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Belfast Telegraph | May 1 2018

Record entries showing exceptional achievement


THINK it speaks volumes that this year, the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards, in partnership with Ulster Bank, re-

ceived a record level of entries. It demonstrates that not only is there exceptional work taking place in our business community but that companies are increasingly aware of the importance of showcasing the calibre of what they do in order to further develop and grow. And it was with great pleasure that I looked at the shortlist of outstanding companies across sectors including IT, food and drink, healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality and others. They all deserve the profile and recognition that goes with their involvement in the awards. Being on the judging panel was an inspiring experience. We had a really strong mix and diverse range of submissions

from firms that have an excellent and well-executed strategy and those who are truly competing and winning well in their market places and delivering real value for their business and for Northern Ireland. What was also really encouraging was to see how many had built their success on overcoming adversity. It is also inspiring to see some of the great things companies have been doing to support their employees in this year’s new category, Excellence in Workplace Health and Well-being. This is something that is important to Ulster Bank and reflects our partnership with the mental health and wellbeing charity AWARE,

and we are delighted that over £3,200 was raised for the charity through the generosity of those attending the Business Awards. Being shortlisted for the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards is something to be proud of, and winning an award is a sign of quality and provides significant profile to market your business to both new and existing customers. It can also be a great morale booster for staff and a way of attracting and retaining the best talent for your workforce. The awards also champion an entrepreneur-friendly culture, are welcoming of new ideas and positive about local enterprise. So, they play a very important role

supporting companies, businesses and the economy. I extend my thanks to the judging chair, John Simpson, deputy chair, Joanne Stuart, and the other members of the judging panel, who play such a key role in making these awards a success. They are all truly successful business people and supporters of our economy in their own right and their expertise and commitment is very much appreciated. It was a pleasure to work with them. I know there will be some finalists who will be disappointed that they didn’t top their respective categories. But I can genuinely say that, in this record year for entries, we had an

incredibly high standard, and I urge you all to keep up the fantastic work.

Richard Donnan is Ulster Bank Head of Northern Ireland

The life of a catalyst for NI innovation is recognised Lifetime Achievement DrNormanApsley


Dr Norman Apsley received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank Head of Northern Ireland (right) and Richard McClean, Managing Director of Independent News and Media (NI)

HE Lifetime Achievement Award this year was awarded to Dr Norman Apsley for his contribution to the business world in Northern Ireland, specifically to science and economic development. Dr Apsley, the chief executive of Catalyst Inc, a notfor-profit investment organisation building on entrepreneurship has an illustrious career that spans academia, government bodies and corporations. Over the last 18 years he has developed and grown this organisation which is widely recognised as one of the best examples of its type across Europe.

And in recent months his work received a regal endorsement when the Science Park welcomed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to its campus, where entrepreneurs shared their stories and products. Dr Aspley’s contribution to his field also earned him an OBE in 2012. An advocate of the talent and ambition of local innovators and inventors, his focus has been unashamedly on the development and growth of what we term the Knowledge Economy - one built upon innovation, entrepreneurship and intellectual capital. A leading business figure both across the UK and further afield, Dr Apsley is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. And as chair of the Education Expert Group he has collaboratively developed a longer term vision of qualifications here, bringing diverse stakeholders together. Speaking about being rewarded the esteemed accolade Dr Norman Apsley OBE said: “It is with a feeling of honour and humbleness to receive this award. You can’t do anything on your own and I am fortunate to have amassed a team of really brilliant people in support of the cause of Catalyst Inc and this award is as much for them as for me. Also Jacqui, my wife, has been an anchor especially through the difficult times. I have to confess we are delighted.”

