Meet the winners from the Express & Star Business Awards - PICTURES and VIDEO
It was a night to celebrate the best in business across the Midlands.
Pallet-Track was named the Express & Star's business of the year at a sell-out awards dinner last night.
More than 400 guests attended the glittering Express & Star Business Awards 2018 ceremony at Wolverhampton Racecourse.
WATCH highlights from the ceremony
Awards in 11 hotly-contested categories were presented over the course of the night with television's National Lottery 'Voice of the Balls', Alan Dedicoat, hosting.
He said that to have even been shortlisted in the tough competition was a fantastic achievement.
The Express & Star business editor Simon Penfold and business reporter John Corser were on hand to bring updates from the ceremony to social media.
Winners on the night
Pallet-Track, which was founded in 2002, recently recorded its 21 millionth pallet milestone.
Across its network of 86 members around the country it employs more than 1,500 with 117 at its Wolverhampton home.
It is rightly proud of its record of never having lost a single consignment since the start of its operations.
The fast-growing overnight palletised freight distribution business, which has its headquarters at its modern and impressive 267,000 sq ft Titan Distribution Centre in Millfields Road, Ettingshall, announced as the winners of the blue riband award.
Midland News Association print managing director Graeme Clifford made the presentation to the delighted Pallet-Track team.
First award of the night went to video and animation production company Stone's Throw Media, which is based at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park, as micro business of the year.
Wolverhampton's Moog Aircraft Group, the world's premier designer, manufacturer and integrator of flight control systems, landed the growth and innovation category with Stone-based chimney sweep Simon Guy-Holt brushing up in the new tradesperson of the year award. Judges praised him as an ambassador for his trade.
The closely-contested business person of the year category went to the chief executive of Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre, Adrian Jackson, for his inspirational role in transforming the theatre into one of the top venues in the country.
Wolverhampton-based Paycare took the community champion award. The organisation's work in supporting a vast range of activities and charities was praised by the judges.
PICTURES from the event
The manufacturing champion was Midland Tool and Design in Tipton, which was said to be a fine example of a traditional business embracing modern working practices with a slick, tidy and buzzing operation.
Young business of the year was revealed as water safety specialists H2O Hygiene, which was started in April 2017 in Cheslyn Hay. It impressed the judges by the progress it had made in such a short space of time.
Thomas Dudley Foundry, founded in 1920 and based at Birmingham New Road, Dudley, took home the coveted award for best use of technology and family business of the year went to funeral directors A and A Walters of Tipton.
Petford Group, which has specialist toolmaking and injection moulding factories in Dudley and Lye and has grown through steady investment in recent years, triumphed in the small to medium-sized business of the year category. Only a small handful of marks separated all four finalists in the judging.
Sponsors of the award categories were: Altodigital, Carvers Building Supplies, City of Wolverhampton Council, Crowe, Higgs & Sons, HomeServe, Jaguar Land Rover, Made in the Midlands, Sandwell College and UTC Aerospace Systems. Star Public Relations was the supporting sponsor.
Associate sponsors were Wolverhampton Racecourse and production company Yarrington. The Grand Theatre sponsored the drinks reception.
The exciting evening also helped to raise funds for local charity Midland Freewheelers. The West Bromwich-based voluntary emergency motorcycle riders organisation established in 2009, is part of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes, set up to provide an out of hours and emergency rider service to NHS hospitals.
The awards, which celebrate the best of Midlands business, attracted a record number of entries from businesses of all sizes from across the Black Country and south Staffordshire this year with the finalists selected after an extensive judging process.
- More pictures and news from the awards will feature in Saturday's Express & Star and next Tuesday's business supplement.