Managing Director of the Year Awards 2023

MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2023 Managing Director of the Year Awards 2023 Pasha Recycling Services Ltd: Leading Waste Management Company MD 2023 (North West England): Omar Pasha AIM Building & Maintenance Services Ltd: Most Trusted Building & Maintenance MD 2023 (Scotland): Joe Bunch

About our Managing Director of the Year Awards 2023 Currently in its second year, we at SME News are thrilled to host the Managing Director of the Year Awards 2023! Focusing on those at the forefront of businesses, we seek to shine a light on those who have shown true excellence in leadership, commitment, and determination more than ever over the past 12 months across the UK. Following a very successful introduction, SME News is proud to announce the return of the Managing Director of the Year Awards 2023 for its second instalment! Exclusively devoted to rewarding the very best Managing Directors from across the UK, these awards offer a unique opportunity to gain recognition for both you and your business. The role of the Managing Director (MD) has evolved significantly in recent years. Today’s MDs are expected to have a wide range of skills from exquisite leadership capabilities to possessing the necessary strategic insight to base key decisions on. A truly successful MD, though, goes beyond these basic requirements. They must also be able to forge and sustain key relationships based on trust and confidence, and to drive their business forward with proactive and thoughtful leadership on issues like diversity and climate. Sofi Parry | Senior Editor

Contents 4. Pasha Recycling Services Ltd: Leading Waste Management Company MD 2023 (North West England): Omar Pasha 6. AIM Building & Maintenance Services Ltd: Most Trusted Building & Maintenance MD 2023 (Scotland): Joe Bunch 8. Open Tech City: Most Effective Digital Construction Management Consultancy MD 2023: Mindas Burba EDBA 10. Tooling 2000 Limited: Best Engineering Solutions MD 2023: Gary Williams 12. Gymfinity Kids: Best Children’s Fitness & Nursery MD 2023: Jacques De Bruin 14. Market Rocket: Best Emerging Digital Advertising Agency Business Leader 2023 (England): Matthew Peck 16. RJJ Software: Most Visionary Software Development & Consultancy MD 2023: Jamie Taylor 18. Start Solar UK & Ireland: Best Renewable Energy Design & Installation MD 2023: Andrew McKee 20. Visiting Angels: Most Visionary Social Care Advocate & Home Care Provider MD 2023: Dan Archer 22. The Upper Quartile Group Ltd: Best Business Insights MD 2023: Alaster Siddle 24. HMH Civils Limited: Best Group Civil Engineering 2023 (Yorkshire): Gerard May 25. Life Sciences Recruitment: Best Science Sector Recruitment Agency MD (England): Mark Budd 26. Barchester Healthcare: Most Pioneering Independent Care Home MD 2023: Sue Gallagher 27. Kirk Refrigeration Ltd: Best Ventilation & Air Conditioning Services MD 2023: Greg Kirk 28. Origym Centre of Excellence Ltd: Fitness Education MD of the Year 2023: Steph Roberts 29. Globalfields: Most Pioneering Green Finance MD 2023: Marta Simonetti 30. Stellar Insurance Reinstatement Services Limited: Best Domestic Insurance Repairs MD 2023 (Scotland): Ross Cooper 31. Trust-Care Staff & Training Ltd: Best Social Care Agency MD of the Year 2023 (Scotland): Calum Harris 32. Apollo Care (South Wirral): Most Inspirational Home Care MD 2023 (North England): Suzanne Janvier 33. PROMStahl Ltd: Most Trusted Loading Bay Equipment Manufacturing Company MD 2023: Tom Langley 34. DIY Building Supplies: Best Building Supplies MD 2023 (Nottinghamshire): Matthew Holland 35. Carbon Gold Ltd: Sustainable Garden Product MD of the Year 2023: Sue Rawlings 36. Hopwood Creative Ltd: Most Client-Focused Digital Design MD 2023: Ric Hopwood 37. Corten: Innovative eCommerce Logistics MD of the Year 2023: Michael Levy 38. Midland Cold Rolled Sections: Bespoke Metal Forming MD of the Year 2023 (West Midlands): Neil Plant 39. APeducation Online: Most Transformative Vocational Education Leader 2023: Abhinav Mujoo 40. Best Telecommunications Engineering MD 2023: Noel Gaze 41. Callidus: International Health & Safety Consulting MD of the Year 2023: Steve Allcoat 42. Micro Nav Limited: Air Traffic Control Training MD of the Year 2023 (England): Greg Pile 43. Trew Surveying Ltd: Best Residential Building Surveying MD 2023 (North East): Neil Trewick 44. The Affinity Group: Accounting MD of the Year 2023 (Southern England): Daniel Mepham 45. New Homes Customer Care Ltd: Best New Home Consumer Care MD 2023: James Bush 46. Stantone Mechanical Handling Ltd: Fork Lift Truck Hire MD of the Year 2023: Nigel Martin 47. Protein Partners Ltd: Most Innovative Health Nutrition Manufacturer 2023 (Cheshire): Mark Harrison 48. Northside Truck & Van Ltd: Truck & Van Dealership MD of the Year 2023 (England): Keith Sims 49. HAVi Technologies Ltd: Best Health & Safety Management Solutions MD: Kate Louise Cole 50. eventFULL: Best Exhibition Stand Providers MD 2023: Emile Sade 51. Staffline Recruitment Limited: Most Instrumental Recruitment MD 2023: Frank Atkinson 52. Global Solutions for Clothing: Ethical Children’s Clothes Manufacturer of the Year 2023 (East Midlands): Harrison Palmer

