Apr 282017
 

With thanks to Beverley Tricker, Tricker PR.

IFB, one of Scotland’s leading managed service and data network providers, has recently formally appointed Jane Stewart as Non-Executive Director to the board.

Jane’s appointment strengthens the team at IFB as it further commits to its major strategic growth plans throughout the UK. Jane brings proven strategic, commercial and high growth experience to IFB. 

With a CA background, Jane has over 20 years’ experience in private equity, corporate finance and Board level finance and strategy roles.

Jane is also currently part-time Strategy Director at William Tracey Group having formerly operated as Group CFO.      

IFB’s CEO, Graeme Gordon says:

“Jane has supported IFB in its development over the past two years in an ad hoc capacity and I am delighted to welcome her formally to the Board at a key point in the company’s continued growth story. Despite tough local trading conditions, 2016 saw IFB achieve year-on-year revenue growth with continued positive financial performance. 

“This has allowed the business to further invest in the right team structure for the future, including Jane’s appointment and recent additions to our Business Development team in the central belt.  Whilst we seek to further expand across the UK, the North East continues to be a key market for IFB.”  

Jane Stewart, IFB’s Non-Executive Director comments:

“It is an exciting time for IFB and I’m thrilled to work with the Board as the business looks to further evolve its strategy and prepare for significant expansion into new services and new geographical markets.”

Graeme Gordon added:

“As our customer needs have evolved, so has our strategy and approach. IFB recently announced investments totalling over £1.5M in network and managed services which has enabled the business to improve its service offering and to develop new solutions to bring to market in conjunction with key partners. 

“Our priority continues to be supporting our customers to get on and stay on through exemplary customer service coupled with competitive, innovative connectivity, networking and managed services solutions, delivered via our own infrastructure or that of our key partners.  

“This, combined with our focus on building the right team for the future, cements our growth ambitions. Jane’s wealth of experience will help IFB move forward with these plans.”

In addition, IFB has increased its Cloud based data protection service offerings with support from Dell and Cisco Finance.

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Apr 202017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Austen Clark, managing director of Clark Integrated Technologies.

A major UK business survey revealing that a fifth of British businesses have been hacked by cyber criminals hammers home the need for all firms to ramp up their defences against cybercrime.

With only a quarter of firms surveyed by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) saying their business has security measures in place to guard against hacking, Austen Clark of Clark Integrated Technologies warns that too many firms could be exposing themselves to the very real danger of being hit by cybercrime.

Mr Clark, managing director of the Turriff-based ICT firm, says that the BCC report published this week drives home need for all businesses ramp up security defences to protect against hacking – and there are simple, tangible actions that all organisations can follow to reduce their risk of becoming a victim.

Larger companies – defined as those with at least 100 staff – are more susceptible to cyber attacks, according to the report, which found that 42% of big businesses had fallen victim to cybercrime, compared with 18% of small companies. Only a quarter (24%) of the survey’s 1,200 respondents said their business had security measures in place to guard against hacking.

Cybercrime can jeopardise a firm’s finances, confidence and reputation as well as causing disruption to business and productivity, warns Mr Clark, adding that while data breaches at web giant Yahoo, telecoms firm TalkTalk and the dating website Ashley Madison are the ones to grab headlines, the BCC report shows how worryingly widespread the problem is across the economy.

Mr Clark says:

“The internet brings huge opportunities but it also brings risks and every single day businesses face cyber-attacks, with attempts to steal information and money, or disrupt business. It is increasingly important to manage these risks to take advantage of the internet whilst protecting your business.

“As cybercriminals become more determined and better organised, no business can afford to take its eye off the ball. Firms of all sizes, from major corporations to one-man operations, can be victims so all need to be proactive about protecting themselves from cyber-attacks.

“Cybercrime is a bit like the elephant in the room – everyone has heard of it and has stories relating to ‘other businesses’ but no one wants to admit they have been hit by a cyberattack as there seems to be a stigma around being a victim of a scam or con. But reports like this one show the alarming extent of the problem, and its impact on the economy.”