Outstanding business of the year has ‘got the lot’ Overall Business of the Year Novosco


UTSTANDING Business of the Year Award, the ultimate accolade at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards went to IT firm, Novosco. A homegrown success story, Novosco has developed innovative solutions to help businesses become better and more efficient. While it has seen massive growth with huge contracts won in Great Britain, its roots are firmly placed in Northern Ireland and it is committed to growing

and supporting local employment. Its CSR efforts are to be commended, said judges who praised Novosco’s commitment to its own staff, setting a benchmark for others to aspire to. Leadership in the team has steered the company to phenomenal success, with one judge saying “it has got the lot”. This was the second award for the company, based in the Titanic Quarter. It also took away the award for IT Company of the Year. The IT cloud services firm, which can count major UK housing associations and NHS bodies among its clients as well as over 40 of Northern Ireland’s top 100 companies has reported growth in turnover that is testament to its success in a thriving sector. Its acquisition of security specialist NetDef for £2m in 2016 has also added weight to the company’s success. Managing director Patrick McAliskey said: “Winning IT Company of the Year made our night, but going on to win Outstanding Business of the Year as well was fantastic. “To hear some of the judges’ comments was so pleasing and gives us such encouragement in what we are doing at Novosco. “Winning the awards is very important to us. Northern Ireland is our home market.”

Gary Parkinson and Susan Hill from Novosco collected the Outstanding Business of the Year from Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank Head of Northern Ireland, Margaret Canning, Belfast Telegraph Business Editor, and Gail Walker, Belfast Telegraph Editor

May 1 2018 | Belfast Telegraph


From left, Richard McClean, Independent News and Media (NI) Managing Director, Ulster Bank Head in NI Richard Donnan, Dr Joanne Stuart, Director of Catalyst Inc, Belfast Telegraph Editor Gail Walker and Catalyst Inc Chief Executive Norman Apsley

Back row: Damien Duffy, Director of Development, Belfast Metropolitan College; John Hansen, Partner in charge, KPMG Northern Ireland; Barry Quinn, Professor of Retail Marketing at Ulster University Front row: Richard Donnan, Head of NI, Ulster Bank; Tanya Anderson, head of SME development at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Development; Economist, Professor John Simpson; Kirsty McManus, Director at the Institute of Directors; Colin Stutt, social enterprise expert

Striving for success regardless of challenges


AWARE was the charity partner for the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank and over £3,200 was raised for the depression charity through the generosity of those attending the event. Those who donated were entered into a draw to win prizes including tops signed by undefeated featherweight boxer Michael Conlan, as well as former Ireland rugby captain Paul O’Connell and head coach of the Grand Slam winning Ireland rugby team Joe Schmidt. A voucher for Victoria Square and Karma from Argento jewellery stack were also won on the night and presented to winners by Gordon Davidson, relationship manager, Ulster Bank (third from left)

T’S the most eagerly-anticipated night in the Northern Ireland business calendar — and this year, around 350 of the brightest and best gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast for the 2018 Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Uls ter Bank. It’s the second year in which Belfast Telegraph has been proud to join forces with Ulster Bank to champion the achievements of Northern Ireland’s business world. Companies and businesspeople from around Northern Ireland were honoured in a total of 15 categories. From lauding the achievements of Catalyst Inc chief executive Norman Apsley in building the former Northern Ireland Science Park into a powerhouse of innovation, to recognising the success of a start-up company like Copeland


Margaret Canning and Emma Deighan at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards

Nigel Dodds MP, Lorraine Higgins of Retail Ni and Michelle O’Neill, MLA

HERE’S no question that the panel of distinguished judges had a difficult task on their hands as they sifted through a record number of entries to find the winners. But they proved themselves more than fit for the task. Economist John Simpson was chairman of the panel, while Joanne Stuart, director of development at Catalyst Inc, was deputy chairperson. The chairman and deputy chairperson were joined by Richard Donnan, head of Northern Ireland for title sponsor, Ulster Bank. Social enterprise specialist Colin Stutt was also on the panel, joined by Damien Duffy, director of development at Belfast Metropolitan College, John Hansen, partner in

