The joint managing director of the North East Company of the Year 2014 his paid tribute to his employees and his father, whose principles and business talent have guided the firm through 47 years of success.
Nixon Hire was established by John Nixon in 1967 in tiny Newcastle headquarters. Since then, the business - one of the longest running in the plant hire sector - has grown to the point where it now employs more than 350 staff, reporting a 2013 turnover of £32.2m.
Over the last four years alone, the company has experienced an average year-on-year growth of 17% and Graham Nixon, who runs the business jointly with his brother Chris, believes it will hit its 2020 turnover target of £50m two years ahead of schedule.
After taking the top spot at the North East Business Awards 2014 final on Thursday, he described the recognition as “absolutely fantastic”.
“My late mother sold her car to start the business,” he added.
“Who would’ve known back then that 47 years later we would have 13 depot locations and a presence in Qatar.”
As to the firm’s business philosophy: “We believe in surrounding ourselves with the best people possible.”
The Business Awards, run by the Journal and the Evening Gazette, with support from the North East Chamber of Commerce, aim to celebrate the achievements of the region’s top firms, spanning a range of sectors and sizes.
Since September last year, high quality entries came in from Tyneside & Northumberland, Durham & Wearside, and Teesside, which each sub-region holding its own heats.
The winners then went on to compete for the overall title in their categories, with the final being held at Hardwick Hall Hotel, near Sedgefield, on Thursday.
A total of 613 people filled 62 tables for the event, which is also known for the networking opportunities it provides as well as for the inspiring speakers it has attracted over the years.
This year’s event was no exception, with former Royal Marine-turned-expedition-leader Monty Halls providing an entertaining look how at teams function - or fail to function - under stress.
Drawing on everything from snake hunting to swimming with sharks, he encouraged the audience to consider those pivotal moments of disillusionment when we must make a choice on whether to abandon our plans or press ahead to reach our goals.
One company clearly making the latter choice was The Bazaar Group, which collected two awards on the night – the Small Business trophy and the gong for Internet and ICT.
The Cramlington firm is the UK’s leading designer, manufacturer and online retailer of bean-filled furniture, and is no stranger to the North East Business Awards.
In both 2008 and 2010 it took the top prize in the Internet and IT Award categories
Director Jayne Dolder said: “I’m really very, very proud to have won.
“My husband and I both run the business but he can’t be here – he’s on a plane at the moment and I can’t wait to tell him.
“We’ve had a little bit of luck, a lot of hard work and an excellent team of staff – this is a really brilliant day for all of the staff.”
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