The good news is that there are regular and simple actions that can be taken to help businesses promote good cyber health and Clark IT advises the following:

  1. Install and update anti-virus, anti-spam, and firewall/s
  2. Carry out regular updates on all software and devices
  3.  Change your password regularly (make it difficult to ever guess)
  4.  Secure your network
  5.  Provide clear and concise procedures for handling email, internet and mobile devices
  6.  Train your people in good security practices
  7.  Implement and test backup plans
  8.  Carry out regular security risk assessments to identify important information and systems
  9.  Carry out regular security testing of your business
  10.  Be suspicious – not everyone is a prince with $100 million dollars to send your way

Hacking attacks on British businesses has been said to cost investors £42bn.

Clark IT is based near Turriff in Aberdeenshire and is one Scotland’s leading independent providers of managed ICT solutions with a broad range of corporate and commercial clients not only in the North-east but across Scotland and beyond.

Clark IT clients benefit from the specialist knowledge of the firm’s 26-strong team to support their systems and through managed IT services. Clients also benefit from Pro-active IT Support, 24/7 Monitoring, A virtual IT Manager, predictive IT costs and a strategic IT plan tailor-made for their business.

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Apr 132017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Seb Coles leads a team of developers creating and engineering software-based solutions.

A team of specialist software developers from a leading Aberdeen-based managed print services company recently revealed their latest support app developments at a major print management industry event.
Four in-house developers from Xeretec Scotland’s Aberdeen office travelled to Uxbridge, near London, for the Xerox Application Forum on Wednesday, 5 April.

Senior software developer, Seb Coles, announced the development of the Xeretec Support Application Suite, an on-device customer service that provides immediate, next-generation support for users of Xerox devices.

The team of developers, led by Seb Coles, specialises in creating and engineering software-based solutions that optimise the print experience for end users and spent 12 months developing the support apps.

Mr Coles said:

“I am extremely proud of my team and what we have achieved over the past year. We have dedicated a lot of time and effort to developing the Xeretec Support Application Suite, so to be able to demonstrate how it works at the Xerox Future of Work event was an incredible experience.

“The app enables Xeretec to access the printer’s health and deliver the user an unparalleled level of support immediately at the device. It was designed to simplify and speed up fault resolution, while maximising user convenience and productivity, as we are constantly aiming to bring a higher level of customer service to our clients.”

Marino Keith, operations manager at Xeretec Scotland, said:

“I would like to offer my congratulations to Seb and the software development team for continuing to create industry-leading applications that aim to improve the overall customer experience. The work they do is completely unique to the industry and differentiates Xeretec from its competitors.

“Customers today expect instant, multi-channel support when encountering a problem. With the Xeretec Support Application Suite, Xeretec has created a new era of on-device customer service that meets the need for simplified instant access to support.”

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Apr 132017
 

Philippa Holdsworth of Nicholson Solutions

With thanks to Karen Stewart.

Nicholson Solutions, exclusive Scottish providers of the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing, in association with the Digital Marketing Institute, launch the first open Aberdeen based Diploma course on 8th May.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority accredited qualification is validated by leading global companies including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, and boasts over 18,000 successful graduates across 70 countries.

Philippa Holdsworth, Director at Nicholson Solutions said:

“we are delighted to be the only Scottish providers of the Professional Diploma and have seen over 90% of our delegates graduating since we commenced. We are excited that the next uptake is an Aberdeen cohort.”

She continued:

“the programme has proven extremely popular so far and equips delegates with both the practical and theoretical knowledge they need to run successful digital marketing campaigns. It is also a valuable addition to a CV, enhancing career prospects for successful graduates in a competitive job seeking environment.”

As well as flexible training times and methods to suit a variety of learning styles, the company offers a range of payment options to suit various budgets, allowing the opportunity to be available as widely as possible.

Further details of the course can be found at http://www.nicholsonsolutions.co.uk/digital-marketing-diploma-course-0

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Apr 132017
 

With thanks to Leanne Carter, Account Manager, Tricker PR.