Spirits, the awards recognised a vast range of business talent. The night was hosted by BBC journalist and presenter of Radio Ulster’s Inside Business, Wendy Austin. Representing the world of politics were North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds, and Sinn Fein Deputy Leader and West Tyrone MLA Michelle O’Neill. T he audience was entertained by Ciaran Nolan and Gerard Jordan of Balloon Factory Productions. Neil Gibson, chief economist at EY Ireland, delivered an address, and commented on the upbeat economic message he drew from the success of the night’s winners and finalists. But he commented that he

charge, KPMG Northern Ireland and Barry Quinn, professor of retail marketing at Ulster University. Tanya Anderson, head of SME development at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Development and Kirsty McManus, Director at the Institute of Directors, also lent their expertise to the judging process as members of the panel. Mr Simpson said the standard and number of entries have been steadily increasing over the years. "Many businesses have interesting stories to tell. Across Northern Ireland there are many examples of enterprising businesses which are willing to talk about what they have been doing and where there have been new success stories, or rebuilt success stories, that are earning the

founded the continuing lack of an Executive in Northern Ireland “heartbreaking”. But Mr Gibson observed that businesses would keep making progress regardless of the political situation facing them, including Brexit and the lack of a powersharing Executive. He said: “Focusing on success presents a pleasant change of pace for an economist. The very evident challenges that continue to constrain Northern Irish growth are clearly not holding back all firms. “The business awards were full of wonderful examples of growth and success across the broadest possible range of sectors. “Interestingly, business conversations with many of the winners reflected a message coming through clearly in 2018 across corporate boardrooms, namely that businesses need to act now and not be paralysed by the fears that future uncertainty may bring.”

rewards for their efforts. "Reading about the way in which different businesses describe their routes to better results and successful trading is one of the pleasures of being a judge for the Business Awards competition. All the written submissions were circulated to the ever-critical eyes of the nine judges who had to agree when choosing the award winners. "Each year the Business Awards attract attention from a large audience. “Amongst the short-list (and also the winners) there are many new names and new faces. The mixture of new names interwoven with other well-known names gives a reassuring picture of a diverse, modern and progressive business world."


Belfast Telegraph | May 1 2018

Success is theme for street furniture exports

The Excellence in Exporting award, sponsored by Crowne Plaza Belfast, was presented by the hotel’s general manager George Graham (right) to Alan Lowry, managing director of Environmental Street Furniture. They were joined by the evening’s host, BBC presenter Wendy Austin

Excellence in Exporting Environmental Street Furniture


UTDOOR furniture specialist, Environmental Street Furniture won this year’s Excellence in Exporting category, sponsored by Crowne Plaza Belfast. The Newtownabbey business designs and supplies exterior street furniture products and exports to 22 countries. Customers include some of the world’s biggest theme parks and it also offers innovative solar powered products to charge mobile devices. It has seen 50% export growth

to international markets and 30% growth in the ROI and UK markets. No stranger to welcoming awards, ESF took Product of the Show Award for their new ‘Stellar Bench’, at Innovate 2017 in Birmingham. Speaking about winning Excellence in Exporting, Alan Lowry of ESF said: “It’s fantastic to win recognition for what we do. It’s been a very busy year and we’re going to be even busier this year as we do work in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, America and the Middle East.”

OTHER FINALISTS Copius Group Mackle Pet Foods Safety Solutions NI Ltd Statsports Group

Mascott is symbol of investment in people

Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership Mascott


ONSTRUCTION firm Mascott was crowned winner of Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership, sponsored by Asda. After entering administration in 2016, Mascott was acquired by M&M Contractors and

Mascott won the Excellence in the Development of Management and Leadership award, sponsored by Asda. Kirsty Semple, people trading manager at Asda, presented the award to Michael Edwards from Mascott

set out to establish a strong leadership team to rebuild the brand’s credibility and steer the business to success. Individual staff reviews are conducted by the CEO, over £3,000 is invested in training each employee and senior leaders have completed year-long courses to learn best practice.

Michael Edwards of Mascott said: “We are delighted to have won this award and its is an endorsement of the commitment, as a company, that we’ve put in over the past year.” It has carried out major construction contracts, including the headquarters of Mount Charles.

OTHER FINALISTS GLL Henderson Foodservice Henry Brothers Ltd

May 1 2018 | Belfast Telegraph


How mushroom firm became top innovators

Excellence in Innovation Northway Mushrooms


HE award for Excellence in Innovation, sponsored by Copius Group, was presented to Northway Mushrooms. In collaboration with its growers, the Co Tyrone company has invested £25m in an innovative new facility which will be the first of its kind in the UK when it opens later this year.