4 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Leading Waste Management Company MD 2023 (North West England): Omar Pasha Pasha Recycling Services Ltd was founded in 1992 by Mr and Mrs Pasha. When it began it worked from a 1,500 square foot unit and throughout the years it has moved up in the recycling world. The company is now working in a 30,000 square foot unit with extra equipment to make the process easier for its ever-growing team. Here we learn more about Omar Pasha’s expertise, and the company, after being recognised in the Managing Director of The Year Awards 2023. Pasha Recycling specialises in recycling and trading. Its mission is to make sure that waste is processed and disposed of legally, safely, and responsibly to comply with the UK legislation and its internal code of ethics. On top of that, the company prioritises growth, infrastructure, employee progression, customer satisfaction, and brand awareness. Through focusing on these areas, it aims to make a positive impact on both the environment and its employees. Omar Pasha is the Managing Director at Pasha Recycling. He started his journey in the recycling business as a general labourer and worked his way up to his current role. Getting to where he is today was not easy as he faced challenges along the way. However, it led him to have a deep understanding of the business and its operations. Omar adds, “My journey from a general labourer to Managing Director has taught me the importance of hard work, determination, and continuous learning. It has also given me a unique perspective on the industry and the skills required to succeed in it.” Often the challenges faced lead to the most rewarding destinations and provide knowledge that wouldn’t have been obtained otherwise. Omar implements all that he has learnt through his career with his team at Pasha Recycling. He shares, “My leadership style is one that is fair but firm and hands-on. I believe that a leader should lead by example and be actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the business. This approach allows me to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by my team and to work collaboratively to find solutions.” The team members at Pasha Recycling are key to helping the company run and succeed which is why it is important to protect their wellbeing and their job satisfaction – all to keep them motivated and engaged. Omar has worked hard to create a positive work environment that encourages growth, development, and success. He has built a strong foundation with his team where trust and respect go both ways. In order to make this possible he has implemented effective communication, transparency, and approachability throughout. When communicating with his team, Omar ensures that what he is explaining is easily understood by everyone. Ambiguity or confusion can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes which can have a negative impact in the team and the business. Omar explains, “By being clear and concise, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.” The approaches that Omar has taken towards his team has made it possible to create an environment that works and where the common goal is achievable. This is why it is no surprise that Omar Pasha now holds the title of Leading Waste Management Company MD 2023 (North West England). Omar shares a piece of advice for those trying to make it in the industry as he emphasises, “Celebrate the small wins, as they will keep you motivated on the long road ahead. It may be a challenging journey, but don’t give up. Stay committed to your goals, keep learning, and keep pushing yourself to be better every day. With hard work and dedication, success will eventually follow.” Mar23253 “ We encourage open communication and a free exchange of ideas, which fosters creativity and innovation. Our team members are committed to supporting each other and creating a positive work environment that is both challenging and fulfilling. ”

Managing Director of the Year 2023 | 5 The recycling industry is constantly growing, and the team come together to find strategic solutions – adapting and changing as needed. Currently, Pasha Recycling is investing in green energy by using electric vehicles and solar panels. It is also putting money into its plastic compounding division. As part of the industry, it has the chance to make an impact in the reduction of plastic waste. By upgrading its plastic compounding division, Pasha Recycling will be able to produce high quality plastic polymer resin. The incorporation of this will enable it to offer its customers greater value and quality. Additionally, Pasha Recycling is stepping into the consultancy area by providing businesses with knowledge on how to gain accreditation within the waste management sector. Omar explains, “We believe that sharing our expertise and helping others to improve their waste management practices is an essential part of our mission to create a more sustainable future for everyone.” Now, more than ever before, the planet needs us to look for solutions that are environmentally friendly. It is great to see that Pasha Recycling is implementing such practices with its company and will be sharing knowledge with other companies to drive them towards making the necessary changes that need to happen. Keep your eyes peeled and don’t miss out on gaining access to a great deal of valuable information. Head over to Pasha Recycling Services’ website to stay updated! Company: Pasha Recycling Services Ltd Web Address: Leading Waste Management Company MD 2023 (North West England): Omar Pasha

