Big night for Ballarat business at Excellence Awards

September 5, 2019 BY

The team from R & J Batteries. Photos: CHIPPY RIVERA

FROM Pilates practitioners to legal eagles, cinemas to barber shops, modern Asian on Mair Street to coffee and cake by the lake, business owners and employees gathered at the Federation Business School Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards to celebrate endeavour and to applaud excellence.

“Building business excellence in our business community is very important,” Jodie Gillett CEO of Commerce Ballarat said. “It means that our businesses are striving to be the best which keeps dollars in our city.

Professor Christina Lee, Dean of Federation Business School, said the Awards highlight successful Ballarat businesses

“We have seen many businesses over the years who were finalists or winners of an award go on to collaborate or expand and employ more people.”

Businesses who entered any of the 15 award categories had to lodge a written application and undergo a visit from the adjudicating panel.

Michael Duffin, Judging Chair, said all the judges are independent of Federation Business School and Commerce Ballarat.

“We are committed to a fair process and it is very rewarding to see such high-quality entrants,” he said. “Site visits are critical in the judging process as we get to see and experience the achievements and the passion of the business owners first hand.”

Professor Christina Lee, Federation Business School’s Dean said the awards demonstrate the level of professionalism and enterprise within the business community.

The judging process encourages them to undertake improvement and to prosper.

“The Business School enjoys this collaboration with Commerce Ballarat because we also contribute to the training and the upskilling of employees, businesses and entrepreneurs in Ballarat,” Professor Lee said.

“We have a program called Work Integrated Learning where students can work with local businesses, so they learn best business practices

“Our MBA program can help owners innovate and think creatively like an entrepreneur and help solve business problems.”

The Business Excellence Awards showcase how serious the City of Ballarat is in drawing people and enterprise to the city, Professor Lee said.

The program also provides an opportunity for benchmarking.

“It is important how we fare against other business in other areas,” she said.

“Success and creativity can come through self-reflection and self-discovery.

“There is an increased sense of community pride and confidence when local businesses are doing their best.”


Stuart Hamilton, R & J Batteries General Manager

Federation Business School Business of the Year

R & J Batteries

“It is a massive honour to accept the Business of the Year award on behalf of R & J Batteries. The origins of our story typify the hard work that the founders and our team do. It is what makes this family owned business a success. It is a wonderful feeling. It is affirmation of the hard work that Ray Robson, our founder and Managing Director does and that we are doing ok and will continue to do so. Winning Business of the Year gives us a lot of pride. We will celebrate it. It’s a morale booster for everyone.” – Stuart Hamilton.



Kay Macaulay with her family

Commerce Ballarat Business Achievement Award

Kay Macaulay

“I am now retired so it’s nice to receive recognition for the work I did in the past. In the family owned manufacturing businesses, often mum does all the behind the scenes work and dad is the hands-on technical person. Some young people don’t see manufacturing as a career pathway, however there are lots of jobs in manufacturing not only on the shop floor. There are many opportunities in areas such as HR, accounting and IT. I think all of our potential leaders need to focus on what they want to do and excel at everything they want to do.” – Kay Macaulay.


Melissa Diamond

Nevett Ford Lawyers – Events and Attractions Business Award

Kryal Castle

“what a delight! I am honoured to receive this award and I am so proud of how far our team have come in the past three years which have been really challenging. Two and a half years ago we had two full time staff. Now we have a total of 70. All our Trip Advisor reviews are all about our team spirit. This is really overwhelming. We have been working on a lot of new plans that are now ready to be launched. We will be flying in the coming school holidays and we look forward to continuing to grow.” – Melissa Diamond.


Tamara Wighton and Lorelei Wright

Ballarat Times News Group – Health and Wellbeing Business Award

Implexa Allied Health Services

“We were so proud just to be nominated after only three years in business. We are such a young company and when you are up against companies who have been around for 20 years, we were just happy to be a nominee. We are proud of our achievements and of our clients who inspire us by what they have to overcome. It is validation for all the work that we have been doing, all the extra hours and extra training that we have put into our team. We were so excited about Implexa’s future when our name was read out.” – Tamara Wighton and Lorelei Wright.


Andrew Burke

Central Highlands Water – Trade Business Award

Portable Buildings by Design

“It is hard to put into words how we feel. We have been recognised for the work in our business and this is such a privilege for a first-time nominee. When we first started there were many times that we thought we would lose the business. It was tough but we stuck at it and together we worked hard to grow it to where we are now. I can’t believe that we are here. I have to say that behind every great man there is a great woman, no doubt Wendy , if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here tonight.” – Andrew Burke and Wendy Farquhar.


Alex Lemon, Rebecca Lewis and Frank Dyer

Matchworks – Retail Business Award

Ballarat Car Sales

“It means the world to win this award and to be recognised in a group of amazing people with incredible businesses is such an honour. We have been nominated twice before and I am overwhelmed to accept this award tonight. I am so proud of Ballarat Car Sales, of what we do and what we have achieved. We promised ourselves when we started that we would only sell cars that we would sell to our own family. I want to thank Matchworks and the judges for their time and expertise and a very big thank you to our incredible team.” Rebecca Lewis.


Kellie Roscoe with the Academy of Classical Ballet team

Federation Business School – Creative Industries Business Award

The Academy of Classical Ballet

“I am very excited to win this award. It means to us that all our hard work, commitment and dedication to try and deliver the best service has actually been acknowledged. We believe we are offering something wonderful to the community so tonight makes it feel like it has all been worthwhile. People can now see that what we are providing quality and excellence. We were fortunate to be finalists last year. We learnt from the experience. We have tried even harder to better ourselves and do more improvements to our business. And happily, this year it has paid off.” – Kellie Roscoe.