Northway Mushrooms won the Excellence in Innovation award, sponsored by Copius Group. Cathy McCorry, commercial director, Copius, presented the award to Niall McKenna, vice-chair of Northway Mushrooms (left) and Frank Donnelly, chairman of Northway Mushrooms

As well as neutralising odours, specialist technology will enable the compost to be the highest quality on the market, allowing growers the opportunity to reach new markets. A producer organisation representing 27 mushroom growers, marketing 17,500 tonnes of mushrooms each year, the firm was established in 2000.

Speaking about the win, Frank Donnelly, chairman of Northway Mushrooms, said: “We are thrilled to bits. “This award is accepted on behalf of all our growers, workers and staff at Northway. We are looking forward to growing the business with our new compost project.”

OTHER FINALISTS Almac Group & Arran CPS Property Greenacre Innovations Ltd LF Fasthouse Ltd Statsports Groups

Campaign for baby device has star quality

Best Use of Digital/ Social Media Digital 24/Babocush


EST Use of Digital and/or Social Media Award, sponsored by Saville Audio Visual, was awarded to Digtial 24 for its work on the Babocush, a device to help babies suffering from colic. Digital 24 effectively communicated a key message to desperate parents with colicky babies on behalf

Digital 24/Babocush won Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media sponsored by Saville Audio Visual. Cara Pennell, office manager, Saville Audio Visual presented the award to Niamh Taylor, Kelly Neill, Carolyn Henderson, Kirsty Nixon and Kerry Grugan from Digital 24.

of its client Babocush with its campaign – ‘Do this to stop your baby from crying’ which went viral. As well as 200 million Facebook video views the product received online endorsement from celebrities including Ashton Kutcher. The website crashed with the increased traffic and stock immediately sold out. Digital 24 provides a complete marketing package

to clients including PPC, SEO, email marketing, affiliate marketing, social media, content marketing and filmmaking and photography. Digital 24’s Kerrie Grugan said: “We are absolutely over the moon to win one of the most prestigious awards in our business. We are delighted for our client and all the success they’ve achieved to date.”


Eurospar NI/Henderson Group Galgorm Resort & Spa Lighthouse Communications The Transfer Tutor


Belfast Telegraph | May 1 2018

Fast-growing food firm chief is at top of game

Young Business Person of The Year Gareth Chambers, Around Noon

Gareth Chambers won Young Business Person of the Year, sponsored by Outsource Solutions. Terry Moore, CEO of Outsource Solutions presented the award, joined by host Wendy Austin


HE Young Business Person of the Year category, sponsored by Outsource Solutions, went to Gareth Chambers of Around Noon. Gareth is the chief executive of Newry-based food-to-go manufacturer, Around Noon – a Sunday Times Fast Track 100 company. Under his direction, Around Noon has increased turnover every year since 2012 and is responsi-

ble for over 300 employees in Newry and GB. In 2016, Gareth managed the acquisition of Sweet Things bakery which was quickly followed by the acquisition of the London-based Chef in a Box in 2017. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win, even being shortlisted was an honour. There are some fantastic business people so it’s great to have been chosen.”

OTHER FINALISTS Cathal Grant (CGDM Construction) Declan Murdock (AJC Group) Gareth Irvine (Copeland Spirits) Paul Lawther (Onecom)

Win is ‘amazing’ accolade for cloud provider

Gary Parkinson, Susan Hill and Dominic O’Neill from Novosco accepted the IT Company of the Year award, sponsored by Jobfinder, from Sarah Little, commercial director of the Belfast Telegraph

IT Company/Team of the Year Novosco


HE award for IT company of the year, sponsored by NIjobfinder, went to Novosco. The Belfast firm employs 180 and provides IT infrastructure and cloud services to both public and private organisations. It won a major contract in 2017 - a £10m deal with one of the UK’s largest housing associations, Notting Hill Housing. It has also provided ground-breaking IT infra-

structure to Liverpool Women’s Hospital to support newborn genetic screening. It has delivered services to mid-market organisations in the UK and Ireland for the past 20 years and is at the forefront of its industry. Managing director Patrick McAliskey said: “The IT market in NI is incredibly competitive with many world-class companies, so to win IT Company of the Year is something that we are very proud of, particularly as it was the second year in a row.

