Judges impressed by ambition and resilience as they reveal shortlist for People in Business Awards

Pictured are the judges for the People in Business Awards 2022. From left: Diana Taylor, Lucy Gray, Lee Solway, Phil Bean, Antonio Tombanane and Dr Margaret Nicholson.

Judges and sponsors of a business awards event which is all about people praised the resilience and ambition of nominees and urged employers to commit to greater collaboration as a route to improving skills.

Lee Solway, Director of Harrison Solway Logistics and a sponsor and judge of the Hull & East Yorkshire People in Business Awards (PIBA) spoke of the “inspirational” candidates and the difficulties in selecting the shortlists in readiness for the gala presentation night on Friday 1 July.

Colin Peaks, Principal of Wilberforce Sixth Form College in Hull, said he hopes the awards will send out a strong message about the importance of training and development to employers, and that they will respond by seizing the new opportunities offered by his team.

Lee was joined on the judging panel by IT and digital marketing specialist Phil Bean, Hull & East Yorkshire Careers Hub Enterprise Co-ordinator Lucy Gray, management consultant, developer and mentor Dr Margaret Nicholson, Marketing Humber Managing Director Diana Taylor, and Antonio Tombanane, founder of PIBA and Tech Week Humber and Managing Director of GBIT.

Lee said he decided to sponsor the awards to give something back to the city of Hull and to encourage others who are making their way in business, as he did 22 years ago.

He said: “As someone who owns their own business I was asked if I would be interested in joining the judging panel, and I decided to go for it. We had a fantastic day with people from different areas of business all bringing their experience to bear.

“The calibre of candidates was unbelievable and, in many cases, it was very difficult to whittle them down to a shortlist. There were some inspirational stories from businesses, some of them start-ups, sole traders, and retailers who opened and went straight into lockdown on the back of Covid – some real success stories for sure.

“It was fantastic to see the drive and ambition in people who have come out of the other side of it and are hopefully stronger as a result. It resonated with me because 22 years ago we took a gamble and bought a company that was losing in excess of half a million a year.
“We were written off from the outset but we believed in ourselves and we turned the business around. When I see people ‘have a go’ and new businesses succeed it makes the hairs on my neck stand up because I love the city of Hull and the surrounding areas. It’s where I’m from and a city I’m very proud of!”

Colin said his organisation stepped up to sponsor the awards as part of its drive to strengthen links with local and national businesses.

Colin said: “The variety of nominations and the line-up of sponsors shows how these awards are building a significant profile and attracting the attention of successful organisations in business, education and business support.

“We offer a wide range of A Level, T Level and BTEC qualifications that are supportive to upskilling people and we want employers to see that partnering with us can massively support our students with the knowledge and skill set they need for the future.

“T Levels in particular have been designed with employers, for employers. They are an alternative to A Levels and apprenticeships, they give young people the technical and practical skills needed to be an asset in the workplace and alongside our placements they offer a unique opportunity for employers to develop new talent and to help young people become work ready.”

The Hull & East Yorkshire People in Business Awards first took place in 2019 and returned in virtual format in 2021 when winners included sole traders and employees of businesses ranging from SMEs based in the Hull and Humber region to major players Cranswick and Reckitt.
The 2022 Hull & East Yorkshire People in Business Awards will be presented on Friday 1 July at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Hull. Entertainment at the awards night will be provided by top party band SoniQ Empires, who were previously known as the Tzars.