6 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Mar23177 Most Trusted Building & Maintenance MD 2023 (Scotland): Joe Bunch Established in 2020, by Managing Director Joe Bunch, AIM Building & Maintenance has already taken the UK building industry by storm. With its professional, friendly, and comprehensive services spanning across a whole range of various tasks, AIM Building & Maintenance has paved the way towards offering tailored services for projects of all sizes. From start to finish, it crafts a bespoke roadmap that’s exclusive to its clients’ needs, all whilst maintaining a high quality, value-for-money service that’s already shaping up to lead businesses into the next generation of the build industry. Since its emergence three years ago, AIM Building & Maintenance has expanded its services to cover the vast majority of build requirements. Whether you’re looking for renovations for your corporate building, or wanting new fencing for your residential property, AIM Building & Maintenance has every tool at its disposal to provide you with the best of the best. Though its specialty lies within commercial insurance repairs, it won’t hesitate to lend its services wherever (and whenever) they’re needed. In terms of its specialty, however, AIM Building & Maintenance truly excels when tackling insurance repairs. Initially established by Joe to cater towards this sector, it’s mastered the art of repair and reinstatement. Joe understands that disaster can strike at any moment, and has trained his team accordingly. As a result, AIM Building & Maintenance consistently provides speedy repair work, whilst operating to its exceptionally high standards. It aims to minimise inconvenience completely, so its clients can get back to doing what they do best as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Of course, over the last three years, AIM Building & Maintenance has extended its list of services even further, in the hopes of being able to provide for every type of client. Joe explains how, “Like most businesses, we know that our success lies in delivering excellent service to you, our customers. Our customer service charter sets out our commitment to provide you, our customer, with the service you can expect”, a statement that lends itself to the high regard in which AIM Building & Maintenance holds their clients. It recognises the importance of clients, and how crucial it is to ensure that they exit the process with their needs met, and their expectations exceeded. AIM Building & Maintenance achieves this impressive feat through its vast wealth of service options, each of which are carried out by experts in their respective fields. Quality is the company’s main commitment, and it has yet to fail in dedicating its all towards achieving absolute client satisfaction. However, none of this would be possible without the fantastic internal culture that Joe has tirelessly worked to foster throughout his years as Managing Director. His passion for the industry shines through the way AIM Building & Maintenance rigorously trains its team. It holds a steadfast ethos of self-evaluation, and its this resolute ethos that constructs a collaborative and supportive staff base, each dedicated towards AIM Building & Maintenance’s overarching mission: to provide quality service in every aspect of its work. Joe seems to have mastered the art of what it means to manage a team, and it’s incredibly evident through the work that AIM Building & Maintenance has been able to, and continues to, accomplish. Though its experience may not amount to the many years totalled by other build companies throughout the UK, what it’s lost in time it makes up for in an astounding level of innovation, efficiency, and passion. Its young age doesn’t hinder its services, as evidenced by Joe’s most recent award title, and instead lends to the overwhelming success of this brilliant build business. As stated by AIM Building & Maintenance, “We strive towards carrying out a professional, friendly, and comprehensive service to all of our customers, and we hope to connect with as many new people as we can this year”. No matter the client, and no matter the task, the team is committed towards providing every service imaginable whilst adhering to a quality that’s simply unbeatable. No detail is overlooked, and each project, regardless of size, is treated with the utmost respect and dignity. And, without Joe’s admirable knack for leadership, AIM Building & Maintenance may not have evolved to achieve the impressive status it holds today. The build industry is constantly growing and changing. This is a fact that can’t be ignored, and some businesses within the field may be intimidated by the prospect of a rapidly fluctuating world. However, AIM Building & Maintenance is a cut above the rest, and takes change in its stride in order to offer the best that the UK build industry has to offer. Its passion lies with its devotion to its clients, and Joe is at the forefront of ensuring that AIM Building & Maintenance will continue to flourish in the coming years. If a young company such as this has been able to accomplish so much already, we can’t wait to see where it goes from here. Contact: Joe Bunch Company: AIM Building & Maintenance Services Ltd Web Address: Quality and efficiency act as the backbone for the entire build industry. It’s what guarantees that the places that mean the most to us are bound to stand the test of time, and it all starts with the right building and maintenance services. Thankfully, Glasgow-based AIM Building & Maintenance Services Ltd (AIM Building & Maintenance) is consistently providing impeccable service throughout the UK, and it’s all thanks to its trustworthy Managing Director, Joe Bunch.