“Our team is very dedicated and hardworking, providing services to some of the biggest and best known businesses and organisations.”


Foods Connected Liberty IT Outsource Solutions (NI) Ltd Salt DNA

May 1 2018 | Belfast Telegraph


Wardens is our first ever retailer of the year

Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, presented the Retailer of the Year award to Keith Irvine of Warden Bros. They were joined by awards host Wendy Austin

Retailer of the Year Warden Bros


ETAILER of the Year, sponsored by Retail NI, was a new category for 2018, and the first ever winners were Warden Bros. Wardens of Newtownards, which has been in business since 1877, is a trusted home furnishing specialist. With seven departments spread over two floors, Wardens employs over 50 staff. Its offers a wedding gift list service as well as an interior design service, and the store regularly hosts in-store demonstrations.

A community department store, Wardens regularly hosts charitable fundraisers. The outlet, steeped in history, was established in 1877 by James Warden who came from a local farming family. He originally traded in ironmongery and hardware goods. Speaking on the night, Keith Irvine of Warden Bros said: “This has been an absolutely brilliant evening and it’s an honour for us to get this award.”

OTHER FINALISTS Cordners Spar Comber Road Eurospar Knockchree McBride Retail Group Spar Madigans Court

Award ‘reflects the ethics’ of building firm

Excellence in Workplace Health and Wellbeing Flynn

Mary Black, Assistant Director of Public Health from sponsor Public Health Agency, presented the Excellence in Workplace Health and Wellbeing award to Paula McGleenan and Mark Spence of Flynn


HE Excellence in Workplace Health and Wellbeing sponsored by the Public Health Agency was awarded to Flynn. The construction firm’s health and well-being strategy, ‘BOOST’, focuses on mind, health, workplace, community and home. It includes confidential counselling services, occupational health referrals and Health Shield cover as well as events held to increase cancer

and diabetes awareness, financial wellbeing and drugs and alcohol awareness. This has resulted in reduced absence, attrition and workplace injuries. Mark Spence of Flynn said: “We are delighted as this award reflects the hard work and ethics of our health and safety team in promoting the wellbeing of our staff. It also shows what can be achieved by a medium sized firm in construction.”

OTHER FINALISTS FinTrU Ltd JP Corry Novosco The Lava Group NI Ltd


Belfast Telegraph | May 1 2018

Win is ‘unexpected’ surprise for Belfast firm

Best Established Small/Medium Business Shredbank

The Best Established Small/Medium Business was sponsored by Fleet Financial. Damian Campbell, Head of Corporate Sales, from the company presented the award to Philip Bain of Shredbank


EST Established Small/Medium Business sponsored by Fleet Financial was awarded to Shredbank. Shredbank provides an on-site data shredding service that delivers security, transparency and legal and environmental compliance. In the past two years customer numbers have increased from 525 to over 3,000 while sales and profit have increased by 20% at the firm.

The company is committed to CSR, delivering business seminars to local students and raising over £60,000 for the Princes’ Trust and more than £10,000 for Alzheimer’s Research. Speaking at the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards, Philip Bain of Shredbank said: “We are delighted and really didn’t expect to win. Thank you to the Belfast Telegraph.”

OTHER FINALISTS AJC Group CGDM Group Hagan Homes Keenan Healthcare Ltd Todd Architects

New start-up award is ‘credit’ to whole team

Darragh McCarthy, CEO of sponsor Fintru presented the Emerging Business/Start Up award to Gareth Irvine of Copeland Spirits

Emerging Business/ Start Up Copeland Spirits


HE Emerging Business or Start Up of the Year Award, sponsored by FinTru, went to Copeland Spirits. Gareth Irvine launched Copeland Spirits in late 2016 after successfully crowdfunding £30,000 in just seven weeks, allowing him to pre-sell over a thousand bottles of premium handcrafted flavoured gin.

