The third annual Docklands Business Awards was a fantastic night, celebrating Dublin’s Dockland business community at the Gibson Hotel on Thursday, 28th November. There were 32 shortlisted nominees in ten categories as well the Docklands’ Lifetime Achievement Award which was presented for the first time. The list of organisations represented on the night read like a who’s who of Dublin’s premier business hub. Accenture, Facebook, the Marker Hotel, State Street, Citi bank, A & L Goodbody, Beauchamps, Waterways Ireland, Dillon Eustace, the National College of Ireland, AIB IFSC Branch and the Dublin Port Company to name a few. These enterprises lead the big organisation pack across many of the Awards.
Hot on the heels of these multi-national corporations were the SMEs; Darmody Architects, IDEA, Johnny McElhinney & Co., Mail Boxes Etc, DCH Partners, Realex Payments, Dublin South East Training Centre, Dublin City Enterprise Board, Owen Reilly Property Consultants, Herb Street, Café Parigi, Core Media, Sense of Skin, Smart Wall Paint, and OptiWiFi.
Our friends in the Docklands hospitality sector were also well represented with the Gibson Hotel, Ely Bar & Brassiere IFSC, the Maldron Hotel, and the Marker Hotel Grand Canal Plaza. All nominees were in contention to take back to the office some of our city’s most unique, and reasonably priced, crystal ware.
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D., was the guest speaker on the night. Managing Director of IDEA and Chairman of the Docklands Business Fourm, Ciaran Flanagan, and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for A & L Goodbody, Sinead Smith, presented the awards in a lively tag team effort.
The first award of the night was the Docklands Innovator of the Year. Sense of Skin, Smart Wall Paint, OptiWiFi and Realex Fire were all in contention for this highly prestigious Award sponsored by Dublin City Enterprise Board. The Minister handed Realex Fire the heavy glass for their work in developing a new account that will transform the commercial transactions by mobile or web devices.
For the next award, the Business Forum Member of the Year sponsored by the Maldron Hotel. The nominees were Darmody Architects, DCH Partners, Mailboxes Etc and Johnny McElhinney & Co. Managing Director Nicholas Cloake collected the Award on behalf DCH Partners.
The MCs for the evening were getting into their rhythm by the time came to announce the third Award. The stiff competition for the Business of the Year Award, sponsored by IDEA, was between the Marker Hotel, Facebook, Accenture and State Street. With its global headquarters in the Docklands, Accenture took home the award for their efficiency, innovation, and employment creation.
Corporate Social Responsibility Award was announced, sponsored by Mail Boxes Etc. The nominees were A&L Goodbody, Core Media, DCH Partners and the National College of Ireland. A&L Goodbody won the Award for their outstanding contribution of resources to worthy causes in Education and Enterprise throughout the year.
The last Award to be presented before a break for the meal was the Environment Award, kindly sponsored by An Taisce. Waterways Ireland, Accenture and Citi all competed for the most politically correct of the nights Awards. Waterways Ireland, enthusiastically seized the crystal from the Ministers outstretched hands. They won the Award for the extensive improvements they made to the quality of the environment of Grand Canal Docks and Spencer Dock.
The Gibson gave flawless service with the buffet. The wine was flowing thanks to our friends at Mitchell & Son in CHQ. The rattle and hum of the meal peacefully died down as the ceremony resumed with the launch of the Docklands Business Forum Directory. Nicholas Cloake, Directory Editor explained that this Directory provides a window in time that illustrates, in a single document, the breath of the Docklands Business Forum’s commitment to the area and its ambitions for the same. IT provides a comprehensive account of the activities of the Forum, a listing of its members, articles of interest to those living and working in the Docklands and a wider listing of businesses in the area. ‘CONNECTIONS’, as the Directory is so aptly named, is a symbol of the recent efforts of the Forum to improve communication to both its members, Docklands stakeholders, and the wiser business community.
The presentation of the awards resumed with the Food Award, appropriately sponsored by Bord Bia. You could see the hunger in the eyes of nominee representatives from Ely Gastro Bar of Grand Canal Square, Herb Street, the Marker Hotel and Café Parigi. Una Fitzgibbons of Bord Bia presented the award to the Marker Hotel for its commitment to a modern interpretation of Irish food.
Vying for the Professional Service Award, sponsored by DCH Partners, were Owen Reilly Property Consultants, AIB IFSC Branch, IDEA and Beauchamps. The winner on the night was Owen Reilly Property Consultants, a fantastic entrepreneurial story of a property company set up in 2008. Owen O’Reilly himself was there to accept the award.
As the room began to buzz, with mostly friendly banter, it was noticed that the hotelier’s tables went quiet as the Docklands Hospitality Award nominees were announced. This Award was sponsored by the Convention Centre Dublin. Competing were the new Marker Hotel on Grand Canal Plaza, the Maldron Hotel Cardiff Lane, The Gibson Hotel, Jury’s Inn IFSC and the Clarion Hotel IFSC. The winner – Jury’s Inn IFSC, accepting the Awards was Patrick Cass, General Manager.
As the time approached 9.30pm the night was coming to a dramatic conclusion with the last three Awards of the evening. The Public Sector Award, sponsored by Johnny McElhinney & Co., was next up with the Dublin Port Company, Dublin City Enterprise Board, and Dublin South East Training Centre all in contention, the Winner – Dublin Port Company. Dublin Port Company have had a fantastic year with the arrival of the 100th cruise ship carrying Dublin Port’s one millionth cruise liner passenger.
The four companies vying for the Exporter of the Year Awards, sponsored by Dublin Port Company were Dillon Eustace, Facebook, State Street, and Realex Payments. The winner – Facebook, who won the Award as their 1.19billion monthly active users of this world leader in online social media are difficult to ignore. Facebook are one of the few truly revolutionary companies of our generation.
The closing Award of the evening was a first for the Docklands Business Awards, the Docklands Lifetime Achievement Award. There was no more suitable a candidate then for this award other than the creator of the Docklands himself, Harry Crosbie. With the construction of the Bord Gais Energy Theatre and the O2 arena to name a few, Harry Crosbie has transformed the Docklands from a veritable wasteland to a vibrant urban quarter with over 600 enterprises and 40,000 employees. As both an advocate of urban regeneration and visionary entrepreneur Harry Crosbie has made a most significant contribution to this remarkable transformation. His achievements are enduring and will long outlive the current tide. The guests were on their feet when Crosbie made his way to the podium to accept the award. It was inspiring to hear his words of determination to further develop the area. Proclaiming there is more work to be done, more residential buildings to be completed and more jobs to be created so that Docklands will achieve its mission to be the number one area to live and work in Europe.
The evening was a great success and closed with a thank you to all involved in its organisation. Particular thanks to Nicholas Cloake from DCH Partners for all the hard work he did on the design, artwork and communications, to Ciaran Flanagan from IDEA for all the work on the nights PowerPoint, to Johnny McElhinney from John McElhinney & Co. for looking after the accounts and invoicing. Thanks to Michael Harte from Mail Boxes Etc. for all the ringing around. To Sinead Smith for looking after the vote counting and doing the MC work on the night and Alan Robinson for getting sponsors, flogging tickets and generally being the events manager and chief bottle washer.