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8 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Mar23397 Most Effective Digital Construction Management Consultancy MD 2023: Mindas Burba EDBA Mindas Burba and the team at Burton-upon-Trent-based consultancy Open Tech City (OTC), are championing collaboration to improve national and international railway networks. The team provides organisations in the public sector with advice and support on a range of projects including infrastructure upgrades, digitalisation and operational changes. We speak with Mindas to find out more about the company and his journey to becoming MD at OTC. When Mindas Burba travelled to Switzerland during the second year of his civil engineering degree he encountered railway engineering for the first time. His experience working at the Gotthard Base Tunnel construction site left him hungry to learn more about infrastructure operations and systems engineering. Although working on multirise construction projects in London, Mindas felt the lure of the transport sector. He made the leap in 2006 to work as an engineer on the East London Line Extensions project. Since then Mindas has lent his expertise to projects such as Heathrow Airport Terminal 2, A/B construction and the London Bridge Station redevelopment. During his time working for Network Rail, Mindas had a hand in major projects including the Thameslink Programme, the Transpennine Route Upgrade and the Midland Mainline Electrification. He tells us, “During this time I was working on multimillion-pound projects. It gave me an insight into taking control of projects that would deliver great technological and cultural improvements. I went back to university and gained a master’s degree in engineering management. I gained experience and knowledge in the financial management of projects too.” Soon after, Mindas came to the attention of the executives at OTC. They offered him the role of Senior Policy Advisor to the EU, providing consultancy to many EU government organisations. This external role was such a success for the company that OTC’s shareholders proposed that Mindas become the company’s next MD. Managing a focused team of industry experts, Mindas’ tasks are to grow the company’s consultancy portfolio and expand its offerings. The company provides a holistic range of consultancy services including project appraisal, risk analysis, design and planning, project management, delivery and reporting. Often, OTC provides an entire project management team, taking control of contract management, costing and operational modelling. The company has even designed training facilities to enable personnel to make a smooth transition through infrastructure changes. Mindas is proud of the flexibility and commitment that OTC shows at every stage of a project. He says, “The devil is in the detail as they say. At OTC we love detail. We’re fortunate to have a team of brilliant analytical minds that thrive on finding solutions. Our technical expertise and leadership skills go hand-in-hand. We develop project delivery and contract strategies with the client in mind to ensure the success of every project. It’s fascinating for me to work in this sector at this exciting time. OTC is well placed to help those in the industry and in the communities that it impacts.” As someone with decades of industry experience, Mindas isn’t a fan of competitive culture. He explains, “Today major programme deliveries need alliances, not competition. I understand the procurement ideology around tenders and bidding, but I believe in strong frameworks and collaboration. We should enable mechanisms for sharing skills and resourcing by mutual understanding. It’s always sad to hear about competitive businesses entering into contracts without consideration and ending up in administration.” The inclusive culture at OTC is one of true collaboration encouraging everyone to develop, grow and share ideas. He says, “The success of leadership in most business cultures depends on the level of altruism. It’s not about one-way traffic. It’s about conscious and unconscious collaboration, where every contribution is impartially assessed and rewarded. We’re not competing against each other, we’re competing together, with our supplier too, to become better partners. We don’t believe in one-manband success.” The impact of transport on both planet and the environment is coming under increasing scrutiny. This has led to the industry being in a constant state of assessment and change. As such all industry stakeholders are obliged to move with the times. For the experts at OTC that means keeping up with and reacting to current trends. Mindas says, “Our challenge is to ensure that our experts are doing their homework. Some of our consultants are part of the EU/UK transport technology clusters. They’re briefed first-hand on the new regulations, funding, development frameworks, etc. We assess this information and distribute it to our current and past clients to make sure that they stay up-to-date too. For everyone`s better tomorrow, we all want to see this industry healthier and cleaner and more resilient. Part of that is building strong partnerships that will endure.” In 2023-24, OTC is already committed to several major projects and will join overseas think-tank groups. Working with clients in the UK and across the EU, the company’s next steps include expansion into areas such as the USA, Canada and Scandinavia. Mindas’ task will be to understand how this expansion will happen and put resourcing plans into place. The company also plans to continue its close collaboration with UK universities, bringing together operational and research institutions to find better transport solutions. Currently, the team is working with the University of Birmingham on a hydrogen trains project that could move trains into the zeroemissions space. OTC is also looking into blockchain concepts for future collaborations and is eager to speak with any specialists in this area. Mindas tells us, “We’ll test a few blockchain models within railway clusters in the upcoming months. Any businesses keen to know more still have time to get involved. And we’d urge industry clients who

Managing Director of the Year 2023 | 9 Most Effective Digital Construction Management Consultancy MD 2023: Mindas Burba EDBA are interested to hear more about cases where blockchain delivers products and services to get in touch.” To find out more about working with Open Tech City or to see details of the company’s current projects, please visit the website. Contact: Mindas Burba EDBA Company: Open Tech City Web Address:

10 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Best Engineering Solutions MD 2023: Gary Williams Birmingham-based company, Tooling 2000, has been delivering end-to-end tooling solutions to its clients since 1996. The company has built a reputation for the expertise of its team and the high level of accuracy and quality of its deliverables. Managing Director Gary Williams has been with the company since the beginning. We take a look at the company and its recipe for success in more detail. Machine tooling – the process of designing, cutting and forming the tools needed to make parts and components – is essential to the manufacturing process. Many of the products we know and rely on today wouldn’t exist without it. The success of an end product relies on the design and quality of the tooling used in its manufacture. Sub-standard tooling invariably results in a sub-standard product. One company that’s held its place at the cutting edge of the machinetooling industry for more than 25 years is Tooling 2000. The company’s wealth of experience combined with its willingness to invest in the latest technology, results in precision tooling that’s reliable and designed with the end-customer in mind. From its purpose-built facility in central Birmingham, Tooling 2000 provides complete presswork and sheet metal engineering to clients across a range of industries. Priding itself on consistently high standards, the company has built solid and enduring relationships with household names such as Jaguar/Land Rover, Rolls-Royce, Glen Dimplex and Aston Martin. Gary Williams began his career as an engineering apprentice. Later, Gary gained experience as a CNC Machinist for Washford Engineering, before joining Tooling 2000 in 1996. Initially employed as a toolmaker/ machinist, Gary was promoted to Manufacturing Manager in 2001. A little over 10 years later he stepped into his first director role, becoming Tooling 2000’s MD in August 2020. Having a strong engineering background and a deep understanding of the intricacies of manufacturing, Gary continues to spend much of his time on the shop floor. He tells us, “All our clients’ have one thing in common, and that’s a commitment to delivering the very best every time. That’s why they come to us because they know we insist on the same high standards.” The secret to the company’s success is its ruthless attention to detail. Tooling 2000’s team of experts work with clients from the earliest planning stages, through to full-scale production. Everything the company produces focuses on delivering maximum quality with minimum waste. Gary says: “Whether our clients come to us for 5-axis laser cutting, computer-aided design, CNC machining or a combination of services, our experts work with them to deliver exactly what they need. Our tools are robust and custom-made. Let us know what you need, and we’ll work to make it happen.” Let’s take a look at some of the services on offer. Tooling 2000’s involvement with a project can begin at the ideas stage. Working in collaboration with its clients and using the very best industry software, the company offers a comprehensive design and feasibility service. Employing its extensive engineering experience, the team defines a process with the client that will act as a foundation on which to build the completed project. Gary explains, “We do everything we can to make the process easy for our clients. For example, we use CAD technology that translates the design into a format supported by a major software supplier. This allows customers to review the design on their own systems. This saves them both time and money.”

