London’s Grosvenor House Hotel was transformed into a mini Las Vegas, complete with pyrotechnics and indoor fountain, as more than 700 of the industry’s finest embraced this year’s ‘Viva Print’ theme.
Awards host Rich Hall led proceedings, which were kicked off by Printweek editor Darryl Danielli who hailed all of this year’s shortlisted companies as the embodiment of this year’s theme.
As is fast becoming tradition, the biggest cheer of the night was for the Trainee of the Year, Precision Colour Printing’s Jayleigh Price, who took home the £2,000 Heidelberg bursary.
“For a second I thought I was going to cry,” said Price, who joined the business almost four years ago and has worked her way up to become a number one in sheetfed, with her sights now firmly set on the publication printer’s web presses.
Another tradition at the Awards is the prize draw in aid of The Printing Charity, which this year raised almost £5,000 with Picon events & admin manager Cathy Haywood taking home the £1,200 Virgin holiday voucher.
However, the main stage also played host to a number of firsts, with Environmental Company of the Year St Austell Printing Company being one of a number of first-time entrants to take home a coveted PrintWeek Prism at the first time of asking.
Marketing and communications manager Matt Bunt said the business was “over the moon” with the win.
“Although we’re very successful at what we do, we’re a relatively small family-run printing company from Cornwall and it means the world to us that we’ve been recognised in this way and that we’re able to continue to try and put Cornwall on the map in terms of print and manufacturing.
Asif Choudry, sales and marketing director at Resource was equally chuffed after being crowned SME of the Year: “It’s always great to get an award, especially one of this caliber. We’re delighted; it’s fantastic to get this big accolade.
“Our success is down to our people, drive, and our visionary MD Phil Thompson who has pushed us with acquisitions, driving performance and efficiency, and ultimately profitability as well.”
However, last word goes to Paul Manning, managing director of Printweek’s Company of the Year, Rapidity, who led an MBO at the London-headquartered family business with his brother Ben five years ago.
“We’re proof that an MBO can work: we did a thing, we ignored Brexit, we invested in stuff, we bought a company [Lefa Print] and it all paid off,” said Paul Manning.
Since the brothers bought the business in 2014 from their dad Leslie, who was in attendance last night to proudly bear witness to their triumph, they have set it on a course of sustainable growth through diversification, M&A and organic growth.
“I can’t believe it. I feel like if we can win something like this, then maybe the future of print isn’t just massive £80m-plus-turnover companies. But maybe I’m being ridiculous,” said Manning.
“But there are many printers out there, just like us, that are adding value, looking after their customers and this is for all of us. I can’t help but wonder if the future of the industry is businesses that add value and are smaller, or maybe this is a one-off.
“All I really know is that we were up against some truly amazing businesses tonight, so to win this is really special. The team can’t believe it, for my 60 staff this is much more than a trophy, it really is unbelievable.”
Scroll down for the full list of winners or click here to see the category-by-category write-ups, and to register your interest in the 2020 PrintWeek Awards, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 Award winners
Post-press Company of the Year
Sponsored by Intelligent Finishing Systems
WINNER: Curtis Packaging (Specialist Finishing Division)