Bob Bain, partner at Hall Morrice LLP, welcomes Tom Faichnie and Melanie Gilmour to head up the new Hall Morrice Corporate Finance team.

Aberdeen chartered accountants Hall Morrice LLP has launched a new corporate finance division as part of its strategy to prepare for the north east’s economic recovery.

The independent firm has made two key appointments to lead the new team, which will largely focus on working with corporate entities and private equity houses seeking to invest in oilfield services companies.

Tom Faichnie has been appointed to the post of managing director with Hall Morrice Corporate Finance, while Melanie Gilmour takes up the post of manager.

Both have come from RSM Aberdeen, where they specialised on deals activity within the energy sector.

Mr Faichnie has a strong track record in corporate finance, having previously worked for international accountancy firms and leading banks. He has been based in Aberdeen for almost 20 years, and believes that Hall Morrice has launched its new division at exactly the right time as the region readies itself for recovery.

He says,

“We have been seeing the green shoots of recovery for the region since the middle of last year and this is absolutely the right time to get ahead of the game and invest in Aberdeen.

“The decline in trading results seen during the period of low oil price appears to have stabilised and we can see that order books are now tipping back in the right direction. As companies start to build up again, they will need working capital to deliver and grow their order books and many will require funding.

“We also anticipate that we will see a lot of exits coming in the next six months, especially from companies at the smaller end of the scale. There now appears to be a steady base level of profitability upon which to structure a transaction and many shareholders who may have delayed selling their businesses are likely to see increased interest from the UK and overseas.

“Hall Morrice has been operating in Aberdeen for over 40 years: they understand the city and they understand corporate finance, and that, combined with our knowledge and experience, creates an excellent platform that will allow Melanie and I to build a very strong proposition.”

In addition to the external engagements, the new division will also undertake corporate finance and financial due diligence services for existing Hall Morrice clients. The firm, which employs a team of over 50 people in its offices in Aberdeen and Fraserburgh, works across a number of different sectors from property and construction to retail and leisure.

Miss Gilmour is a qualified chartered accountant having previously worked for one of the big four, and has extensive transactional experience across different industries in addition to her oil and gas background.

Hall Morrice Partner Bob Bain says the new team arrives with an exceptional track record in deal initiation and advisory services which will benefit the firm’s existing clients and new prospects.

He adds,

“The marketplace has been volatile for the past two years, but despite that we are confident that there is a now a requirement – and more so in the future – to service corporate entities and private equity houses from a diligence capacity.

“Although we remain cautious, we are optimistic of an increase in deals activity and believe that we have an excellent team in place to respond to that uplift. Tom has worked in Aberdeen for almost 20 years and during that time has established a first-class reputation as being the ‘go to’ for oil and gas corporate finance and diligence.

“Working alongside Tom, Melanie has been able to benefit from his wealth of experience and has emerged as an incredibly knowledgeable individual who will be a valuable asset to the corporate finance team.  With support from the wider Hall Morrice team, we believe that this provides a strong platform to develop our transactional offering in both Aberdeen and the wider oilfield services market.”

Founded in 1976, Hall Morrice is one of Scotland’s leading independent firms of chartered accountants and has offices in Aberdeen and Fraserburgh. Based at 6 and 7 Queens Terrace in Aberdeen, Hall Morrice can be contacted on 01224 647394 or at accounts@hallmorrice.co.uk

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Apr 072017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Sen. Account Executive, Tricker PR.

The Federation of Chefs Scotland has appointed its youngest ever President.

David Littlewood (34), chef proprietor of both The Tor Na Coille Hotel in Banchory and The Kildrummy Inn by Alford, was elected President at the organisation’s AGM in Glasgow.

Littlewood takes over from previous president Ian McDonald, Executive Chef, St Andrews Links Trust.

David’s culinary titles include Scottish Chef of the Year, Grampian Chef of the Year, Grampian Young Chef of the Year and the SHA Awards Medaille d’Or.

