ONE of the most eagerly anticipated awards is the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is the only category not open to submissions from individuals.
This year that award was given to Mick Williams, chairman of Williams and Co, a trade-only chain of plumbing and heating supplies.
He started his business in North End in 1972, in a corner shop.
During the next 41 years it has expanded to have 27 branches across the south, and a turnover of £37m.
It also keeps 160 people in jobs.
In 2009, Mick launched a petition online to ‘re-heat Britain’, one of the most successful web-based petitions, and one which led to the government’s introduction of the boiler scrappage scheme.
But that’s just business.
Mick is also well known for his role in helping the Pompey Supporters’ Trust take majority control of Portsmouth Football Club, and investing some of his personal fortune to help save the club from liquidation.
He has worked tirelessly along with other members of the board to ensure the football club has a future.
Mick was joined on stage by his wife Ann, and he thanked his staff and others for the award even though it was his work he was recognised for.
Speaking shortly after coming off the Guildhall stage, Mick said: ‘I have had a fantastic career, and I am wholeheartedly grateful for this award.
‘I had no idea it was going to happen!
‘Williams and Co was business of the year at these awards 10 years ago and it was a fabulous feeling then, never mind now!’
Mick stepped down from the chief executive position in 2011, taking on the role of executive chairman and majority shareholder.
He paid tribute to his managing director Ray Stafford and financial director Rachel Moore, his daughter.
He added: ‘She tells me the business is running very well without me.’