by.

The three finalists in the Rising Star category of this year’s Northern Star Business Awards were chosen as representing the skills and abilities of tomorrow’s leaders.

Julita Stachowiak, 30, of Hutcheon Mearns, Stuart Common of Mackie’s of Scotland, and Mathew Pirie of Sureclean have all had a direct positive impact on their respective companies, highlighted in their particular achievements.

Julita works as a senior consultant at Hutcheon Mearns, an accountancy consulting and recruitment firm. She trained at KPMG in audit where she obtained first time passes in her ICAS exams after receiving a first class honours from Heriott Watt University.

Described as having “an extremely positive and upbeat persona”, she has been promoted three times in the previous three years and has contributed to the success of numerous businesses.

All this is the more remarkable as Julita relocated to Scotland from Poland when she was 18 without being able to speak a word of English.

Thirty-year-old Stuart Common is commercial director and the youngest member of the management team at Mackie’s, having first worked for the business as a student. His mentor was the late legendary sales director Denis Emslie.

One of his achievements has been establishing a successful partnership between a national grocery retailer and the North-east food producer but he’s not afraid of getting stuck in – he has been known to help carry the Christmas deliveries of ice cream to His Majesty’s Theatre to cope with the pantomime demand.

Described as enthusiastic and confident, Stuart plays an active role in Grampian Food Forum and he was recently appointed – again as the youngest member – to the ONE (Opportunity North East) food, drink and agriculture advisory board.

Mathew Pirie, 25, is a project engineer with industrial cleaning and waste management company Sureclean at Oldmeldrum, having first worked for the company while at university.

He has been involved in various large-scale projects internationally, with his most recent project managing Sureclean’s work as part of the integrated team on decommissioning of CNRI’s Murchison platform.

His implementation of a waste water treatment process reused 1.5million litres of water over the course of the project and led to substantial cost savings for the client. He brought the project in with no lost time incidents in 38,000 man hours, on time and under budget and Mathew’s energy and enthusiasm were identified as major factors behind its success.

Mathew also mentors and assists the current trainee project engineers within the company, using his knowledge of the process to help the rest of the team, and his experience in collaboration and innovation on the Murchison project means he is heavily involved in the development of Sureclean’s new services.

Barry Fraser, executive director, corporate finance - oil & gas at EY, and a member of this year’s judging panel said: “The quality of the overall nominations for the Rising Star Award was exceptional and is reflected in the successful finalists.

“I was impressed by the energy shown and achievements to date from a diverse range of individuals and businesses across a variety of sectors that are important to the region, giving confidence that the future of these businesses is in safe hands.”

Fellow member of the judging panel Carl Hodson, and commercial director at Autoverdi, said: “The standard of all entries in The Rising Star category was very high and the finalists in particular showed a dynamic and highly ambitious approach within their business.

“Not only was this done to improve their own credentials, the company’s service and profitability, but they also showed a more diverse approach to tackling additional tasks outwith the business head on with sector-orientated organisations or positive CSR contributions.

“They are all winners and we should be very proud within our local economy that we have so many rising stars to represent the region.”

The Rising Star award is sponsored by Wood Group, and Julita, Stuart and Mathew will find out which of them is named as Rising Star 2016 on September 22 at the Northern Star Business Awards.

A full list of finalists for the awards can be seen at www.northernstarawards.co.uk

The awards recognise companies in the North-east for their exceptional accomplishments across a range of fields from energy to innovation, people development to customer service.

Chief executive at the Chamber Russell Borthwick said: “The Northern Star Business Awards are a highpoint for the Chamber, giving North-east businesses from every sector the opportunity to showcase their achievements.

“All the award categories attract interest from across every sector of the business community and competition for a finalist spot is always tough.

“More than ever, it is vital at this time that we celebrate success and demonstrate to the world that Aberdeen city and shire remain firmly open for business.

“It really is time to shine for North-east businesses.”

The Northern Star Business Awards take place on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre, in the Bridge of Don in Aberdeen. For information regarding attendance or sponsorship, visit www.northernstarawards.co.uk, call 01224 343901 or follow #TimeToShine on Twitter.