He has also held the accolade of Grampian Restaurant of the Year, was a member of the Scottish Culinary Team and is a Masterchef of Great Britain.

Under the ownership of David and his family, The Kildrummy Inn has been named Rising Star Scottish Restaurant of the Year in 2014 and was runner up in The Observer Food Monthly, UK Restaurant of the Year in 2014. David’s team took over The Tor Na Coille hotel in Banchory in March this year.

David says of his appointment,

“I was very lucky to be mentored by great chefs in my early career; they inspired me and challenged me and through this, they showed me the immense value in supporting the next generation of great Scottish chefs. I feel that it’s incumbent upon all of us who have learned from other professionals to continue this tradition.

The Federation of Chefs Scotland is an important organisation in driving up standards and our current members play an influential role in enthusing young people about Scottish food and to work in our industry.”

The Federation of Chefs Scotland (FCS) – run exclusively by Scottish chefs – exists to promote excellence in the industry across Scotland through supporting and developing young chefs through training. Alongside David, Jav Aziz, Executive Chef at Rangers, has been appointed Vice President. Robbie Penman and Vikki Munro have also joined the board.

The FCS encourages participation in culinary competitions, and fundraises to support young chefs to undertake national and international learning experiences. The Scottish Culinary Championships at ScotHot and the Scottish Chef of the Year are organised by the FCS, and the not-for-profit organisation also champions helping Scottish pupils to know more about their food through the Chefs@School project.

There are currently 100 Scottish chefs volunteering their time to work with 15,000 pupils.

Outgoing FCS President Ian MacDonald says of David’s appointment,

“David is the youngest president of the Federation of Chefs Scotland. He’s achieved his success with his passion and drive, not only for his own work but for the development of youngsters in our industry through his supportive mentoring.

“I believe that David’s focus on attracting young talent and developing and challenging them to achieve is the way forward for the Federation. I know that David will make the Federation stronger in all different areas of our work and I wish him well during his tenure.”

The 25-bedroom Tor Na Coille Hotel has been a landmark building on Royal Deeside since the reign of Queen Victoria. David and his team, which includes 2017 Scottish Culinary Championships Scottish Chef of the Year bronze winner Colin Lyall, have begun to develop the hotel restaurant as a must visit foodie destination. More about the Tor Na Coille can be found at www.tornacoille.com.

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Apr 012017
 

With thanks to Julia Heys, Marketing Executive, VisitAberdeenshire.

Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy 2010 © Kathy Mansfield

Aberdeen Festivals has announced the addition of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy to further strengthen its portfolio of local member festivals.

Aberdeen Festivals, set up in 2014 to collectively promote festivals, develop audiences and strengthen the cultural sector, has welcomed the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival to its ranks.

The renowned festival, which takes place from 24-25 June 2017, will join 10 existing and diverse festivals including; SPECTRA, Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Look Again, May Festival, Aberdeen International Youth Festival, TechFest, True North, North East Open Studios, DanceLive and sound.

Roger Goodyear, co-chairman of Scottish Traditional Boat Festival commented:

“Joining Aberdeen Festivals has been on the festival’s horizons since the collective was formed in early 2014. We have since watched the success of Aberdeen Festivals through its facilitation of collective marketing and collaborative efforts to profile the cultural offering of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

In its 24 year history, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival has become well known locally and internationally as it uniquely showcases the local marine and cultural heritage of North-east Scotland. The annual festival reports on average 16,000 visitors each year with a high proportion of international attendees.

Roger continued:

“We already have a well-established audience and brand but, of course, there is always room for growth and we are looking forward to the various cross-collaborations with other festivals as well as taking part in the extensive and successful Aberdeen Festivals marketing campaign.”

Festivals in the Aberdeen Festivals group have consistently reported significant increases in audiences and ticket sales. In February this year, SPECTRA welcomed 63,000 visits, up by 28,000 on 2016 whilst Aberdeen Jazz Festival, which took place earlier this month, has already reported a 100% increase in ticket sales.