The Saintfield business is committed to supporting local farmers, growers and suppliers in County Down and sells its products near and wide from Antrim to Abu Dhabi and Larne to Lebanon. The goal for this year is selling 40,000 bottles of Copeland Gin and trebling sales. Gareth said: “This award is a credit to the guys within the team. I can’t believe we’ve won.”

OTHER FINALISTS Arc-net Jack Straws Ltd LF Fasthouse Ltd Onecom

May 1 2018 | Belfast Telegraph


All smiles as new dental firm takes category

SME Healthcare Business of the Year New LifeTeeth


ME Healthcare Business of the Year went to New Life Teeth. New Life Teeth on Belfast’s Lisburn Road opened for business in February 2017. It offers a full dental service with specialism in dental implants and digital full-arch dental rehabilitation and invests in the latest technology and its state-of-the-art practice. In just over one year it has attracted over 750 patients. With a philosophy to ‘change people’s lives for the better’, the firm hopes to keep the city smiling. Dr Stuart Lutton of New Life Teeth said: “This is a really proud moment for us. We’re a young business and it’s been an amazing journey. Northern Ireland has started smiling with us and we’re very proud.”

OTHER FINALISTS Enhanced Hair Studio

Stuart Lutton, Yasmoin Lutton and Sarah Adams from New Life Teeth was presented with the SME Healthcare Business of the Year award by Mairead Mackle, chief executive Homecare Independent Living

Community spirit wins retailer CSR category Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility Lidl NI


XCELLENCE in Corporate Responsibility sponsored by Northway Mushrooms was awarded to Lidl. Lidl NI’s Community Works initiative invested almost £230,000 in community groups last year. The company has also developed plans to improve its waste management systems. And it has donated 85,000 meals through charity partnerships with Foodcloud and Fareshare. Deirdre Ryan, head of CSR at Lidl Northern Ireland, said: “To be recognised for this work and winning the award for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility is exceptional and we are delighted.”

OTHER FINALISTS Henderson Wholesale Ltd Henry Brothers Ltd Homecare Independent Living

Elaine Shaw, CEO of sponsor Northway Mushrooms presented the Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility to Deirdre Ryan from Lidl NI


Belfast Telegraph | May 1 2018

Pet food firm wins for its marketing prowess

The Excellence in Marketing award, sponsored by Mascott, was presented by Daniel Chesney, the company’s development director, to Claire McNally and Laura Rafferty of Mackle Pet Foods

Excellence in Marketing Mackle Pet Foods


ACKLE Pet Foods walked away with The Excellence in Marketing Award 2018 sponsored by Mascott. Based in Moy, Mackle has been in operation for 45 years. In 2017 the family-run company launched a marketing plan to increase sales of its Naturo dog food by 25%. A fully integrated campaign which included a

launch at Crufts, reached over 23 million people and resulted in 6 million trays being sold, an increase of 60% sales. Laura Rafferty, Mackle Foods, said the award was welcomed as the firm works on its newest project. She said: “We’re delighted with the win and we are going to go bigger this year as we’re launching a new campaign in the Netherlands and UK and Ireland.”

OTHER FINALISTS Eurospar NI/Henderson Group Mash Direct Rogers & Finney W5

William Drummons and Andrew Bailie

Gareth Brown, Megan Smyth, Lindsey Ferguson and Jill Caswell

Guests from Northway Mushrooms

Jeff and Sandra Hull

David Henry, Julie McKeown, Charlene Jones, Allen Reid and Ian Henry

May 1 2018 | Belfast Telegraph


Mark Duggan, Aideen Duggan, Jamie Wallace, Laura Lee Quigley and John Curlett

Penny Kennedy and Laura Briggs

Nicola McClean and Eilis McNamee

Patricia Hewitt, Katie McLean, Cara Pennell and Carol McMullan

Niamh McDermott and Dorothy McIlroy

Jamesy and Sarah Hagan

Deirdre Ryan and Sian Johnston

Carolyn Henderson and Kirsty Nixon

Mark Fullerton, Lizzie McCullough and Barbara Specchia

Olga Lynch and Victoria Scott

Profile for Belfast Telegraph

Business Awards 2018  

Northern Ireland business celebrating it's finest.

Business Awards 2018  

Northern Ireland business celebrating it's finest.