Managing Director of the Year 2023 | 11 When it comes to prototyping, Tooling 2000 is well-positioned in the industry as a trusted partner. Working with clients to provide an end-toend solution for prototype manufacture, the company has the facility and capacity to accommodate their needs, even for multi-stage manufacturing. Gary says, “Prototypes are the perfect way to test feasibility. We partner with our clients to identify the best solution for them. When they require low-volume production, we can do it. If large-volume production is required, we’ll make the tools but also assist with the lower-volume production phase via the prototype route. We have the capacity in-house for assembly work, too, meaning we can do everything under one roof.” And, if there’s anything that the company can’t tackle in-house, such as laser etching or special finishing, Tooling 2000 has a network of trusted local partners it can rely on for those elements. When it comes to precision machining, Tooling 2000 has the ability to machine anything from the smallest, most intricate component up to castings weighing 16 tons. The team’s skilled machinists use the very best 3 and 5-axis CNC machinery to produce accurate parts on time, every time. And, if you only have an original part to copy, the team uses its laser scanning and reverse engineering capabilities to gather the information it needs to do the job. Best Engineering Solutions MD 2023: Gary Williams Tooling 2000’s time-served precision tooling engineers supply a complete in-house service too. Using a 20-ton crane, the team handles large-scale tooling of up to 45 tons safely and efficiently. As a presswork specialist, Tooling 2000 works in partnership with customers requiring progression tooling. Whatever the project, the team is ready to collaborate to ensure customer downtime is kept to a minimum. When pressing components for large-scale automotive projects, Tooling 2000 uses its 2500-ton capability which is similar to a slow hydraulic process. This capability makes the company unique in the UK. With a management philosophy designed to yield the perfect component every time, Tooling 2000 invests in its personnel, equipment and technology. And as manufacturing techniques evolve, the team is focused on reducing lead times for clients whilst maintaining the levels of accuracy and quality that the company has become synonymous with. Gary says, “Staying at the forefront of technology benefits our clients and ourselves. Our ongoing investment in our people and our machinery helps us to achieve this. This award is a testament to all our efforts. I’m delighted to receive it on behalf of myself and the team.” Company: Tooling 2000 Limited Web Address:

12 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Mar23255 Best Children’s Fitness & Nursery MD 2023: Jacques De Bruin Gymfinity Kids offer clubs and nurseries tailored for children and covering a wide range of fitness activities. Children can get involved in gymnastics, ninja knights, dance classes, 1:1 session, special club nights, and more. Taster sessions are free to book, so it’s perfectly okay to come along for a trial to see if you like it, before signing up. The business aim is to encourage activity, and a better understanding of good nutrition. Its large, state-of-the-art clubs cater for children from 3 months to 16 years old, with several on-site nurseries providing care and education for little ones. Gymfinity Kids was founded to provide innovative solutions to the growing problem of inactivity amongst the children of the UK. It is recommended for young people to be active at least 60 minutes a day, but sadly the majority of children are simply not achieving this. The negative impact this has on mental health, as well as physical health, is alarming. In 2017 Gymfinity launched to help tackle the problem. Its ambition was to provide recreational gymnastics and ninja classes aimed at getting children active. After building the clubs, Gymfinity realised it had also been gifted the opportunity to introduce its pioneering approach to babies and toddlers. By providing nurseries situated within its spacious, modern clubs, the focus on nourishment, development and movement could begin from day dot. The company lives by its values, which define the way the business operates, guides it in the way it coaches and cares, helps it develop trusting relationships with parents, and lays the foundations for long-term healthy, happy children. These values are caring, inspiring, welcoming, expert, developing, and fun. Caring is conveyed in the way it maintains the health, safety and happiness of its children as an all-encompassing top priority. Inspiring is personified in its passionate coaches who motivate children to be the best versions of themselves. Welcoming comes from making sure there is a place for everyone at its all-inclusive clubs and nurseries. Expert embodies the highest quality facilities, coaches and carers its children are all ensured access to. Developing comes from the manner in which it encourages progression, helping children to reach their full potential. Finally fun is quite simply a reminder that everything it does is in the pursuit of having fun. Gymfinity is also built on the three pillars of movement, nourishment and development. It uses these to inspire children to be happier, healthier, and look after their overall wellbeing. Through building strength, balance and coordination, it hopes to inspire confidence, independence and a desire to progress. The company has a number of ambassadors who are dedicated to fulfilling these three pillars. Anabel Karmel MBE is the ambassador for nourishment. She is a world leading children’s food and nutrition expert with over 45 cookbooks to her name. She recognises the importance of developing healthy habits for long-term health and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with parents and children to show anyone can make quick healthy meals packed with flavour. The ambassador for movement is Imogen Mohammed. A lifelong gymnastics enthusiast and coach, she plays a leading role in the design of activity programmes for children, encouraging them to jump, roll, bounce and balance higher, faster and for longer. She knows active bodies are happy bodies and is eager to encourage any child to give Gymfinity a go. The ambassador for development is Dr Ellie Cannon, a practicing GP and expert on family health. She is passionate about laying the foundations for a happier, healthier nation, and thrilled to be partnering with Gymfinity to encourage children to adopt important, healthy habits early on in life. Finally, the man who brings it all together, and award winner of Best Children’s Fitness & Nursery MD 2023: Jacques De Bruin. Well done to Jacques. As managing director of Gymfinity, welcoming positive changes to the health of the nation’s children is something we can rest assured is in safe hands. An outstanding achievement! Company: Gymfinity Kids Web Address: Gymfinity Kids is the UK’s leading provider of activity-based clubs and nurseries. It offers gymnastics, Ninja classes, holiday camps and parties, all built on the pillars of movement, development and nourishment. It has an aim to enhance overall wellbeing in children with healthy habits designed to last a lifetime.

