Team effort: Forefront Services takes top gong at business awards | Photos

HANDPICKING the right people and giving them the freedom and support to thrive are the makings of a successful enterprise, according to Forefront Services.

The engineering firm was named the 2017 Banjo Business of the Year at Orange Ex-Services’ Club on Saturday night.

Forefront won the Excellence in Business Award for more than 20 employees for the second year in a row, director Anthony Redfern was named Young Entrepreneur, employee Nick Clift received the award for Excellence in Customer Service and the business received a highly commended award in the Excellence in Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Mining, Industrial or Trade category. 

Mr Redfern said the company had gone into this year’s Banjo Business Awards with an “in it to win it” attitude, although he did not know how it would stack up.

“I’m not sure we went in with super high expectations, but we expected to do well,” he said. 

The 32-year-old said his entrepreneurial skills laid in the ability to recognise which skills were lacking and finding the right employees.

“There is a lot of trust in our team and there has to be, to a certain extent, because they take a lot of ownership in the company, they have to pull their weight,” Mr Redfern said.

Bobbies Clothing owner Melissa Gregory attributed her ongoing success to catering for her customers, from her choice of stock through to the business’s contribution to stopping sex trafficking in Cambodia.

Ms Gregory was added to the Hall of Fame and won the Excellence in Retail category – after a tough year for retail, she said passion was key.

I’m not sure we went in with super high expectations, but we expected to do well

Forefront Services director Anthony Redfern

“You can’t sit back and hope people walk in the door,” she said.

Elwood’s Eatery won Excellence in Hospitality Services and Best New Employee for Jessica Cullen in the first year since the business moved to Lords Place.

“We’ve been successful from the start because we’ve tried to have really good quality food that’s affordable so people keep coming back,” owner Ellie Allcock said.

The Best New Business went to labour hire firm DirtyWorkx Pty Ltd, which now employs 180 people and deploys people as far as Newcastle after just 15 months.

“People don’t want to put people on the books for one occasion, but we’ve got them kitted up and ready to go,” director Andrew Minehan said. 

LiveBetter won Excellence in Community Service, which it won two years ago under the CareWest banner, after expanding from 240 employees to 1400 in four years and serving communities all the way to the Victorian border.

“It just shows we’re continuing to provide excellent services,” marketing manager Sim Madigan said.


Who took home the big awards on Saturday night:

  • Best New Employee award: Jessica Cullen of Elwood’s Eatery
  • Excellence in Customer Service award: Nick Clift of Forefront Services
  • Young Entrepreneur award: Anthony Redfern of Forefront Services
  • Business Leader award: Cally Woodhouse of Yates Baker McLean
  • Best New Business award: Dirty Workx Pty Ltd
  • Employer of Choice award: Housing Plus
  • Excellence in Hospitality Services award: Elwood’s Eatery
  • Excellence in Tourism award: Orange Visitor Information Centre
  • Excellence in Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Mining, Industrial or Trade award: RJM Communications and Electrical
  • Excellence in Professional or Health Services award: Mulberry Lane Vet Hospital
  • Excellence in Retail award: Bobbies Clothing
  • Excellence in Personal Lifestyle Services award: The Dog Lady
  • Excellence in Community Services award: LiveBetter Community Services
  • Hall of Fame Inductee: Bobbies Clothing
  • Excellence in Small Business (less than 20 people) award: Mulberry Lane Vet hospital
  • Excellence in Business (more than 20 people) award: Forefront Services
  • Banjo Business of the Year: Forefront Services


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