Bendigo businesses recognised at awards

BENDIGO businesses were recognised for their hard work at the Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards on Saturday night. 

Family business McKern Steel, website design studio Design Experts and physiotherapist Theo Kapakoulakis all received awards at the gala ceremony, held at the All Seasons in Bendigo. 

The annual awards aim to recognise and celebrate rural and regional Victoria’s highest achievers and community contributors. 

More than 300 people from around the state attended, including Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Development Damian Drum. 

Mr Drum said the awards began 10 years ago and had grown to become a significant event in regional Victoria. 

“The 2012 awards attracted more than 280 nominations from across regional and rural Victoria, highlighting the significance of these awards,” he said. 

“The awards unearth many community champions.”

Eaglehawk’s McKern Steel was awarded the BlueScope Distribution Leadership and Innovation Award. 

McKern Steel is one of  Victoria’s largest steel suppliers.  

Managing director Michael McKern, who has been in business for 35 years, said receiving the award was an honour and  recognised his staff’s hard work.  

Design Experts was awarded the Regional Development Victoria Business Achievement Award. The web-based design business opened in Bendigo four years ago and now services more than 700 clients.

Managing director Tim Gentle said receiving the award was overwhelming. 

“It is massive. I even went to bed with the award,” he laughed. 

Mr Gentle said it was great to see that his business was really making a difference in the community. 

“We are tree changers and it is great to see that we have been welcomed into the town,” he said. 

Mr Gentle and his young family moved to Bendigo from Melbourne after realising there was a demand for his business in central Victoria. 

He said the award was a thank you to his staff and clients. 

“We build websites and in four years we have seen a lot of growth, it has been a lot of hard work,” Mr Gentle said. 

Physiotherapist Theo Kapakoulakis was awarded the Regional Development Victoria Trade and Career Achievement Award. 

Mr Kapakoulakis has been integral to the changes to Bendigo Health’s orthopaedic waiting list and volunteers at Bendigo Football Club as well as other major sporting events in the region.

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