The team from Chris Packer & Associates

Ballarat Volkswagen – Professional Service Business Award

Chris Packer & Associates

“We are absolutely thrilled. Being a business that has been able to contribute to the business community for 26 years, it’s just amazing to win this award. As a small business ourselves we are thrilled to be supporting other small businesses. This is our third time as finalists and we are now very proud first-time winners. I think this award strengthens our standing in the community as a business services provider and also acknowledges the professionalism that we deliver to our clients. We are delighted that a number of our clients who entered an application are here tonight as finalists.” – Linda Packer.


Katrina Whittle and Dan Cronin.

City of Ballarat – Restaurants, Cafes, Pubs Business Award

The Western Hotel

“Winning this award means a lot to us. It shows that the hard work we put in behind the scenes really pays off and we hope that makes us sustainable in the future. Hospitality in Ballarat is in fantastic hands. With the other two business nominated being run by really devoted people, we didn’t expect to take out the top prize. Pubs have been the heart of Ballarat for a long time. It’s where you celebrate, commiserate and commemorate. Our point of difference is our fantastic team, we won this award in 2014, so we must be doing things right.” – Dan Cronin.


Madeleine and Mark Witham

Power FM – Small Business Award

The Little Cupcake Ballarat

“We are excited. What this award means is a recognition of our hard work, day in and day out. It is the fact that our customers make our business. We get so much love, joy and feedback from them and that’s why we do what we do. Sure, we have to pay the bills and we are a business at the end of the day. But it’s definitely a two-way street always. What we get from our customers and the joy on their faces when they come to pickup a cake they love, it makes it all the more worthwhile.” – Madeleine Witham.


Kassie and Andrew Blaszak.

Ballarat Technology Park – Innovation Award


“This award is going to give us even more drive, to keep doing what we believe in. We’ve always had a passion for what we do. We know that we are a dying industry. There are not many of us around. I think Andrew and myself are the youngest knitwear manufacturers in Australia. It has given us more push to keep creating, designing, innovating and making sure that we stay on top of things to keep knitwear manufacturing here in this country. We were lucky to be finalists in two categories and to win one as first timers is amazing.” – Kassie Blaszak.


The team from Showbiz Cinemas Ballarat.

The WIN Network – New and Emerging Business Award

Showbiz Cinemas Ballarat

“Taking home this award means the world to me and the business. After two years of long hard work this is recognition of the effort that the whole team has put in. I am extraordinarily thankful to our staff who have really made this happen. Thanks to my fellow business owners and our team who shared with me the faith to expand into the Ballarat market. We knew it would work. Congratulations to the other nominees. At the end of the day being a finalist in itself was the big tick. Being announced the winner is the cream on top.” – Chris Jones.


The team from 3BA.

Ballarat Foundation – Community Impact Award


“You may not believe this but I’m lost for words. I am humbled to be accepting this award tonight. It is validation for what our team does every day. It’s just what we do. It’s recognition of Peter Caligari’s legacy here in Ballarat. He has laid the foundation and the culture of the organisation. The other finalists, Musket and Bayonet run an incredibly important program through Headspace called Arts in Armour, while McDonald’s do so much sponsorship and support of the community that I hadn’t even contemplated that we would win. To be recognised amongst those two is truly stunning.” – John Fitzgibbon.


Carmen and Brett Masterson

Regional Development Australia – Grampians – Eat Drink West Award

Springmount Fine Foods

“We are a fairly new business so to win this award gives us credibility in the field that we are working in. It proves that we are on the right track and that our products are well recognised. We didn’t even imagine that we would be finalists. To be honest we almost didn’t fill in the application. It took three weeks. The whole time we thought it was a waste of time because we didn’t stand a chance. Our biggest challenge was getting 11 pages down to five. We are so passionate about our business we waffle all the time.” – Carmel and Brett Masterson.


The team from R & J Batteries.

Ballarat Community Health – Customer Service Award

R & J Batteries

“When we look at the other businesses who were finalists with us in this category it was such a surprise to win this award. I am truly humbled to accept this on behalf of Ray and Rhonda Robson, the owners and founders of R&J Batteries. Well done to the 26 people who make up the best team in Ballarat. It is affirmation that we work hard and deliver fantastic customer service. It will be great to go back to the team in the Ballarat office tomorrow and say ‘well done everyone.’ This is what all your hard work has delivered.” – Stuart Hamilton.


Karingal Flooring Xtra’s team.

Mercure Ballarat Hotel & Convention Centre – Franchise Buying Group Business Award

Karingal Flooring Xtra

“I feel great about winning this award. To our small and dedicated team thank you for what you do every day. This award is just as much for you as it is for the business. It is great receiving the recognition for how hard we work every day and what we deliver on our goals on a daily basis. I think it is definitely going to open our business up to a wider community with regards to who we are and what we do. We know we have a business that is growing and is a really good franchise model.”Matthew Sheehan.


Dr Megan May.

BGT Jobs & Training – Young Business Person of the Year

Dr Megan May, Eureka Osteo

“To me personally winning this award is recognition for all the hard work that has gone into building Eureka Osteo into the business that it is today. It is great to be recognised for the high standard we set and the wonderful team that we have and the leadership we have shown within in health care in Ballarat. I am very excited about this unexpected honour. I never planned on being a business woman but it’s inspiring to go to work each day. Congratulations to Amanda and Dannielle. To have three women as finalists is a great compliment to Ballarat.” – Dr Megan May.