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14 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Mar23241 Best Emerging Digital Advertising Agency Business Leader 2023 (England): Matthew Peck Market Rocket was founded by Matthew Peck in 2019 as a company who deliver transformative business growth to top industry brand leaders. It works with businesses of all sizes, and at all stages of their growth journey, to provide the ultimate Direct to Consumer (D2C) platform. Market Rocket supports businesses across whatever platform they operate by using PPC advertising, SEO performance, social media and PR. The London based agency Market Rocket emerged onto the scene in 2019, going from a standing start of zero monthly income to currently earning revenues in excess of £2.5 million in client fees. It works to increase business growth for more than 100 global industry leaders, including well-known names such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and JCB. This is all done via its formidable D2C sales and marketing activities. Market Rocket is a certified Amazon Service Provider Network (ASPN) partner, Amazon Ads partner, Google partner, Meta partner and, more recently, a TikTok partner. It works with its clientbusinesses to provide the best D2C platform, with recent acquisitions providing a broader offering than ever before in terms of providing business growth. It delivers this through its specialist website development, PPC advertising, design, SEO, on-trend social media, digital marketing strategy and PR. This is in addition to broad D2C and ecommerce expertise and means that Market Rocket is now supporting businesses across every platform. The creative, well-built team at Market Rocket is confident it has the capacity to provide any client, in any sector, with the bespoke support they need to grow their D2C business at a rate and scale of their own choosing. The company’s internal structure is such that it is built to contain team members who are specialists in their own disciplines. One of the bonuses of this is that it frees up time to allow managing director Matthew Peck to concentrate on searching out new growth opportunities. He also researches different markets, different territories, and even different office locations in other countries. Matthew is confident to do this, knowing that the team behind him are trustworthy, competent, and will get on with the jobs at hand quite independently. The best things about Market Rocket are its creativity, energy, and desire for collaboration amongst the specialists (and on so many different levels). It also has an admirable ability to put its clients, and by extension their audience, at the very heart of what it does. Another exemplary aspect of working for Market Rocket is the sheer quality of its expertise on strategy and digital growth. From boosting sales on the Amazon platform and developing a brand website optimised for SEO performance, to engaging in on trend social media, PR and digital marketing. Market Rocket’s clients include start-ups with limited capacity and budget, market disruptors, companies with a niche product mix, all the way up to Fortune 500 companies serving global markets. In 2022, Marketing Director Matthew Peck oversaw the company’s acquisition by FMCG investment house S-Ventures, to both secure its future and create more growth opportunities. This has enabled Market Rocket to work with other brands within S-Ventures portfolio such as a range of vegan, free-from snacks and confectionery business it has helped to grow. The move also saw Matthew add his considerable strategic knowledge to the S-Ventures operating subsidiary board as chief digital officer. In a subsequent move to broaden Market Rocket’s full D2C range, later in 2022 Matthew also oversaw the acquisition of two further marketing businesses, supporting the launch of a full-service digital marketing and PR offering at Market Rocket. This newly combined offering now delivers business growth through specialist website development, PPC advertising, design, SEO performance, on-trend social media engagement, digital marketing strategy and PR. It also promotes broad D2C and ecommerce expertise, meaning that Market Rocket can support businesses across whatever platform they operate on. “Having built the team we have at Market Rocket, we are confident that we have the capacity to provide any client with the bespoke support they need to grow their business.” Under the guidance of MD Matthew Peck, the support offered to clients by Market Rocket can be broadly categorised into four distinct pillars. These are account management, analytics, graphic design/video content creators, and strong copywriting skills. Market Rocket offers tailored account management from personnel who are experts in the specific channel and sector, many of whom have real life experience of running their own businesses in the same discipline. Its understanding of analytics helps analyse buyer behaviour and optimise audience engagement. This leads to better campaign performances for clients. The company’s graphic design and video content creators help support client campaigns, ads, brand pages and product listings. It is what can provide the all-important pop that is crucial in a competitive marketplace. In addition, support of SEO, plus digital and traditional PR, requires exceptional copywriting skills. This helps to grow organic traffic, brand awareness, and position a product effectively to differentiate from competitors. Matt realises that having any one of these pillars available as a specialism is welcome, but providing all four at once is what makes Market Rocket unique. “Fundamentally, each of these roles are vital to business growth and should be performed by separate people who all have very different skill sets. One person could never feasibly excel at all of these disciplines at once. That is why we’ve

