The finalists in the Director of the Year category at the Norfolk Business Awards 2018

The Norfolk Business Awards 2018 will be held at the Norfolk Showground Arena on November 22. Pictur

The Norfolk Business Awards 2018 will be held at the Norfolk Showground Arena on November 22. Picture: Simon Finlay Photography. - Credit: Simon Finlay Photography

Introducing the finalists in the Director of the Year category of the Norfolk Business Awards 2018, sponsored by Dipples – and what our judges thought of them.

• Rosie Kefford (Rosie's Hair, Beauty & Make-Up Studios)

Rosie's Hair, Beauty & Make-Up Studios consist of two salons, a freelance make-up company plus a glitter bar available to hire for festivals and events. The first salon opened in Beccles in 2010 and the Norwich branch, situated in the historic Norwich Lanes, opened in July 2017. Salon owner and director Rosie Kefford, who currently employs eight staff, has created an award-winning team and looks forward to future expansion opportunities.

Judges' comments: A former young entrepreneur of the year award winner, Rosie is overseeing a successfully expanding small business with a passion and drive which is producing rapidly growing turnover and profits. Starting her high street beauty and make-up studios with a £50 overdraft, her careful selection and continuous training and development of the team have seen the company pick up a number of industry awards in the past two years. Indeed, one of her store managers started as a work experience student before becoming an apprentice, gaining the necessary qualifications and now leads her own team. With the knowledge and acumen to spot opportunities and trends, Rosie now provides unique services for major clients such as Topshop, Latitude Festival and Cath Kidston. She has also set up a partnership with UEA students and embraced digital trends and social media to enhance the essential high street presence.

• John Dye (JD Cooling Group)

The JD Cooling Group was established in King's Lynn by John Dye in 2000. In the last 18 years the company has gone from strength to strength and now employs more than 100 people across five UK regional offices. Throughout this time Mr Dye's business model has been very much focused on investing in people and providing exemplary customer service. The desire and commitment to do well for the business (while retaining the feel of a family unit) has been key to the success of JD Cooling Group.

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Judges' comments: As managing director of JD Cooling Group, John Dye has built the business to become one of the largest independently owned refrigeration contractors in the UK. With his engineering background Mr Dye has an unrivalled skills and knowledge base that means a Norfolk company is taking on – and frequently out-competing – major international businesses. With a clear focus on staff engagement and development, JD Cooling Group once again increased its profits in 2018 and is positioning itself to lead the way in green technology innovations in the industry, as well as successfully launching sister companies to satisfy customer demand in related business areas.

• Steve Earl (Panel Graphic)

Panel Graphic manufactures and supplies enhancement plastics aiding the readability of digital information displays across a wide spectrum of products and industries – from domestic appliances to automotive car interiors and large format airport information displays. Founded in 1998 by Steve Earl, the company now employ a dedicated, fully trained team of 42 staff at purpose-built premises in Loddon. The company has become the go-to place for display enhancement in a high tech, rapidly expanding marketplace.

Judges' comments: From starting his own small business 20 years ago, Steve Earl now oversees a company producing components across sectors including automotive and medical where the attention to detail, precision and focus on meeting exacting customer demands has seen an increase in profits every year. At the heart of Mr Earl's ethos is a belief that the key to consistent high quality is to carry out every stage of the manufacturing process. This winning formula is embedded in a staff culture where the whole team lives and breathes the values. With all three of Mr Earl's children working in the business (as well as other family members), Panel Graphic has become the biggest optical display manufacturer in Europe, supplying components to companies like McLaren, BAe Systems, Lotus and Bentley. And even by the high standards set by the company, 2018 was a stellar year with the addition of a multi-million pound contract to supply Porsche.

• Jan Hÿtch (Arnolds Keys)

Jan Hÿtch is an equity partner in Norfolk property firm Arnolds Keys. She started her property career in Norfolk in 1986, joined Arnolds Keys in 1993, and rose through the firm to become the first female partner in its 100+ years of existence. She is now operations partner and is responsible for residential strategy, recruitment, career development and training, IT and quality assurance under ISO9001. In June 2013, Ms Hÿtch took up her presidency of the National Association Estate Agents and remains an elected director of Propertymark. Judges' comments: As a director of Arnolds Keys, Jan Hÿtch not only helps lead one of Norfolk's most successful estate agencies, she is also seeing a career-long commitment to training and industry regulation bear fruit. As well as spearheading the UK's first college courses in property services and developing a degree course in estate agency she has also been invited to join the board of the Property Ombudsman Industry Forum. Her stature in the industry is reflected in the fact that, following meetings with then housing minister Sajid Javid, she was instrumental in seeing the law changed to ensure estate agency is set to become regulated. Meanwhile, she has helped ensure that, in its most recent annual figures, Arnolds Keys saw a 12% increase in market share growth in the areas it operates and grew profitability.

MORE: Revealed: The finalists for the Norfolk Business Awards 2018