Steve Harris, chair of Aberdeen Festivals commented:

“Aberdeen Festivals has made substantial strides in its three years of existence. This has been recognised with continued local and private funding, audience and sales increases for each festival and numerous prestigious award shortlisting’s. The addition of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival to the collective, with its well-connected, high profile festival and large international audience, will bolster this success of Aberdeen Festivals further in profiling the North-east as a top cultural tourism destination.”

Aberdeen Festivals has to date secured private sponsorship from energy company, Nexen, major funding from VisitScotland’s Growth Fund along with ongoing support from VisitAberdeenshire, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council. The group recently secured an E Award, organised by EventIt, for its excellence in digital marketing.

For more information about Aberdeen Festivals, please visit www.aberdeenfestivals.com.

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Apr 012017
 

Cllr Fiona McRae and Cllr Anne Allan at the new Peterhead Travelodge in Chapel Street.

With thanks to Aberdeenshire SNP.

Local councillors Fiona McRae and Anne Allan have hailed the opening of the new Travelodge in Peterhead as a tremendous boost for the Town Centre.
The new hotel in Chapel Street officially opens on Tuesday at a ceremony to be attended by Aberdeenshire Provost Hamish Vernal, amongst others. 

The development has transformed a semi-derelict part of the Town Centre and has saved the eastern façade of the street from demolition.

Commenting, Cllr Fiona McRae said:

“The former flats in Chapel Street have been a long-running issue and it’s great to see this development come to fruition with a new business coming to Peterhead and redeveloping the site.

“This is a huge boost for the regeneration of Peterhead Town Centre, brings life back to what was previously a very run-down building, and also brings another quality brand to Peterhead.”

Cllr Anne Allan added:

“While I’m delighted that Aberdeenshire Council has over £1.5Million allocated to assist with regeneration in Peterhead, private investment is a huge part of the process and this is an excellent example of that. 

There’s a lot going on currently in terms of investment in Peterhead. Work will begin shortly to upgrade the area at the Clerkhill shops; we’re seeing plans for a new academy move forward; Peterhead Port Authority are continuing their expansion, assisted by Scottish Government funding; and we’re seeing new businesses such as Travelodge moving into the Town Centre.  It’s all very encouraging and I’m keen to see more done, but this is a good start.”

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Apr 012017
 

By Fred Wilkinson.

News has reached Aberdeen Voice that younger brother of US President Donald J Trump has bought a popular, iconic cafe located on Aberdeen’s beach front. It is widely rumoured that the Washington Cafe, currently being renovated, is to be renamed ‘The Windmill Views Restaurant’ by new owner Robert Trump.
In order to find out more, I tracked down local shopfitter, Archibald ‘Erchie’ Morrison who has been awarded the contract to refurbish the property. 

I could see Erchie and his colleagues were extremely busy, so Aberdeen Voice is grateful to have been given the time for a chat.

Erchie told me:

“Ah couldna believe it when Ah got the call fae Robert Trump’s agent. Ah thought somebody wis pullin ma leg, and Ah near hung up the phone. But, ken? Bein self employed ye canna jist gie up on gettin jobs – nae as lang as there’s a chunce it could be a genuine offer.

“Onywye, Ah had tae ask if he wis haein a fun wi ma, but nah … the job’s richt enough.”

I asked Erchie how he felt about working for the brother of the controversial US President.

“Ah wisna affa sure” Erchie commented.

“Ah did ask the agent, like in a funnin kind o’ wye, if he thocht eez client wisna aff eez heid buyin a business in Aiberdeen – fit wi a the stooshies we’ve had wi eez brither.

“He jist laughed and tellt ma he wid send ma the paperwork.”

“And that wis that until Ah got a notey fae Robert Trump eezsel. Ah near fell in a heap!”

Robert reached for the top pocket of his boiler suit where the prized letter has taken up permanent residence. Already well fingered, having been eagerly shown off to his family, friends and colleagues, the handwritten letter reads: 

“Dear Erchie.