Managing Director of the Year 2023 | 15 Best Emerging Digital Advertising Agency Business Leader 2023 (England): Matthew Peck built our business- and our team -to be able to provide all of these specialist services to our clients all at once.” Market Rocket boasts a number of previous business owners who now work for the company. Each brings decades of proven experience within their sector or marketing discipline, and so clients can benefit from tried and tested methods from people who really know their beans. In many ways, this is what’s seen by Market Rocket as the fifth pillar, which Matthew explains as being similar to football’s twelfth man. It’s the X-factor Market Rocket can deliver from having nearly 100 years of combined collective experience in marketing. Having people who work in the different disciplines and sectors is what makes Market Rocket stronger as a whole. It also means it’s possible to curate the most effective team for each and every client. In many ways it’s this fifth pillar that provides the glue holding all the others together. Market Rocket’s staff are all equipped with the latest equipment, which allows them to enjoy a truly flexible approach to the work environment. Office-based staff are located at a central London (St Paul’s area) space that’s within walking distance of some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks. The office also comes complete with meeting rooms, a breakout space and recreational areas for staff to enjoy. Providing colleagues with a suitable working environment is key to bringing their creativity to the fore and encourages team members and clients alike to spend time collaborating. Market Rocket’s combination of targeted email marketing, PR, SEO, PPC and social media activities have seen record returns on its clients’ investments. For example, Lizza’s web sales increased by 71%, Purely saw an 87% rise in sales, whilst Pulsin earned 15% more sales when compared to the previous period. Pulsin, a brand of healthy snack bars and protein powders, has also seen increased conversions through driving more relevant traffic to the brands website. Since working with Market Rocket, it has seen an increase in referral traffic of 87%! There are not very many firms that found, sell and then reacquire businesses within 3 short years, and all while retaining the original vision for the company. But Market Rocket’s Matthew Peck is such an excellent collaborator, a finder of new opportunities, and an insightful leader that he has risen to the challenges with gusto. Now, as the winner of Best Emerging Digital Advertising Agency Business Leader 2023 (England): Matthew Peck, it is tremendous to see his hard work being recognised and valued. The prestigious title is a feather to the bow of this digital marketeer par excellence. Company: Market Rocket Web Address:

16 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Most Visionary Software Development & Consultancy MD 2023: Jamie Taylor Leeds-based software development company, RJJ Software, offers a range of services to clients across a variety of industries in order to help realise a company’s digital potential through innovative solutions using the latest technologies. We speak to the firm’s MD to find out more. By delivering the excellence needed, on time and under budget, RJJ Software utilises its expert knowledge and experience, along with its award-winning people, to solve business challenges. With vast experience in cross platform development using the latest iterations of the Microsoft technology stack, RJJ Software is well versed in the entire Microsoft .NET platform; SQL Server; and Azure, as well as DevOps, and providing security and consultancy services too. Managing Director, Jamie Taylor, tells us a little more about the firm and its unique offering. “We work primarily in both the bespoke software development services and podcast production and consultation spaces,” he begins. “In my opinion, these two fields are linked because they are both related to the same basic idea: achieving a company’s digital potential.” Both the firm’s bespoke software and podcasting arms operate in the same way – by using a methodology for developing software with very short iteration periods and near-constant feedback from clients, an iterative approach to delivery, and a focus on using the very best of the bleeding edge of technology available in order to create something exceptionally unique. Utilising the core tenets of the Agile Manifesto (Manifesto for Agile Software Development) – a methodology that ensures RJJ can stay on top of its game throughout short iteration periods and nearconstant feedback from clients – the firm has worked wonders for a huge amount of clients. Jamie says, “To me, success is when I can see our clients achieving and exceeding the goals that they set out for a project that we have worked on.” Whilst the firm has competitors in both the bespoke software and podcast production space, Jamie feels that RJJ is uniquely positioned in both. For example, the podcast production consultation services involve the firm working as producers, helping its clients to deliver the clearest, most engaging message possible to their listeners. The software services, meanwhile, are delivered in a way which is different from the larger development companies as RJJ is able to spend face-to-face time with each client, building a rapport and getting to know them before embarking on a project. Jamie employs a constant focus on championing the people who use the software, products, and services he produces; by having compassion for the users and consumers he has been able to focus specifically on how what the company produces affects them. “To me, success is when I can see our clients achieving and exceeding the goals that they set out for a project that we have worked on,” he enthuses passionately. “I’m driven by the feeling of a job not just well done, but to the best of RJJ’s collective abilities – if we can achieve greatness for our clients, then they can use that greatness as a jumping off point in order to achieve their own greatness.” Jamie’s leadership style is relatively relaxed. As a remote-first company since being established in 2018, each team member works from a location which suits them as Jamie believes that if you give people a task to do, a deadline to do it in, and the freedom to find their own space to work in, you will get the best quality of work out of them. It’s also his experience that people will go the extra mile when they are afforded a certain amount of freedom. “We have relaxed working hours and employees are encouraged to take walking breaks every few hours. There have been studies which show that there is a direct link between walking in nature and lowering stress levels, whilst increasing creativity, productivity, and effectiveness at work.” As a remote-first company since its establishment in 2018, RJJ has constructed a network of collaboration, hard work, and responsiveness. Jamie’s flexible attitude towards giving people the space and freedom they need to succeed has inevitably paid off. Lessening the commute times, increasing the relaxed feel of every day in the office, and with regular breaks included, the overall feel of RJJ is that of support, encouragement, and great mental wellbeing – which is all integral to any thriving business environment. Lowering stress levels increases productivity and mental wellbeing, and Jamie does all he can to help his team. Jamie shares, “I find that having open lines of communication between myself and my team members is incredibly efficient and useful. I’m a very active user of the “available” and “busy” states on our internal chat program, and everyone knows that if my status is set to “available” they can call me if they have a question, query, or would just like to have a catch-up chat; all without asking permission first.” This relationship has built trust between Jamie and his team members, and, all treated with the same level of respect and integrity, the team always goes the extra mile for each other – and their clients. Recently, in recognition of the incredible work that Jamie has done, both in his role with RJJ Software and in the wider area in his capacity as a mentor giving back to the community, he was named Most Visionary Mar23238

