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Businesses celebrated for turning ‘adversity into triumph’ at Northern Star Business Awards

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce celebrated business achievement at the 2022 Northern Star Business Awards.
Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce celebrated business achievement at the 2022 Northern Star Business Awards.

A family-owned manufacturer specialising in refrigerated rigids and trailers scooped the top prize at a glittering awards ceremony last night.

Gray & Adams has been named Business of the Year at the 2022 Northern Star Business Awards.

G&A group engineering manager Ian Smith celebrates the company’s award. Photo Derek Ironside/ Newsline Media.

Run by James and Peter Gray, whose late father Jim founded the business in 1957, the Fraserburgh firm also took the Family business award.

Aberdeenshire Lord Lieutenant Sandy Mason presents the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2020 to G&A directors Peter (left) and James Gray.

More than 700 people packed P&J Live for the Northern Stars, the region’s biggest business awards dinner, organised by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC).

The event celebrated the exceptional accomplishments of organisations across the north-east of Scotland over the past year.

Other big winners on the night included CNR International (UK), Stork, ITC Hydraulic Services, CLAN, Sport Aberdeen, Balfour Beatty, Balmoral, Arnlea Systems, Stagecoach and QHSE Aberdeen.

Adversity into triumph

Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “Northern Star provides a unique stage to showcase and celebrate the brilliant work being done by businesses of all sizes, from all sectors and across the length and breadth of our fantastic area.

“And never has this been more the case than in the last two years when, faced with a seemingly never ending and diverse range of challenges, many companies saw this as an opportunity to do some great things, turning adversity into triumph.”

Gray & Adams were the unanimous choice from the judges, who were impressed by the firm’s values, expansion, and innovation.

From its roots as a car body repair workshop, the company has grown to dominate the UK cold chain, from farm to fork, and supplies bespoke temperature-controlled vehicles to all major supermarkets.

Trailer manufactured by Fraserburgh firm Gray & Adams.

It pioneered temperature-controlled lifting deck trailer technology in the 1990s and the company continues to be at the cutting edge of technology.

Having won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in 2020 for its double deck trailers, the business went on to move the whole industry towards a greener future.

It brought the first ever fully electric trailer to UK roads – the Vector E-Cool – the industry’s only fully autonomous, all-electric refrigerated trailer system and uses a new energy recovery and storage system, which it developed in collaboration and with US transport firm, Carrier Transicold.

It converts kinetic energy generated by the trailer axle and brakes into electricity, which is then stored in a battery pack powering the refrigeration unit. This loop creates a fully autonomous system which produces no direct carbon dioxide or particulate emissions.

The awards – hosted by BBC Scotland’s Fiona Stalker – also raised thousands of pounds for four local charities, MISS, UCAN, Cfine and Charlie House.

The 2022 Northern Star Business Award winners are:

Business of the Year (sponsored by Kaefer)

Gray & Adams

Customer First (sponsored by Bancon Construction)

QHSE Aberdeen

Driving Sustainability (sponsored by BP)

Stagecoach Bluebird

Family Business (sponsored by Aberdeenshire Council)

Gray & Adams

Going Global (sponsored by Aberdeen International Airport)

Arnlea Systems

Inspiration from Innovation (sponsored by Net Zero North-east)

Balmoral Group 

Inspiring Futures (sponsored by DYW North East)

Balfour Beatty

Making the Difference (sponsored by Balmoral Group)

Sport Aberdeen

Marketing Magic (sponsored by STV)

CLAN Cancer Support

Rising Star (sponsored by University of Aberdeen Business School)

Emma Clark – ITC Hydraulic Services

Staff Matter (sponsored by Gary Walker Wealth Management)


Student Placement (sponsored by RGU)

CNR International (UK)

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