Hunter Medical Research Institute chairman Kyle Loades and Carrington signage company Hi-Vis take top honours in 2018 Hunter Business Chamber awards

Accolade: Hunter Medical Research Institute chairperson Kyle Loades has been named Businessperson of the Year by the Hunter Business Chamber. Picture: Simone De Peak
Accolade: Hunter Medical Research Institute chairperson Kyle Loades has been named Businessperson of the Year by the Hunter Business Chamber. Picture: Simone De Peak

SELF-MADE businessman turned corporate high flyer Kyle Loades has been named Business Leader of 2018 at the Hunter Business Chamber’s annual gala awards night.

Mr Loades, the chairperson of Hunter Medical Research Institute Chairperson, former chair of the NRMA and founder of Auto Advantage, received the honour before more than 500 people at the event, now in its 40th year.

Chamber chief executive officer Bob Hawes said Mr Loades had distinguished himself as a passionate ambassador for the region. 

“Our leaders and businesses continue to demonstrate the high standard of capability, resilience and innovation that the Hunter has become renowned for,” Mr Hawes said.

The other big honour, the President’s Award, went to Carrington-based, national signage and safety products manufacturer Hi-Vis.

“Hi-Vis has grown … in what is a highly competitive international market and successfully designed and patented products which are not only iconic but have demonstrably saved lives,” said Chamber president Jonathan Vandervoort said.

Hi-Vis is owned by brothers Brett and Simon Watson, who took over the sign-writing business started by their father Brian Watson in 1959.

Ten years ago, 60% of the company’s income came from the RTA but the company has diversified and works with the mining, road transport, education, health care and other sectors.  

Kyle Loades receiving the Business Leader of the Year award at the 2018 Hunter Business Chamber awards. Picture: Andrew Monger

Kyle Loades receiving the Business Leader of the Year award at the 2018 Hunter Business Chamber awards. Picture: Andrew Monger

Construction company SEHEZ Group won the award for Excellence in Small Business (-20) and innovative electrical and electronic engineering company Ampcontrol won the Excellence in Business (20+) award. 

Brett Watson accepting the President's Award at the Hunter Business Chamber. Picture: Andrew Monger.

Brett Watson accepting the President's Award at the Hunter Business Chamber. Picture: Andrew Monger.

Newcastle Permanent’s Prue McPherson was named the Kristen Keegan Young Business Executive, with Annie Jiang, Deputy Head of College at Novaskill, highly commended. Lisa Andrews, founder and COO of Ignite Alliance, was named Young Entrepreneur. The Start Up Superstar award went to Gymnastics 21.

The Local Chamber of Commerce Award was presented to Tomaree Business Chamber while veteran legal firm Sparke Helmore won the Contribution to the Region award.

The Excellence in Innovation award was given to Compass Housing while Allambie Care received the judge’s nod for Excellence in Social Enterprise.

The Excellence in Sustainability award went to Port Waratah Coal Services, which also won Outstanding Employer of Choice award.

 Lake Macquarie City Council and BIG4 Koala Shores Holiday Park were joint winners of the Love Water Love Business award. 

Training group company Novaskill was presented the Excellence in Export award.

The award winners will now contest the state awards, hosted by the NSW Business Chamber, later in the year.