Managing Director of the Year 2023 | 17 Software Development & Consultancy MD 2023 in the Managing Director of the Year Awards. This award is testament to the 14 years of experience that Jamie has in the rapidly evolving technology industry, and his drive to always learn the next big thing. Speaking of which, in such a fast-paced industry there are always new trends emerging and currently we are seeing the wide scale adoption of AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) services. Whilst some feel threatened by these advancements in technology, Jamie believes they will have a huge impact on reducing the initial amount of toil involved in the majority of technology-based office work. However, whilst these programmes can generate content at the push of a button, they can’t replace the human touch and the ingenuity involved in having a person generate that content. But they can provide a great starting point, which will scaffold the basics of something that a person can then customise. Most Visionary Software Development & Consultancy MD 2023: Jamie Taylor “Our working lives will not be destroyed by these generative technologies,” Jamie tells us. “But in the same way that the electronic calculator changed the way that mathematics was taught in the 1960s, the way that we do our work will be changed.” Now, part of RJJ’s future lies in increasing its reach and involvement in the bespoke audio production services industry, by focusing on big companies and showing how they can increase their market share by communicating directly with their potential customers. Watch this space! Contact: Jamie Taylor Company: RJJ Software Web Address:

18 | Managing Director of the Year 2023 Mar23206 Best Renewable Energy Design & Installation MD 2023: Andrew McKee There are many reasons to take a leap of faith and invest in solar power or renewable energy, not least the cost saving benefits, something that is becoming increasingly important as we experience a period of uncertainty and turbulence with the current cost-of-living crisis. However, clean green energy is also hugely beneficial to the environment, helping you to lower your carbon footprint and protect our beautiful planet. Based in Banbridge, Northern Ireland and Dublin, Southern Ireland, as well as with a base in Manchester, Start Solar UK & Ireland is an industry leading solar energy provider covering the whole of the UK and Ireland. Specialising in commercial and residential solar systems, battery storage, electric vehicle charging points, and energy auditing, the firm’s mission is to provide everyone across the UK with the opportunity to install renewable energy by offering all of its clients the most affordable and cutting-edge solutions available. “By tightly managing our own costs we are able to pass the savings on to you – our valued customers,” explains Andrew McKee, the firm’s Founder and Managing Director. As an experienced energy and manufacturing engineer with a degree in Engineering and a Master’s in Engineering Management from Ulster University, and having spent a considerable part of his early career within the clean energy industry in Australia, Andrew brought his knowledge and experience back home to Ireland to set-up Start Solar’s operations to the UK and Irish market in 2019. With a history of working with businesses of every size, SMEs to Corporate PLCs, Andrew certainly knows his stuff when it comes to delivering clean energy projects, in particular solar PV, battery storage, and electric vehicle charging points. With more than 10 years’ worth of experience in the industry, Start Solar’s team are all experts in their field, with a wealth of knowledge on everything renewable, everything energy related, and how to develop a bespoke solution, tailored for each and every one of the firm’s loyal clients. “We use only the highest quality components manufactured by Tier 1 manufacturers,” Andrew elaborates. “This ensures that the investment that our clients make in our renewable systems will continue to serve them for at least 25 years.” The in-depth knowledge and attention to detail that the skilled and dedicated team provides helps make the entire process seamless from start to finish. But how does it work exactly? Well, solar panels work on daylight (UV), not direct sunlight, and there is ample daylight hours to generate a healthy amount of electricity in the UK. On average a 4kW system could potentially generate £600* worth of electricity annually (*price is an approximation, based on a unit price of 18p/kW on a 30 degree, south facing roof). The prices of installing solar panels are now more feasible, and Start Solar also offers a finance option if preferred. There are no moving parts involved either, so maintenance and upkeep are kept to a minimum. There are further additional items too, to add to the cost savings while heating and lighting clients’ homes. For example, an Eddi can be used to heat the hot water via an immersion heater, or a battery can be added to store any generated energy not used in the house, rather than selling back to the grid. Priority is always given to the electrical items in the home, if they are not being used, or are less than what the system is producing, then the extra energy (which would normally go back to the grid) would be diverted to the Eddi appliance. These systems are not designed to heat the hot water in the same way as the immersion does; it is designed to work alongside it. Instead, it will give a gradual heat to the water in the tank (depending on the surplus energy the solar panels are producing) and so may need to be boosted by the immersion heater, which can be turned on as normal, only with the Eddi installed, it can be done via its interface instead. There’s no doubt about it, solar energy is the way of the future and Start Solar UK & Ireland (Start Solar) is dedicated to helping its clients get started on their energy saving journey. We profile the firm, and speak to Andrew McKee, as he gains recognition in this year’s Managing Director of the Year Awards.