Business Excellence Awards Business Leader of the Year 2017

Who gets your vote as the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards – Business Leader of the Year 2017?

Thank you to everyone who voted.

The winner will be announced on Friday 3rd of November at the Business Excellence Awards.



Ron Hastings, Partner Hastings Property Shop
Brought up in Glasgow, my first job as a lawyer was in Dumfries where I met my wife, Helen, before moving to the Scottish Borders in 1984 to head up the family side of a Kelso practice, later becoming a partner.

In 1998, I left to set up my own firm in Kelso and a few years later branched out into property and grew the business intent on providing a dynamic, pro-active property and legal service to clients and an estate agency focusing on promoting the Borders as a great place to live, work and play.

I believe Borders property is unique, regardless of size, style or price and deserves a service that defines its unique selling points with outstanding photography and presentation to suit. Key to our success has been the ability to grow from within and imbue staff with the same level of commitment and determination not just to meet, but exceed, clients’ expectations.

My vision for the future is to embrace change, build on our existing strengths, and fully develop further opportunities that present themselves in the Borders as the market for delivering legal and property services opens up to forward-thinking providers. I am confident that the future is in the safe hands of our whole team, partners and staff – without whom our progress would not have been possible.

Whatever we do as a business has to make us proud of our achievements and I believe we are on that path. My legacy, I hope, will be to see the firm continue to grow and serve the Borders.



John Henderson, Owner, Born in the Borders Brewery
I founded Born in the Borders Brewery in January 2011. The brewery created real ale using barley from the family farm on which it is based. The brewery’s ales now feature in over 250 pubs from St Andrews in the North to Darlington in the South, and its bottles have won placements in ALDI.

The “plough-to- pint” ethos behind the company has firmly established it as a major player on the Scottish micro-brewing scene and led to the launch of a provenance-based visitor centre in 2014. The company has also taken over the running of a pub in nearby Ancrum, and launched 2 new cafes along the Borders Railway. Turnover across the group is now approx £1M, and the company has won Visit Scotland Thistle Awards for innovation, Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards for local sourcing, SIBA awards for its beers and Scottish Creative Awards for its marketing.

I am also a Board Member of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Chairman of the Scottish.

Borders Food and Drink Network, Vice Chair of the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership, and sit on the steering group of the Midlothian and Borders Tourism Action Group. In 2015, I won Visit Scotland’s Regional Ambassador award for the Lothian and Borders Region.

Prior to founding Born in the Borders, I worked as a Creative Director in advertising.



Alistair Cameron–Managing-Director-Scotmas-Ltd

Alistair Cameron – Managing Director, Scotmas Group Ltd
Scotmas Group was founded by Derek Cameron and his family in order to capitalise on 30 years’ experience in water treatment, hygiene and environmental care technologies.  Today, Scotmas remains a family-owned business working to improve the performance and environmental management standards of all our clients.

Scotmas Group manufactures a wide range of innovative and effective products for water treatment, hygiene and environmental care. Best known for its extensive range of chlorine dioxide systems, the company is now actively involved in developing microbial biotechnology, insect repellents, insecticidal textiles and consumer product ingredients.

Working in a number of exacting fields – such as the offshore oil industry, manufacture of biocides used for food contact and water treatment for healthcare establishments – requires the very highest quality and performing systems.

I have worked in the family business since before I can remember!  School holidays, evenings and many weekends were spent helping out with everything from sweeping floors to maintaining the IT and phone systems.  After studying at St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow, I went on to Edinburgh University to gain a BSc Hons in Microbiology, always the natural choice considering my future career at Scotmas. After several breaks to see the world and work in Bermuda, I returned to Scotland in 2001 to work in the family business full time.

Now as Managing Director of Scotmas Group, I have helped the business expand into a variety of industries and markets.

Headquartered in Kelso and with operations in Portugal, Turkey, Egypt, India and Chile, Scotmas is well placed to offer not only the right product, but also the experience and expertise to provide support when customers need it most.




Lynsey Graham, Station Director, Radio Borders
After completing a Communications degree at Queen Margaret’s University in Edinburgh in 2000, I started my first full-time job at The Scotsman Publications in Edinburgh.  After a year there, I returned to the Borders and started at Radio Borders as a Sales Executive in May 2001, becoming Sales Manager in 2003.  16 years later, I’m now Station Director and oversee the management of the station, weighted heavily to the commercial side of the business.