Thank you for accepting the contract for the refurbishment of my newly acquired property. I look forward to working with you on this project.
My agent indicated to me that you have some concerns, which I’m sure can be addressed.

I am very aware of the ‘stooshies’ you have had to endure on account of my brother Donald’s actions. I trust you will judge our working relationship on my words and my actions, and not those of Donald J. We may share a country of origin, and the same parents, but I assure you, there the similarity ends. Brothers we may be, I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do about that, but we aint peas in a pod.

Only one of us actually loves Scotland and does not need to exploit the good name and memory of our Mom to prove it.
Only one of us gives our employees the correct payment for work carried out, and only one of us thinks Donald J is an asshole.

I trust you can work out which. Come and see me soon … the Glenfiddich’s are on me

Yours,
      Robert Trump.”

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Mar 242017
 

With thanks to Leanne Carter, Account Manager, Tricker PR.

Organisers of a major two-day exhibition in Aberdeen this week are on course to break attendance records – and believe the response to the event could be indicative of the first green shoots of economic recovery in the region.
Langstane Press Ltd expects over 600 delegates to attend its two-day business show at Aberdeen Beach Ballroom, during which businesses will learn how they can make efficiencies in challenging trading conditions.

The firm has already attracted more pre-registered delegates than for its last event in 2015, and there is still time to sign up in advance to Lean and Mean in 17 taking place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Langstane has been staging its biennial business show for the past 25 years, but decided to overhaul the format this year. In the past, it has largely been a trade event, but it was felt there was a need to use it as a platform to equip businesses with knowledge to help them during the north east economic downturn.

Managing director Colin Campbell (pictured) says he has been surprised at the level of interest in the event, and by the range of companies coming forward to sign up to attend. He says,

“The companies that are attending are from a wide range of businesses and it is clear that the event has real appeal across the board from public sector to small start-ups.

“I think the response to the show could be down to a combination of factors, one being that the first green shoots are beginning to show across the city. In the current climate, not everyone has the time to attend events like these but they are making the effort to attend as they want to be able to come and learn.

“The other contributing factor is the change in the style of the event. What we have picked up from customers over the past 18 months is that they need to make savings across all areas of their operations.

“As suppliers, there comes a point where it is impossible to discount any further, so we thought it would be useful to show businesses how they can be creative in making efficiencies, whether that is through a long-term investment in IT solutions or reducing print runs on stationery.

“Langstane has seen the impact of many downturns in the oil and gas industry over the years and we feel that we can share a huge amount of knowledge about how to survive in these challenging times and how to emerge on the other side.”

Lean and Mean in 17 will bring together 35 of Langstane’s leading partners across the office supplies, print, healthcare, interiors and promotional product sectors to meet with delegates and give advice on how to save money.

In addition to the exhibition, a number of keynote speakers will be giving presentations to give delegates further ideas on how to approach efficiencies. Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, will talk about the organisation’s Buy North East campaign – a project that has been supported by Langstane – on Thursday.

Jason Llewellyn of global IT specialists HP will also take to the stage on Wednesday and Thursday, and will explain how investment in new technology can reduce print costs. John Black and Claire Smith of Anderson Anderson & Brown LLP will be presenting on the theme of Survive and Thrive on Wednesday morning.

The show runs from 10am until 4pm on Wednesday and from 10am until 3.30pm on Thursday. Lean and Mean in 17 is free to attend, and delegates should register in advance at www.langstane.co.uk. There will be opportunities for networking throughout the two days, and many suppliers can offer allotted appointments.  

Family-run firm Langstane celebrates 70 years of trading in 2017, and has a product range in excess of 30,000 items, from printer paper to toilet paper and from tubs of coffee to packs of lightbulbs. As well as traditional office supplies, the firm has diversified its product range to provide office furniture and patient care furniture.

Langstane is Scotland’s largest independent office products company and is one of the largest in the UK. Langstane, established in 1947 in Aberdeen remains a family business and has further branches in Dundee and Livingston. Langstane employs over 120 staff and has a turnover of £15m. More about the company can be found at www.langstane.co.uk.

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