THE award for Best Large Business was received with thanks by ecstatic staff at Sapphire Utility Solutions, a leader in the utilities sector maintaining clean water, wastewater and gas infrastructures.

No stranger to plaudits, particularly in the area of safety, Preston-based Sapphire said it was especially proud to pick up the prestigious Best Large Business honour - sponsored by west Cumbria-based Brockbanks Solicitors - at the 2020 in-Cumbria Business Awards.

“We are extremely grateful to receive the Best Large Business of the Year award and are very proud of how far we have come as a business,” said a spokesperson for the company which was set up in 2013 to deliver wastewater, clean water, gas, electricity, and telecoms services.

“We couldn’t have achieved this award without our dedicated staff, so would like to thank each and every single member of our team who have been working extremely hard, even during the current pandemic, to help us achieve such a fantastic award.

“Cumbria is very dear to our hearts and we look forward to continuing our work within the local community, maintaining critical infrastructure across the region.”

Deciding the winner in this category, which recognises business with 51 employees or more, was judged by Rebecca Graves from the awards associate sponsor the NRL Group, which works with the nuclear industry at its Egremont office. She was assisted by Josh Holmes, head of digital at LOCALiQ.

During the judging process they interviewed Sapphire’s managing director Colin Kelly on how the company met the award criteria.

The winner had to demonstrate strong leadership and vision, sustained growth and sound financial performance and innovation and differentiation within the business.

Reflecting on the judging process, Rebecca Graves described the growth of the company in just seven years as “phenomenal”.

“It is clear that the company’s management is passionate about injecting innovation into the utilities sector. If a service doesn’t exist this business will build it. They are fearless and an inspiration to all,” she said.

She also praised Sapphire for building a platform so staff voices could be heard. Runners up in the category were Kendal Nutricare and the Cumberland Building Society.

Sapphire management team says it prides itself on being passionate about service delivery, safety, sustainability and innovation.

“We deliver exceptional service to the clean water, wastewater, food, process chemical, manufacturing, petrochemical, industrial and construction and highways industries,” said a spokesman. “We take great pride in our involvement in community projects and charity fundraising and we encourage all of our people to participate."