During this time, I have worked with hundreds of clients, including local and national businesses, and have developed some key events in the area including the Radio Borders Recruitment Fair and Big Bash. I’m also on the Board of Trustees for Radio Borders Cash for Kids, the official charity of Radio Borders, which provides a helping hand to disabled and disadvantaged children in the Borders and North Northumberland.  I’m also delighted to have recently become a Director of the Borders Book Festival.

Radio Borders launched in January 1990 and is a commercial radio station, broadcasting to the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland.   Radio Borders regularly broadcasts local news, weather and travel as well as sports coverage.  The station holds some of the highest listening figures (based on population) amongst all UK local radio stations.

We have nine staff, including a commercial team of three, plus, of course, presenters, a dedicated charity team of two plus a multi-media journalist and weekend sports team.

Recent awards have included the Arqiva Commercial Radio Gold Station of the Year both 2015 and 2016, Bauer Media 2016 Station of the Year and this year our Cash for Kids team was awarded the Bauer Media Team of the Year award.

Scotland and the Borders are amongst the most beautiful areas in the world.  My hope is for continued investment in the Borders.   It’s a wonderful place in which to live, work and bring up a family and continued investment can only strengthen the possibilities for business.


Helen Forsyth, Chief Executive, Berwickshire Housing Association
I was appointed Chief Executive of BHA in 2007, having been involved in housing associations and community regeneration since 1995. Previously, I spent seven years as Chief Executive of Edinvar Housing Association before becoming Director of Regeneration with Place for People for three years. I have worked in the health sector as well as social care, with refugees and in mental health.

I  chair the Strategic Transport  Board in the Borders and am on the Board of Resilient Scotland which provides grant and loan funding to social enterprises in 13 Scottish local authorities.

A common priority in the housing market is how to sustainably fund the construction of new homes for social rent.  My quest for innovative solutions to this question led to the creation of a community wind farm to help fund new affordable homes.  The Fishermen Three wind farm near Cockburnspath was launched in March 2017 and is the first wind farm to be developed by a UK housing association.  A joint venture between BHA and Community Energy Scotland, it will create revenue for BHA of around £20m over the next 25 years, enough to see 500 new homes built.

BHA has also developed new heating systems for our homes which reduce bills for our tenants.  700 of our homes have been fitted with PV solar panels while we have also introduced new insulation systems and have piloted the first heat batteries which have received positive feedback from tenants.

These investments in modern technology, I believe, set an example for other housing associations to follow. They create a reliable revenue stream while being of assistance to tenants. In this way, housing associations can actively improve the lives of their tenants and make a positive contribution to maintaining vibrant communities – which is surely one of the principal aims of the housing association movement.


Margaret Simpson MBE FRSA Director of Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber C.I.C.
My driving passion is a belief in the importance and relevance of the voluntary – or third – sector as a means to improve people’s lives and help them make a valuable contribution to society and the economy of local areas.

I have been lucky to have held a number of posts where I can put my belief into practice and provide a helping hand to people who need it to fulfil their potential.  Currently, I am Director of the Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber CIC (SBSEC CIC) which was founded in 2005 to provide a collective voice and focal point for the development of social enterprises in the Borders and offer support and advice for a range of local social enterprises.  Job creation and higher education opportunities for young people is a priority of our work: I am delighted that in the last 18 months we have managed to place more than 40 younger people in full-time employment or college and university.

I also run the Disabled Persons Housing Service in the Borders which I helped establish in 1997.  DPHS provides a one-stop-shop facility offering advice on all aspects of housing for people with a disability.

From 1998 to 2014, I was Chair of Borders Voluntary Care Voice which acts as the key care sector link between the local authority and the NHS in our region.  In addition, I am a director of AccessAble Borders CIC and in 2012 had the honour to be appointed as the Ambassador for Scotland for the ODI Disabled Persons User Led Organisations.

The voluntary sector matters.  My hope – and, indeed, my aim – is to ensure that its voice will be heard on an equal footing in the design and decision-making stages of service provision throughout the country.



















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